A great question to ask! It is hard to come up with an exact formula for which level you or your child should be playing in without knowing a little bit about their playing background and propensity for music. This page outlines some basic guidelines and tips for the teacher-less student when choosing the level that is right for you.

Complete Beginners:
If you are a complete beginner, below are some helpful hints on where to start and how much practice at each level you should complete before moving on to the next one.<< Complete Beginners

Advanced Beginners:If you or your child have taken some traditional lessons or have played other instruments, but can’t easily play the Level 3 songs, it is recommended that you follow the following program:

Advanced Beginners >>

Complete Beginners:
If you are a complete beginner, below are some helpful hints on where to start and how much of each level you should do before moving on to the next one.

Ages 7 and under:
How early you start your child in this method is a matter of trial and error, but most early beginners start learning around the age of 5. It is highly recommended that students play 10 to 15 songs in the Level 0 category to help build a much needed foundation. They should spend a lot of time listening to the songs they are playing and begin to connect what they hear with the circles and lines that instruct them to hold or play quickly, respectively. Colors are key for a learner at this level and by marking their right and left hand with the appropriate color matching the page can be very helpful. It is also important that the student play from different genres so that they are exposed to all the musical symbols before moving to the next level. Because learning at younger ages is traditionally more delicate than at older ages, the books have been created with the songs in order of increasing difficulty to help guide the student. Of course they will not be able to do it alone, but musical and non-musical parents alike have served as teacher due to the simplicity of the Opian notation!

Ages 8 and up:
Although it may feel off putting to group 8 year old and 35 year old beginners in the same category, it is appropriate. In general, this form of learning is more unstructured allowing students to chose songs from the appropriate levels to gain the necessary skills. While each students progress will be different, below is a timeframe that the average student can expect. It is important to note that students should play from different categories because classical songs may introduce different concepts than holiday songs and vice versa. Here is the recommended playing program to get the most out of the Opian method:

Time Frame Level How many Instructional videos
First two weeks 0 5 to 8 songs 1-5
Weeks three to four 1 5 to 10 songs 6
Months 1 to 6 2 10 to 15 songs 7
7+ months of experience 3 15 to 25 songs 7

A lot of this is based on how much one practices (big surprise!). Of course with this method you are progressing rapidly and enjoying the songs you are able to play due to their presence in our culture, so practice shouldn’t feel like a chore. Nonetheless, in the beginning levels practicing 10 minutes a day working up to 20 or 25 minutes a day in Level 3 gives a ball park of what it takes.

Advanced Beginners:If you or your child have taken some traditional lessons or have played other instruments, but can’t easily play the Level 3 songs, it is recommended that you follow the following program:

Time Frame Level How many Instructional videos
First day 0 1 to 2 songs 1-5
First week 1 2 to 3 songs 6
First 2 months 2 8 to 12 songs 7
3+ months 3 15 to 25 songs 7

It is highly recommended that you complete Level 3 before moving on to multi-positon (for more information click the multi-position tab on the home page), but you will definitely be able to handle the beginning levels of multi-position without completing Level 3. Level 3 really helps develop rhythm and coordination so that when your hands are moving in multi-position, you can focus more on the jumps and stretches than the rhythm and coordination aspects.