Introducing Dan... Our Video Expert

(Hayden Hill) #1

An exciting milestone for PianoGroove…

This month PianoGroove employed our first full-time employee - @Dan - you may have seen him posting and liking posts in the forum recently.

Dan and I have been good friends for about 10 years and he has helped me enormously with his expertise in video production, video editing, video producing, and motion graphics.

A few of the things Dan has done for PianoGroove over the last 3 years:

  • Helped to design and develop the unique 3 part video layout of PianoGroove tutorials

  • Created all of the PianoGroove pre-rolls (the 10 second clip you see at the start of each video)

  • Filmed, and edited the performance videos of myself such as the “My Funny Valentine” video

  • Filmed and edited the interview videos of myself explaining my vision with PianoGroove.

He has been instrumental (excuse the pun) in the growth and development of PianoGroove and he was one of the few people who had faith in myself and my vision from the very beginning.

Now that we are working together full time, we are going to accomplish great things.

I truly believe that he is the best in the world at what he does, and all of his expertise, passion, and energy is now focused on making our platform and our videos the best they can possibly be.

I hope your’ll join me in giving @Dan a very warm welcome to the community :tada:



Hi guys and girls, I’m super excited to be on board full time now, me and Hayden have worked so hard over the past years to create invaluable content and revolutionise online music lessons. We have massive plans for the future and it wouldn’t be possible without your participation and input along the way.

If you have any video style/video layout/audio feedback please message or email me ( and I’ll be more than happy to get back to you to make sure our service is the best available online. Much love and happiness



(Scott MacFarlane) #3

Hi Dan,

Nice to meet you. I recently joined PianoGroove and I’m loving all the content. The way I use it is I bring my iPad downstairs to my piano and watch the videos while sitting at my piano so I can play along. I find I often need to pause the video and rewind 10s to view a certain part a few times until I get it. The problem is that when I try to pause the video by touching the iPad screen, it often doesn’t register and keeps playing. It seems to pause or go black for a second and then go silent but the video continues playing. I also find it difficult to drag the little control at the bottom of the video player with my finger touching the screen of the iPad. It works fine on my desktop but is very finnicky and frustrating to use on the iPad. If there is anything you can do to make the pause/rewind control easier to use on the iPad, that would be awesome!




Hi Scott,

Thanks for your input, the issue you mention is a priority that we are developing currently.

Just to give you a bit of background, my role is video director/producer/editor. My focus and expertise is developing our video content to go above and beyond in terms of communicating the lessons in the best possible way.

The video player is more on the coding side of the site which is managed by a technical developer. Our goal is to make the player efficient and reliable across all devices. @Hayden will elaborate on this in more detail for you.

Hope your enjoying your piano journey so far and feel free to contact me anytime Scott.


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(Hayden Hill) #5

Hi Scott :wave:

Firstly, glad you’re enjoying the lessons!

So I did think this post would cause some confusion. What you are referring to is one of my current tasks - which is to find a suitable developer who can build us a robust video player solution… more on this below.

First, let me explain what Dan’s role is at PianoGroove"

1) Motion Graphics

This includes “pre-rolls” for the different styles of lessons we offer. Here’s an example:

2) Course Overview Videos

These videos involve elements of motion graphics, but also communicate the core essence of the course. You can find these at the top of each course page to give our students a general overview of the course. Here’s an example:

The 5 Minute Masterclass Overview:

3) Performance Videos

Here’s a performance that Dan did for me a while back, and he will also be filming all our teachers to promote their skills, talents, and music.

That was a few years ago (2015 I think). We also have another one which will be released soon of me playing “Embraceable You” in the same venue. It’s beautiful… Spielberg would be jealous :smile:

Anyhow, that’s what’s Dan’s core skills are. He’s a creative who knows how to deliver a message through the medium of video.

Both Dan and I understand web technologies. We’re both musical (Dan plays guitar and bass) and together we have all the skills to deliver the best format for online music lessons.

Now Onto The Video Player Issues You Mention…

This is something I am working on delivering ASAP.

My current plan is:

  1. Add a ‘10-second rewind button’ which I think will be extremely useful to all students - such a fantastic suggestion.
  2. Keep the speed controls
  3. keep the lesson chapters
  4. Remove the A/B loop bar, and instead, A/B loop can be controlled by pressing the keyboard letters ‘I’ and ‘O’ - @Yves highlighted how useful this can be, and it removes the need to touch and drag the A/B bar which most tablets are not suited to.

The problem with the A/B bar in its current state is that it’s not compatible or accurate with touchscreen devices such as iPads. On the contrary, a simple ‘click to rewind’ the lesson by 10 seconds would be perfect for our iPad users.

Our students who have a connected keyboard to their iPad, or our students who use a laptop, can simply press the ‘I’ and ‘O’ keys to trigger the A/B loop points.

I have communicated this to my developers - these are technical freelancers who code software as their main job - this is not Dan’s job.

We are running a bit behind schedule with the updated player but it will be completed and it will work flawlessly. One of the reasons I have not been making as many new lessons recently is exactly this task I’m working on.

Thanks to yourself and other members of our community, we now have the solution, and it’s my responsibility to deliver this.

I hope this helps give you some insight @Scott into the ‘challenges’ we currently face, and how I suggest we move forward to get the perfect learning platform for everyone.

Cheers, and more updates to follow.

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(Lyndol Descant ) #6

Hi Dan, I’m a huge fan of your work and I’m THRILLED to get to work with you! So excited to see the wonderful things you and Hayden are cooking up for our community here. And you play guitar and bass as well? Fantastic. We’ll have to jam when you are here in NYC! Yay and Welcome! - Lyndol

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Thanks Lyndol, can’t wait to see you in New York, we’re gonna be a dream team creating magical swashbuckling creations :grinning:

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(Hayden Hill) #8

Yes looking forward Lyndol!

See you soon.

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(Scott MacFarlane) #9

Hi Hayden,

Sorry for the misunderstanding. Now I understand Dan’s role much better! :blush:

The other minor nuisance I find on the ipad is when I’m done with one lesson, it allows me to navigate to view the other lessons in the course with a single touch. However, if I want to go to another course (I like to jump around a fair bit to review specific song lessons), then I have to touch the menu icon, then touch jazz piano lessons in the menu, then touch Intermediate (it always defaults to beginner), then scroll down to the course and touch the course.

Ideally, there would be a single touch icon that would take me to the jazz piano lessons home page and it would remember whether I was last in beginner, intermediate, or advance and default to that section I was in most recently.

Just a minor convenience to improve navigation.

Anyway, still loving all the lessons. I’ve been working on Here’s That Rainy Day recently. It’s a very nice arrangement.



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(Hayden Hill) #10

Again great suggestions Scott - thanks for taking the time to provide this insight and input.

Firstly, you can always use the search bar in the top right of the header main navigation - just enter the jazz standard name, or a specific theory topic and any page that contains that standard name or theory topic will appear in the results:

Yes, it’s a nice idea, from a technical standpoint it’s tricky to implement. Certainly possible, but tricky to implement. This is because it would have to be specific to each user’s account which makes it a complex process to code and maintain.

We have a new feature coming soon which will help with this, it is the “Bookmarked Lessons” feature - see more here: Video Bookmarking Feature

I completely understand the logic behind this Scott. I’ve always specified to our designer that I want the layout to be simple and intuitive.

On desktop/laptop it’s fine, but I appreciate that the tablet experience is not as smooth.

I will forward on your message to him and get his insight/recommendations. He is a fantastic designer and UX (user experience) and UI (user interface) specialist. As so he will certainly have some ideas to improve this and make it easier for tablet users.

Awesome… it’s a beautiful tune. Enjoy it!

Also check out the Bill Evans recording…


(Scott MacFarlane) #11

Thanks for all the feedback. The Alone album has been a favourite of mine for years. I learned the first chorus from a transcription of Here’s that Rainy Day a few year’s back. It was an exhausting effort. I recently started learning a transcription of A Time For Love which was a little more manageable. Just love his style! I find these transcriptions a little too advanced for me to apply the techniques in other songs whereas your lessons are at the perfect level for me to actually understand and start applying to my own arrangements which is my ultimate goal.


(Hayden Hill) #12

My pleasure Scott.

Yes, I have never used transcriptions in my own jazz studies.

I understand the benefits of transcriptions for new students (they can see the chord voicings quickly - particularly if they are classically trained), but… the most effective way to learn is to listen to every record of the song you are working on. Listen over and over, and then emulate and transcribe the parts you like.

This way you are developing your own personal style, and you are in control of the direction of ‘your sound’.

That makes me very happy to hear Scott… thank you.

Our goal is not to ‘prescribe’ a style but to inspire our students to discover their own style, taste, and musical personality.

Of course, our teachers can offer guidance and inspiration, but there is so much for each of us to experiment, explore, and discover. That is for me, the beauty of this music.



(Kim Long) #13

Hi Dan!

Individually you and Hayden are brilliant…together you will be unstoppable. The creativity and dedication is so apparent and I’m beyond grateful that I found Hayden’s teaching almost 2 years ago.

Sincere thanks for all that you’ve brought to this teaching platform and I can’t wait to see what unfolds in the future!


(Hayden Hill) #14

Thanks for the lovely comment Kim.

We now have, in my opinion, the most talented videographer/editor/director/video-aficionado in the world - bold statement - but it’s truly how I feel.

There will be a video released shortly of me playing “Embraceable You” - we can’t wait to share it with you all. Dan’s work at his very finest.

We’re also great friends, and we love working together, it’s perfect.

I can’t want to get Dan filming our other teachers too.



Thanks Kim :slightly_smiling_face:

Thanks also for the compliment, PianoGroove is going to go from strength to strength, me and Hayden collaborate so well together and have big ideas for this revolutionary teaching platform.

We both love interacting with you guys so please keep on contributing where you feel necessary because it is something we value incredibly.



(Hayden Hill) unlisted #16