About me

Hi, I'm Shawn Cheek, the creator of webpianoteacher.com and owner of the Shawn Cheek School Of Music in Robinson, TX. At that time I'm writing this I am 38 years old, have played the piano for 30 years, and have taught piano lessons for over 21 years. Music has been a part of my life since I was born, and I can't imagine what life would be like if my mom hadn't signed me up for lessons when I was in second grade. To this day I hum constantly, and there is always a melody running through my head on a sub conscious level. My parents and brother used to shush me constantly for humming too loudly when I was a kid. Today I get shushed by my kids. My wife is a little more subtle, though. She just puts on some other music and turns it up! You might think that the constant music and melody in my head would drive me crazy, but I don't even notice it. On my mother's side of the family there runs a tremendous music talent. My aunts and uncles all sing and play multiple instruments by ear. Never a formal lesson, they just taught themselves. My biological father was very talented artistically I am told, by that's all I know. My mom decided when I was eight years old that she wanted me to be able to play the piano in church. So, she bought a decent upright piano and started playing some old gospel tunes that her brothers had taught her when she young. Immediately I became fascinated. All of the pitches she played became familiar to me, and I began to recognize them and distinguish them one from another even when I wasn't watching her play. Though I had never taken a lesson and didn't know the note names, I gained 88 new friends that day that would be with me for life. Years later I would be told this was a special gift called perfect pitch, but at the time I had know idea it was anything special and thought that everyone had this ability! Virginia Goebel was my first and most influential teacher. She fit perfectly the stereotypical elderly lady piano teacher who lives down the street! The most important thing she instilled in me was to be expressive when I played. Put yourself into everything that you play. Make it your own. This was great stuff for me as a tender eight year old, painfully shy and a spot light dodger. It was the one thing I could do in front of people and not be embarrassed and red-faced. As long as I was at the piano, I had all the confidence in the world. Mrs. Goebel would also let me borrow her extensive collection of LP records by famous concert pianists which I checked out regularly. Now there's a medium that I miss, records. I spent hours and hours leaning against the speakers of my dad's hi-fi listening to Van Cliburn's performance of Tchaikovsky's Piano Concerto no. 2. My ear developed very quickly, I memorized everything that I practiced, and played everything as fast as my fingers could fly! My sight reading was horrible and would continue to be horrible for many years after. However, I was obsessive compulsive when it came to a new piano piece, and I would work work work until I could memorize and then perform. This mistake in teaching that dear sweet Mrs. Goebel made, allowing me to skip over all the intermediate material and jump right into Beethoven, would cause me to struggle with my note reading all the way through college. The Lord works in mysterious ways, however. Learning how to help people who are 'reading challenged' became my hobby, and eventually I made a career out of it. webpianoteacher.com is merely an online version of the method I used for teaching my own students who just couldn't read music and were going to quit lessons because of it! Because I've been there, it helps me to help you. Well, maybe I'll write more later, but this is a start for my first blog post. Please leave comments and hit the like button for me if you don't mind! Until next time, Shawn Cheek

51 comments:

webpianoteacher said...

Please leave comments, I'll comment back!

Banjo Ben said...

Looks good, Shawn! I hope the website is doing good...keep it up!

Jayward said...

Very nice Shawn, I like it. Looking forward to your next blog.

webpianoteacher said...

Thanks, Ben. I wish you the best on your upcoming album. I'll post a link for you when ya'll are finished. Just let me know.

webpianoteacher said...

Yeah, Jayward. I plan to have many more posts. Stay tuned.

Deepak said...

good luck for new blog..

Nan said...

Hello, i saw at youtube yours works. I must say you thank you so much for shear all you know over the piano, you did a lot of great works.Iam sorry for my english, i speak spanish...... again thank you so much!! from Argentina ;Buenos aires

John Harris said...

Thought i'd say hullo have just renewed my membership and really enjoy your perspective and approach
have been playing for a few years but have learnt heaps from your lessons espeacially elton john.
Thanks Shawn

sal said...

I love your videos thank you!

The Hedonist said...

Great work! Could you please let me know if the flash player is needed to watch the online lessons? I would be interested in the membership but I have an ipad and therefore flash player is no possible,

Thanks
Miguel

António Carvalho said...

Great work...thanks for the free videos on youtube...cheers from Portugal

Anonymous said...

passion is everything

Pin said...

shawn, is there any other method to pay for membership besides Google Checkout (i.e. PayPal)? The reason I'm asking this is coz GCheckout doesn't accept CC from my country, Indonesia. On the other hand, PayPal could.

daniel gaujac said...

sawn hi
Great tutorial you've done for great balls of fire -
err I have found only part one on you tube -
where can I find part 2 ?
Thanks

DAniel

Rick. said...

Hi Shawn. I've just subscribed after trying out your sight reading lessons and the 3 preliminary vids to the series. You are the teacher I've been looking for all my life mate :) I wish I was in Texas lol.

It may seem a daft question but is there a recommended amount of times that I should practice each video lesson or do I just do one and then move on to the next?

I am also a songwriter, do you have anywhere I can view tips for songwriting such as chord progressions or how to change key (modulating?) during a song?

My songs can be found here, I'm hoping that from your lessons I can massively improve my arranging skills:
www.myspace.com/richardcraigsmith

http://www.jango.com/music/Arraness?l=0

Thanks. Rick.

Hugo said...

HI Shawn i would like to hire you for a song ... i didnt know how to contact you but if there is a way please email me the.daddy.1988@hotmail.com... Hugo

nedoctor said...

hello shawn
how can i hire you for making a lesson of a sng?

notabloggertype said...

Shawn, I'm 57 and have been pounding around on a keyboard off and on for years, ....the perfect pitch thing
is truly a gift from god, I play by
ear, and earlier on I would have given a toe or 2 that ability.
also like how you keep it humble.
..would like to see you scribe down the chord name as they change for those of us who know a few.

thanks a bunch

Anonymous said...

How can I learn the lessons? I cannot download Flash Player to my mobile.

Dusty Wilmes said...

Hey Shawn,

Your tutorial of Thunder Road was really great. I'm learning the first part pretty quickly. I was wondering if you had those notes typed up or written down on something that might be printable, that you might be able to send out or post? It would really help to have the notes in front of me on a piece of paper.

Thx,

Justin

webpianoteacher said...

There was a question about printing out the whiteboards. Most of my members just go full screen with the video, hit pause, then use the print screen function on your computer. It works!

Kai Lovell said...

how does one hire you to learn and teach a song?

Anonymous said...

Hi Shawn. I just paid for the year subscription of lessons but cannot access anything at this time. I understand that there is a new website being worked on but can you tell me how long it may take so I can stop trying to access my lessons to often with no success. Thank you.

don miller said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

Wait for the shit storm

ursu said...

Hi Shawn,

Thank you a lot for your lessons, It's much more easier to learn by your way... ;-)

I would learn Apologize from Boyce Avenue, do you have time to make a lesson? (A "easy" lesson please)

It would be great!

Kind regards from France,
Ursula

Anonymous said...

FYI: Your copyright move up on YouTube against Mark De Heide has hit TechDirt's website. In case you don't know, they monitor specious copyright claims and IP abuse issues. They've been trying to get in touch with you to hear your side of the story. Why not get in touch and not be a stranger? :-)

MD Clifford said...

Just joined your site and am finding it very useful. I may have missed it but do you have a list we can see so we know what you are working on and when a new song is posted?

Steve in MD said...

Shawn, Could you please explain how your " Hired Requests" works? I had emailed you recently asking if you could break down the song "I Want You Back" by the Jackson 5. You responded that probably in August you would take more requests. I'm just curious how that process works and how to get my request to you and how you decide which songs to teach. I'm sure you get way more requests than you have time to do.

Steve

Nick said...

Hi Shawn, I came across your youtube video tutorial on Close to you by The Carpenters. It was great but I cannot seem to find part 2 of that tutorial on youtube and your website.I was wondering if you could give me the link to it, Thanks!

aHLang said...

I do not have feeling on piano until the day no one can play piano in church meeting. I hope i will get to know this 88 new friends soon. HeHe!!
Thank Shawn for the video in youtube.

Learner said...

Your amazing, thank you for sharing your talent. Please, can you show us how to play "Rock around the clock"?

Vasiliy Boulytchev said...

Shawn, I signed up last night... and paid for 3 months.
Unable to view the videos.

1.) I sent an email to your yahoo address... received a bounced email.
2.) Today I am completely unable to login into your website

Can you please contact me and solve?

Thanks

Thomas Decourt said...

Hi Shawn,

Thank you so much for your lessons. i've decided to replay piano after 20yrs break and with your help i've got a result...
Sorry for my english, i'm french.
Many thanks

Thomas

Geneva said...

Hi Shawn, when I got to lesson 68 in your sightreading course I flatted all the e's. but when I watched the video you played the 3rd line without flatting them and then resumed thereafter. was there something I missed?
Geneva

Anonymous said...

Shawn,

I've been watching your videos since 2008 when they were free on youtube. I was right out of college and living by myself and had just picked up a Privia PX300. I watched every single one of your videos. Then you went all commercial on me and your best videos started disappearing --or you would just give us a taste with a Part 1 Haha. But hey, I completely understand because your simple approach to essentially visualizing an abstract structure of a song piece is absolutely brilliant. You basically taught me everything I know. I'm glad to finally be a member of your site.

-Elaun Chase
reverbnation.com/elaunchase

JP said...

Shawn site and the way he teaches just has to be one of the best I have ever come across - he is spot on with his interpretation of songs and I even direct my pupils ( yes I am a music teacher) to embrace his tips and playing.
Thank you Shawn for all your hard work and effort.
JP.

zsl said...

Do you also provide the sheet music? It would be nice to use your method and also have the sheet music.

Garret Parsons said...

Hello Shawn, I was just wondering if you can play Oh Atlanta by Little Feat including the intro

David Cox said...

Your lessons have been invaluable to me over the years! I just discovered your series on sight reading. Looks great so far, and I plan on re-enrolling in your web site to get all the lessons. I do have to comment however that your great lessons over the years were instrumental at allowing me to avoid learning to sight read...or at least it let me procrastinate a few more years. I finally started slogging through the beginner stages of sight reading last year with a great iPad app that forces me to read along and disappear the measures as the metronome counts off. I don't recall the name right now. Keep up the videos!

J Krafft said...

I recently signed up at your site, and look what you've taught me so far!

https://www.facebook.com/ozric/videos/vb.1600917374/10205948028972096/?type=2&theater

My main problem is reading notes, I am struggling hard to even identify keys on the staff. I know you've got the boot camp sessions and I understand I need to go through them.. But it is hard to look away from Chopin and start from scratch if you know what I mean.

Still, big thumbs up and THANK YOU for your helping us all with the piano playing :)

/Johan

Shawn said...

Hey Shawn, my name is, Shawn actually. Good to see someone else with the proper spelling. :-P I was looking around your site and wasn't able to find an email address for you. Is there a possibility that you could email me, please? I'd like to ask you a ccouple of things and would prefer not to be commenting back and forth. For some reason, I can't login to my Google account through here, so I'm having to post anonymous. You can email me at shawnpwest@gmail.com I look forward to hearing from yoi. Thanks!

George Tennant said...

I have the weigbted 88 triton studio ready, mac book pro mixed in with appoggee duet 2

I;m waiting like a kid at christmas to log in
paypal sphinxman1991@yahoo.com
your e-shop userID gtennant@mac.com


5L220856VR233393L confirmation code

Mark Helsel said...

HI Shawn,
After years of struggling with sight reading on piano myself, your method is fun, fast, and actually causing me to do a deeper analysis of chord structure as I go. I was a trumpet and guitar player for years and years, and only read for trumpet. Over time I too have taught myself the rudimentary practical workings of several musical instruments (bass, drums, pedal steel guitar, as well as maintaining ability on guitars).
This creative approach to piano is fast tracking me into songs I have wanted to play forever. Because my sight reading is SO terrible, your "box" method is the way to go...for now. I betcha I wind up in your sight reading courses before it's all over, though. That seems like the next logical step.
May the Father watch over all your endeavors, Mark

Mark Helsel said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Mthandazo Lusinga said...

Hi Shawn

Hail all the way from Africa ,Zimbabwe Bulawayo Zimbabwe's second largest city..... currently residing in KUWAIT.The love for music led me to your website and I decided to be a LIFETIME member of your website in my quest and journey of becoming a pianist. Although I am old now (35 years by the way), with no background in piano playing a bit of theory (up to grade 4 with royal schools theory of music) I am convinced beyond any shadow of a doubt that one day my DREAM will come to life.You have such a beautiful family and as a father myself it pains me that my girls are growing without me being there hence found wanting. However hope to hear and learn from you,

mthandazo

Karim Hellal said...

Hello; would it be possible for you to prepare tutorial for this beautiful piano song? Thank you: https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=siwGXT8HYco

Chris A said...

Hi Shawn,

I really enjoy your talent and approach to teaching. I especially liked your tutorial on Thunder Road. I was wondering if you would consider providing a tutorial on this non-accompaniment arrangement:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Zbh9rOnHQeE

Thank you for your talent and consideration.

Kind regards,
Chris

Anonymous said...

Hallo dear Shawn Cheek, I m from Germany and I don´t have enough money to buy me written Notes or to Participate on your piano lessons.Because of ilness I´m with out a Job, but I have a Little piano.
I like your Version of AGAINST THE WIND. In piano lessons part 1 I´m missing the rest of the song. The part which you explained I´ve understood.
Would you please so Kind to send/ mail me the rest of Against the wind?
I tried to find it, but I couldnt. And I can not buy pianolessons.
Im looking forward to your answers. Ines

Craig said...

Hey Shawn, could you explain the difference between the two lifetime memberships? Not exactly sure what the difference. Thank you.

dannaf said...

I'm really enjoying your sight reading boot camp. I know how to play but wanted to be able to pick up a piece of music and learn it without fear. It is a great course to get back up to par with my skills. I noticed there is an error in your number of the lessons, Lesson 25 says Lesson 24 though I'm sure it's 25 since the two are different. Anyway..I'm having a lot of fun.