A dream invention turns into a business

Declan Cosgrove is living proof that people can follow their dream and be successful.

After a career in corporate insurance and a stint running a successful web business, forty-five-year-old Declan Cosgrove (pictured below with George Hook) retired to restore his thatched cottage near Ballymitty, Co. Wexford. Early into his ‘retirement’ he decided to chase a dream and build something new. He is the inventor of the world’s fastest learned piano method – DecPlayPiano.com.

How quickly can someone learn to play the piano?

Most people can play a song using both hands within the first hour, using the DecPlay method. The best way to demonstrate this is to have a look at a couple of examples. 

The video below shows Mel playing Silent Night within one hour, having never learned piano before and shows her surprise and fun of being able to play so well, so quickly.

In another video, you can see Hannah, also with no background in music, playing Fairytale of New York, from scratch in less than an hour.

Why do you want to inspire people to play the piano?

Playing music can be one of the greatest joys in life and is a powerful way to build confidence, express yourself, have fun and create deep connections with others. My passion is inspiring people to unlock their natural musical abilities. Also, contributing to the community and personal growth gives me a great sense of fulfilment. 

Declan Cosgrave DecPlayPiano

What’s so innovative about your method? 

DecPlay enables you to start playing fun songs within one hour, which would often take over a year of traditional tuition. This rapid progress and fun approach motivates you to practice and develop your skills further. This is the opposite of the traditional piano tuition I experienced as a child, where the focus was passing exam grades, which took years and still didn’t equip me to play fun music at parties. 

Secondly, my system uses a unique combination of techniques, including numbers, patterns and colours to produce a new design of music notation which you can understand in minutes, compared to the many months it often takes to become fluent in reading traditional musical notation. 

Thirdly, it enables you to identify the simple patterns that exist in all styles of Western music, which are not shown in traditional music notation. This is ideal if you want to play at parties, as it allows you to memorise songs quickly, improvise and develop your playing style, as well as develop other skills such as playing by ear and composing songs. 

What’s your musical background? 

I started classical piano lessons at age six and progressed through the grades. Progress was slow as it seemed more like extra homework than ‘fun’, so I did the minimum practice I could. 

When I was 14, I formed a band in school which suddenly made music ‘fun’, gave me a buzz of playing in public and accelerated my ability to play music by ear.

Over the years, the most fun I have had is at parties, being able to play people’s favourite songs on request. Often people would say to me, ‘I wish my parents had pushed me to learn to play the piano’. And I’d say ‘What’s stopping you learning now’? And the old myths came back: ‘I’m too old; there’s no musical gene in my family; it would take years of practice, and I’m too busy’.

“It took me 18 months to perfect the method. DecPlayPiano has recently been awarded a full patent.”

What was your Eureka moment?

I felt frustrated that people were missing out on the joys of music because of these ingrained beliefs. It spurred me on come up with a new method of teaching. If I could instantly work out how to play a song in my head, it couldn’t be that difficult – right?

It took me 18 months to decipher how I was able to play music by ear and turn this into a written form of music that can be understood within minutes. The result is that it developed into my method of teaching called DecPlayPiano, which has recently been awarded a full patent.

It took a long time to distill the method down to its simplest and most effective form. Its simplicity now means that it appeals to everyone from busy executives to young children, senior citizens, and people with special needs. 


How do you make money?

People can buy the video tuition courses and additional song sheets on-line via our website DecPlayPiano.com. 

What’s your motivation? 

Playing music has brought me so much joy in my life, and I invented the DecPlay piano method to enable others to experience the same joy, even people who think they are not ‘musical’ or have been failed by the traditional methods of teaching.  

I love doing voluntary work to introduce DecPlay free to various social and community groups. We have achieved great success with a disabled charity here in Wexford and one of the largest prisons in the UK. 

At the moment we are in discussions with Barry Sheridan, CEO, IMSA about doing a pilot with the Irish Men’s Sheds Association. This would start in Wexford and if successful, then be offered nationwide to their thousands of members. 

What does success look like for you?

Every new person who learns to play music, I consider a success. My mission is to show that anyone who wants to play music, can do it, quickly, at any age and with any level of learning ability. So far, over 3,000 people have accessed the DecPlayPiano method, and I intend to increase that number dramatically over the next few years. 

Article by Brendan Byrne.

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