Music Rocks!

Summer of Music!

For info on my FREE Disney, Star Wars, and Minecraft Piano Music Camps before they start, submit your name and email!
Plus, info on this Fall's After School Piano Clubs enrollment will be coming soon!

Greetings, I'm Zach Tolan.

I LOVE to teach music!  Welcome to my interactive online music school for families wishing to learn from home!

I'm based out of Grand Rapids, Michigan, but I'm proud to have students worldwide!

My goal is to give families everything they need to make their musical dreams come true. That starts with picking an instrument your student loves, then learning music they actually want to play - think... Star Wars, Frozen, Minecraft, Pirates of the Caribbean... you know, the things that they're already excited about!

It's not just private lessons, or a library of songs, or collection of videos, or group classes, or live small group practice with other students... it's ALL of that, and new opportunities are starting soon!

"I've shopped around for years for something that was affordable that could really get my kids excited about music. I've never seen another program available where your kids can get such a great music education at an affordable price. It's a homeschool mom's dream come true, it's a one stop shop!"

Laura H. - Parent
Texas, USA

After School Piano Clubs! ⭐

What does it take to challenge your student's creativity AND excite their enthusiasm for music?

The way to transform your student's learning is to give them more opportunities to learn music they love, in a way they can actually start playing it right away. Mix it with a social learning environment and structured, daily practice sessions, and you've got my one-of-a-kind piano clubs!

Join my list for details and enrollment info coming soon on the world's highest value after school piano club for Elementary students.

"Zach has been AMAZING for my child. He is patient and able to pull the best out of each student he teaches. He also has a phenomenal way of teaching music. He developed a program that makes it easier for the student to read the music, levels to help them progress and opportunities to interact with other people in live practice sessions. You will not be disappointed if you use him!"

Krystie S.
Parent of a Pianist and Cellist - Texas, USA

Frequently Asked Questions

Why do so many kids quit piano lessons?

There are several things that can go wrong with standard, once-a-week-style music lessons, whether at a store, in your home, or online.

30-minutes once a week just isn't much time in a kid's world. Imagine trying to learn a foreign language (with a foreign alphabet, like ancient Greek or Hieroglyphs) in only 30 minutes a week. After just 3 minutes of setup, 3 minutes of warm-up, 6-9 minutes of review, and 3 minutes for notes and pack-up, a 30-minute lesson is only 12-15 minutes of new content PER WEEK! 

Not so great, right? Well, let's look even closer. What is that "new content?" Because learning to read standard music notation is hard, even at a basic level, songs and exercises are limited to very simple selections, for a pretty long while... longer than most elementary student's attention spans.

So, with learning content that isn't motivating in the first place, not to mention so little of it, daily practice gets boring and lonely in a hurry. Mix in the occasionally missed lesson, and instead of being bored with the same stuff for 7 days, it stretches out to 14, which is like being stranded in a dry desert of boredom in a young kid's mind. So hopefully you can imagine why the usual process can get so boring or frustrating that students easily lose sight of the original dream and want to quit.

To summarize, the big pain points are too little time to learn, too much space between, and music that's too boring because the "real" stuff would be too hard to read in standard notation. I solve these problems by inviting my students to join up to 10 class options per week, on music they are excited and able to play because it's presented in a variety of styles - visual, auditory, easy-to-read forms of standard notation, and my Exact-Notes notation system, which is so simple that even students with no prior experience can start playing real songs almost immediately, and is so innovative that it was officially awarded a U.S. Patent in 2018.

Two other noteworthy pain points I solve for my students are the drudgery of practice, and the loneliness of practice. In a standard learning environment, there is just one student, and one teacher. During the standard half-hour lesson, there is a small (and worthwhile!) social interaction between the student and teacher, but outside of that 30-minutes, it's just you and your student. I solve this hidden problem by inviting my students to join up to 10 half-hour group practice sessions with other students, live, every day. This adds a HUGE new opportunity for students to practice together in small groups where they truly become friends with other students like themselves and look forward to their practice time. Plus, any time they are stuck on any part of what they're working on, instead of waiting the rest of the week until their next 30-minute lesson, they can get help from their friends, or from me directly, immediately.

What is "Exact-Notes?"

"Exact-Notes" is what I call my patented music notation system. I started developing it around 2010 while I was running a set of 3 fine arts centers for kids I started around West Michigan called Lil' Learners! Fine Arts for Kids. (See the legacy Facebook page here!) I closed the centers that year and started working on making world-class online music programs. I finalized my notation system around 2016 and I was officially awarded a U.S. Patent in 2018. (Patent #9,947,238, if you'd like to look it up!) It's a music notation that was originally designed for kids as young as 4 to read and play songs on their own, and it's for more than just piano! The other instruments I play and teach that my patented notation system is made for are violin, cello, guitar, and ukulele!

It soon became clear that when a music notation works well for very young kids, it works even better for older students, like teen or adult beginners, students with special needs, and families who want to learn music from home but have no prior experience.When paired with step-by-step tutorials and a package of one-on-one private lessons, we believe it is among the world's leading learn-from-home music courses!

Can my student learn an instrument from an online course, even if I don't know anything about music?

Easy one. Yes! I do it all the time. It's my whole business...

Is Exact-Notes for beginners only?

No, not exactly. Exact-Notes works for beginner-to-advanced music, it's just easier to read, and courses are taught in a variety of notation options that students can use, depending on their skill level and goals

Older beginners often love how much easier my patented Exact-Notes system makes playing very advanced music. It makes it possible to start your very first lessons with some of history's most famous songs, like Fur Elise and Moonlight Sonata - instead of waiting years with traditional methods.

Besides adult beginners, my easy-to-read notation system is especially good for students with special needs of many sorts, including ADD, Autism, vision impairments, and other learning disabilities from mild to severe.

How long has Exact-Notes been around?

I formally introduced "Exact-Notes" to my private students in 2014, although 2018 was my first year offering courses through Niles and Hamilton Community Schools virtual partnerships, and online to individual families across the United States and beyond.