Playground stories: Chris Vance, CEO of Playground Sessions

Our CEO Chris Vance is not only the visionary behind the organization, but also the ultimate Playground Sessions success story. Struggling with the inconvenience of private lessons, and realizing that all of his practice time between lessons was alone, without the feedback from his teacher, Chris decided to build Playground Sessions, so he could more easily learn piano at home, have more fun, and importantly have real-time feedback even when practicing. Watch his performance of Prelude in C Major by J.S. Bach below and learn about his piano journey in the Q&A! 

What drew you to piano?

I always loved the sound, and wished I could play. It just felt like if I could play I would really be able to express myself through music which just seemed to make sense to me.

Did you have piano lessons prior to starting Playground Sessions?

Not really. I tried for about 4 weeks with 2 different teachers but I just failed at it. The traditional approach didn’t work for me. I was 35 years old when I first gave it a shot.

How did you feel after playing your first song? What song was it?

I found David Sides on YouTube and was inspired by him, I wanted to play like him! The first song I learned was Apologize, since that was one of David’s biggest hits! I felt amazing. The song sounded amazing, and I was amazed that it was coming from me. And of course it feels great when other people are amazed by you!

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How did learning piano change/improve your life?

Are you kidding me? It’s a huge part of my life. I play every day. Whether I’m having a good or bad day, the piano always makes things better for me. There’s no way I could live without it now. I’ll play for the rest of my life. The best investment in me that I’ve ever made. 

What is your next practice goal?

I like to play around with songs in different genres, and I’m always thinking about the next song i’ll play for Quincy Jones!  

Any advice to people who want to learn but don’t know where to start?

A: Jump in!  You won’t regret it. And most importantly, you can 100% do it. Don’t let your own doubts, or what you’ve been told in the past have any influence over you. Trust that you’re human, and with the best tools today you can be your best self through playing music!

Click here to explore our Facebook Group for more inspiration from the
Playground Sessions community!

9 thoughts on “Playground stories: Chris Vance, CEO of Playground Sessions”

    1. Mariya Stepanenko

      Great to hear! A half hour every day is a prefect amount of time. Short enough to keep you focused and easy to find in the day for consistency!

    2. I just don’t understand why all the music is easy arrangements. Moonlight Sonata is listed as advanced, but it’s not the original score. I can understand catering to beginners and novices, as that is most likely the largest user base, but why alienate advanced players by giving them intermediate scores masquerading as advanced?

      1. Mariya Stepanenko

        Thank you for your feedback! Our difficulty levels adhere to a certain format to make sure that our users have a consistent experience. Original scores of Classical pieces are what we would call ‘Expert’ level arrangements which we are planning on adding to our library in the future.

  1. How about expert arrangements of popular songs as well? I am working through advanced arrangements of songs and although they are very good, they sound a little basic without the backing tracks accompanying them… I would like to see beefier big sound versions that stand on their own without the backing track. Multi not melodies with big base chords to play

    1. Mariya Stepanenko

      Alan, thanks for your feedback! We are thinking of introducing Expert level arrangements in the future. In the meantime, feel free to check out the arrangements by Theorist in our song library. He is a YouTube cover artist who creates beautiful Advanced arrangements of popular songs for solo piano.

    1. Mariya Stepanenko

      Lessons with Harry Connick Jr. are featured throughout our curriculum. But we also feature other teachers depending on the topic covered. Hope that helps!

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