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My Piano: The Fun Way to Learn! CD-ROM Review by Maggi BeardsleyIrma Irene Justicia
664 NE Northlake Way
Seattle, WA 98105
My Piano: The Fun Way to Learn! is a CD-ROM with an animated piano character named Pam the Piano, who leads the child through lessons by Irma Irene Justicia, a teacher at Juilliard School of Music. The CD-ROM runs on a computer. You will need a Pentium II PC with Windows 98/2000/NT/Me/XP/Vista and 64 MB of free RAM, CD-Rom sound card, 256+ color display and speakers or headphones. Or you will need a Power PC G3 or better Macintosh with Mac OS X 10.1+, 64 MB of free RAM, CD-ROM, 256+ color display and speakers or headphones.
A student would load this program onto their computer. The talking piano leads the student sequentially through lessons about music notes, rests, reading music, counting rhythm, and playing the piano. There is a side button were the student can hear the music piece that is displayed. There is another button where the student can adjust the metronome and speed of the song. Sometimes there is a video button so that the student can watch the teacher play the piano. There are also games interspersed in the CD-ROM. They, too, can record their piano playing. A student can start and stop at any time and the CD-ROM will restart the student and the previous lesson.
My Piano: The Fun Way to Learn! would be used as an introduction to music and piano playing for an elementary aged child. The intended audience is ages 6 and up.
I liked My Piano: The Fun Way to Learn! The CD-ROM effectively taught my child to read notes and rests. It has fun games to reinforce the learning. My child was excited to use the CD-ROM day after day. The video of the teacher showing the students how to correctly place their hands on the piano was a great demonstration. After a few lessons my daughter was able to head to the piano and play a few tunes.
My seven-year-old used the CD-ROM. She did fine with the reading of notes and rests as well as rhythm and simple songs using one hand. However, we had to go very slowly once the CD-ROM was teaching playing the keyboard using two hands. The program recommended a MIDI keyboard. With the keyboard the student can receive instant feedback on the notes and rhythm played. I think if we had the keyboard with the computer program then our experience would have been better. My child used the computer in one room and then ran downstairs to try it on the regular piano.
As a CD-ROM, My Piano: The Fun Way to Learn! can offer a student a good introduction to music and piano playing, even one who doesn't own a piano. I think that the experience would be greatly enhanced by using the program with a midi keyboard.