So you want to be President?

Learn to play a musical instrument!

Musical instruments




President Harry S. Truman, the man in the White House when the United States intervened on behalf of the millions of innocent people who were being displaced and massacred by Hitler’s Nazi Germany, claimed to have practiced his piano lessons for two hours every morning during his childhood. Likewise, President Warren Harding was said to be able to play every instrument except the trombone and the clarinet. Franklin Delano Roosevelt (FDR) played the organ. Of course we all remember President Clinton and his saxophone, but did you know that President Nixon was an accomplished pianist?

And more recently a girl who was a musician long before she became an academic and then a world-famous diplomat, our own globetrotting Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice is a very accomplished classical pianist. As she was growing up in the Rice home music was a family affair, and as early as age 3 Condi played piano at family gatherings. Her Dad was a minister and she often accompanied her organist Mother in church. The name "Condoleezza" is from the Italian phrase con dolcezza, which refers to playing music "with sweetness." While other kids in her neighborhood were playing outdoors, she was more likely to be found practicing the piano or reading a book. Shadows of things to come?

The list goes on, but the real question is why do people with musical training tend to achieve more in life? There are differing theories about that, but studies have shown a direct correlation between music and the brain’s ability to adapt to the world around it. One such test showed that people that had listened to just ten minutes of Mozart's "Sonata for Two Pianos in D Major" and then took a spatio-temporal reasoning test (which is a part of a standardized intelligence test) scored 48% higher than the control group while a second study done at the University of California, Irvine on what has been called the “Mozart Effect” shows a increased IQ score of nine points.

In another study the Bulgarian psychologist George Lozanov discovered that playing Baroque instrumental music in the background had a profound effect on student’s ability to learn and retain a foreign language. The key is that highly structured, highly organized music seems to help the human brain to function in a more organized and efficient manner while further studies have shown that discordant music actually has a negative effect on the brain.

Studying music is the perfect way to derive its benefits. At least one study has shown that young children can gain the spatio-temporal reasoning effects mentioned above just by learning to play the piano or organ. Likewise, through the study of music we have the discipline of practice to expose us to great music regardless of our age. Besides for the effect of the music, studying music teaches discipline and the relationship between hard work and reward and there is little in life more rewarding than to hear beautiful music coming forth as a result of one’s own effort.

“Music education opens doors that help children pass from school into the world around them — a world of work, culture, intellectual activity, and human involvement. The future of our nation depends on providing our children with a complete education that includes music.” — Gerald Ford, former President, United States of America


    Duane Shinn is the author of over 500 music books and music educational materials such as DVD's, CD's, musical games for kids, chord charts, musical software, and piano lesson instructional courses for adults. His courses have been written up in hundreds of newspapers and magazines. His book-CD-DVD course titled "How To Play Chord Piano" ( has sold over 100,000 copies around the world. He holds an advanced degree from Southern Oregon University and was the founder of Piano University in Southern Oregon. He has also logged time as an assistant music therapist, piano tuner, and working piano player. He is the author of the popular free 101-week e-mail newsletter titled "Amazing Secrets Of Exciting Piano Chords & Sizzling Chord Progressions" with over 55,000 current subscribers. Those interested may obtain a free subscription by going to

Keyboard Workshop was established in 1965 to help piano players of all levels enhance their piano playing ability though the use of chords, styles, rhythms, runs, fills and other strategies. So we've been around the block a couple times, and we know what works!  We have taught hundreds of thousands of piano lessons on DVD's, CD's, videos, cassettes, music books, sheet music, chord charts, as well as free piano sheet music and free piano lessons online and instant chord finder from our sister-sites. 

     Duane is a graduate of Southern Oregon University in Ashland, Oregon with a BS & Masters Degree in Humanities (Music & English literature - a double major) and he is known as "the pianoman" -- the author of over 500 books, CD's and DVD's having to do with all aspects of piano playing. But degrees and education means nothing without the ability to teach so that the student can UNDERSTAND and then APPLY what he or she understands. Take one course and you'll immediately see for yourself why Duane's DVD and CD courses are "one of a kind" -- they actually get you UNDERSTANDING music and then show you -- clearly and plainly -- how to APPLY what you learn to your piano!

     Duane has more fun teaching piano than should be legal, and that love of piano playing and music in general is contagious.

     No formalities here -- lots of laughs and exciting insights into how to make the sounds you love -- whether that means pop piano or praise & gospel piano or blues piano or ragtime piano or new age piano or -- you name it.

     He has worked with many doctors and professional people who otherwise wouldn't be able to attend a scheduled lesson in a studio, because they can do it on their own time. He also works with church pianists and music directors to help them hone their skills, as well as beginners that don't know Middle C from Tweedle Dee, and everyone in-between.