At my age, I never thought that I would be able to begin learning to play a new instrument. I do love video games and this combination of the two made my experience with the Piano Wizard very fun.
A new video game that teaches you to play the piano, Piano Wizard uses a proprietary computer game engine along with a color-coded piano keyboard (bundled with the software) to allow kids to simply and quickly hit the correct note at the correct time. The Piano Wizard software lets the user play actual songs and through gameplay, musical logic, theory and notation are subconsciously learned.
After unpacking the product, I was amazed at how easy it was to get everything up and running. I installed the software, plugged in and was on my way to being the next Beethoven within minutes. The sleek medium sized keyboard was surprisingly easy to use and the labeling showed me what keys were what.
Since becoming an adult, I had pretty much given up on the hopes that I could learn to play and instrument, but not only was the Piano Wizard fun, but it actually allowed me to learn to play (some basic) piano within the first day.
'We live in a fast-paced information-driven society, where our kids learn how to use a computer and play video games sometimes even before they learn to read,' said inventor Chris Salter, CEO of Piano Wizard's parent company, Allegro Multimedia. 'We have a huge failure rate with many of the frustrating teaching methods of the past and cannot expect them to hold any interest for people learning about music today. Attention spans and spare time are at a premium in today's society, so our mission is to make music learning fun, fast and engaging from the first minute.'
With the Piano Wizard software, colored ``notes'' disguised as colorful icons like dinosaur eggs or rocket ships travel along a straight line upward toward the same colored key on the computer screen. The player then simply hits the same color key on their piano keyboard when the note reaches the colored piano keys on the screen. It is so simple, children as young as three can play Beethoven in minutes. Conventional teaching methods emphasize learning notation and theory first, which is contrary to our natural learning process. Piano Wizard teaches the user how to play a song first and later provides insight into the musical theory. At advanced levels, the software flips the line that the notes are traveling on so they are horizontal, mimicking the lines of the staff. Now the notes are moving across the screen exactly the way music is read, demonstrating to the user the underlying logic of musical notation and theory.
The game's beginner's level is intended for children and adults, while the advanced mode can challenge and stimulate even seasoned pianists. The software is compatible with electronic music files (MIDI), allowing users to import their favorite song and play along with a completely new music game. This allows advanced users to learn complicated scores and arrangements by letting the computer simplify and customize it for them.
The Piano Wizard is available at www.pianowizard.com for $199.99, not too shabby for teaching an old dog new tricks!