|Average Customer Review: ( 14 customer reviews )
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101 of 106 found the following review helpful:
Great product May 06, 2004
By Michael J. Green
I was completely new to music when I bought this set (CD-ROM and keyboard). I think it is great. It walks you through the basics and when you start playing the music has numbers on it that match up to your fingers (1-5) so you can play as you get the hang of reading music. Gradually they remove some of the numbers so your music reading skills improve.
The software grades your playing with a percentage score, and gives you details on your errors (if you want them).
Also, it includes short videos of a person playing piano so you can see proper posture and such. Each song comes with (optional) accompaniment, which can make it funner to play (especially with the simple songs).
The keyboard that comes with it (optional) has a solid feel, and is touch-sensitive (pressing harder plays louder). The keyboard plugs into the joystick port (probably on your sound card).
51 of 52 found the following review helpful:
The method works for me, but the Mac OS X version has bugs. Dec 12, 2005
I've been using this piano trainer for about 2 months now, and am up to lesson 100 or thereabouts. I've been spending about 1/2 hour each day with it, on an OS X Mac with a MIDI/USB piano keyboard attached to it. Each day, I start at my "tail" lesson, then work through all of the other ones up to my "current" lesson. Then I do the "tail" lesson again. If I can play it with the computer rating me at 99 or 100%, I declare that I've "passed" that lesson, and move the tail up to the next lesson for the next day. If I don't pass, I keep the tail where it is. At the other, "current", end, I usually move up one lesson per day, unless the current one is particularly challenging. I also usually have one "goof off/preview" lesson where I just relax and try to have a little fun with the next lesson beyond the current one, giving myself a little treat to look forward to. I usually take the weekends off, and only do my lessons if I'm feeling like I want to. During weekdays, I find it is a nice way to just do "something different" after a day at the office, and quickly find myself sucked in; the lesson time passes quickly.
The system has worked quite well for me so far. I've stayed motivated and am making definite and consistent progress.
The program works very well for the most part. Each lesson displays the sheet music, and has a button that plays the lesson as it should sound. Plus, most lessons have video snippets of an instructor giving detailed examples and hints. Most lessons also have a button where you can play accompanied by other instruments. After you play the lesson, the computer rates your performance, from 0 to 100% correct, and shows on the sheet music where you made mistakes (wrong notes, notes played too long or short, etc.).
There are a few bugs in the OS X Mac version. The worst is that the sound volume level for the instructor / example music can't be changed. There's a slider for this in the preferences window, but it doesn't work. The volume is stuck at maximum, so it is far, far louder than the sound coming from my own playing. The other serious bug is that the automatic lesson grader almost always indicates that you've played the final note of the lesson too short, even if you hold it down far too long; this seems to be especially true if the final note is a whole note. The other bug I regularly see is that a window will pop up saying something about the script interpreter crashing. This doesn't seem to cause any problems, but it is annoying. Other than that, the program seems solid. It uses a better piano sound than the one that comes built-in on the Mac; it still isn't realistic like the ones on the Casio and Yamaha keyboards, but it's good enough.
71 of 79 found the following review helpful:
quality product Apr 02, 2004
I got this product yesterday and started to learn by it.
after browsing it and using it for the first 17 lessons this is my impression.
what you get in this product is 100% of quality content and less emphasize on look and graphics.
and if you want to learn playing the keyboard, so the quality of the teaching is more important then other features.
the teacher leading the instruction process using video clips and audio tracks, is Irma Justicia MA which is a experienced piano teacher.
after 17 lessons i fell in love with her .it feels just lilke i'm in a real lesson with her.
for my non proffesinal impression this product is good for absolute beginners to the intermediate level.
it is also said on the product that it is volume 1 so probably they are going to issue more products in this piano keyboard line just as they done with the guitar.
cause of the simplicity of the graphics you can use it on any computer,old and new.
but still you get many sophisticated features like interactive feedback using midi cable.
for summary ...GOOD WORK.
19 of 19 found the following review helpful:
Good instruction software, but has some minor bugs and doesn't fully replace a live teacher Jun 27, 2006
By J. Moran
I got this on request as a Christmas gift last year, along with an M-Audio KeyStation 61es keyboard. The combination of the two works really nicely on my PowerMac. I didn't really start going through the lessons until about a week ago due to shoulder surgery I had at the beginning of the year, but so far so good.
For the record, I studied music for about 10 years when I was younger, though not piano. While I still remember much of that earlier training (in particular, how to read music) there's plenty new about piano so that I'm not feeling these early lessons to be too easy (though they may be slightly easier).
I do have a few complaints about the program. First, as another reviewer noted, you cannot turn down the volume of the accompaniment / instructor. This makes it impossible for me to hear my own playing when going through a lesson, even with the KeyStation's volume cranked all the way up. So what I do is play the instructor audio once to get the idea, then play solo so I can hear all my flubs and faults (and also when I get it right! ;-D).
Second, the program seems slightly crash-prone running on Mac OS X 10.4 (a.k.a. "Tiger"). I've found it will crash at least once in any given practice session, and when I re-launch I'm right back where I started for that session. True, I can just click the right arrow until I get to where I left off, but if I'd been going for a half-hour and managed to get through several screens it's a little irritating.
Third, though not a bug, is how the music is displayed on screen. As another reviewer noted, the programmers / designers seemed to feel that 640 x 480 was plenty of resolution, but this means that many of the songs you play cover multiple screens. "When the Saints Go Marching in" took up 3 screens, which seemed ridiculous when I'm on a 1280 x 1024 monitor. Yes, the pages auto-turn for you when you to the end of one, but the first time or two through a song it's very irritating as I'm trying to read ahead and figure out what fingers need to move next.
But maybe most importantly, I'm finding that this software, while it certainly teaches the fundamentals of playing well enough, still doesn't fully take the place of a real, live instructor sitting there with me. In particular, I can tell that my hand position is not completely right because when I play the fingers in my right hand (especially my ring finger) get sore rather quickly, like I'm straining the muscles/tendons on the top of the fingers. I've got large long-fingered hands, and even with the full-size keys of the KeyStation I find it hard to get all five fingers seated on the keys without at least two fingers curling quite a bit. Maybe this is normal when you start playing piano, but it would be nice to have someone there to confirm whether I'm doing it OK. I'm certain a live instructor would see anything I was doing wrong right away and help me correct it right then and there. Videos showing proper posture are all well and good, but the program can't see me or tell me that I have a posture problem. All it can do is say that I played a wrong note or that I held a note too long / short.
I'm hoping that I'm not developing any other problems with my technique, since I do plan on moving to a live instructor at some point when my schedule opens up and I've become certain that I can devote the time to serious practice. I'd hate to develop some decent playing skills only to find I have to start over because my core technique is all wrong.
So, five stars because of the generally good quality of the technical instruction, minus one star for not being able to point out purely physical problems with my playing. Not the program's fault, but I can't give five stars to something that can't perfectly replace a live teacher.
14 of 14 found the following review helpful:
Great for learning to play simple songs Aug 18, 2006
By Kevan Kwong
I am an adult trying to learn Piano. This program is great for learning simple songs and does have a very good feedback system.
The lessons are taught with plenty of simple songs which you can play and the feedback system will track how well you play. The feedback system tracks your key presses, rythem, and note length. However, it does not track the strength of your key press.
I would like to see more exercises to develop better basic skills, instead of just playing simple songs. Also, the feedback program can be very discouraging for children as it is very sensitive and report very minor error.
Overall, this is still a great program to have for self learner, but in no way will it beat a real piano teacher.
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