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My Guitar The Fun Way to Learn Review by Rebecca Huff

eMedia Music Corporation
(206) 329-5657
664 NE Northlake Way
Seattle, WA 98105

Gary the Guitar is the star of eMedia Music Corporation's My Guitar program for children ages 6 and up. Learning to play the guitar can often be a bit overwhelming for younger students, but not with Gary the Guitar! The man behind the computer animated cartoon guitar character is Kevin Garry, who has a Ph.D. from the University of Colorado-Boulder and has a lot of experience in teaching children. The program comes on a CD-ROM that can run on Windows or Macintosh systems and is super easy to set up.

Lessons start from square one, but by the end of the very first lesson, students will be playing a song. The program shows you where to put your fingers as the music plays on an animated fretboard. To get the right fingering all you have to do is double click on any chord or note on the computer screen. Our favorite part was the automatic tuner which allows you to tune your guitar right at your computer. Some other cool features are the built in Metronome (keeps the beat), a Chord Dictionary (shows you the chord and where to put your fingers), a digital recorder (so you can hear how you sound) and games!

First, students learn the names of the parts of a guitar, guitar sizes, names of the strings, chords and how to hold and tune the guitar. Then the lessons proceed to teach chords and twenty-one songs. The lessons are broken up into four chapters. Each chapter introduces several new chords and songs as well as reviewing the ones already mastered. As the student plays along the music tracking will highlight each note or chord as it is played. Students may also slow down the music.

In each lesson, there are games that reinforce the techniques that were covered. There are videos of the "real" Garry teaching various concepts such as how to strum. Left handed and upside down fretboards are also available under the options drop down menu. Teachers can print the lessons as well as print each screen so that students may practice while not in front of the computer.

Younger students will really enjoy and learn a lot from this educational program. The songs used in the program are fun to sing along to and children will enjoy being able to play the guitar while their friends and family sing along. According to research children who learn music are more creative, self-disciplined, self-confident, make friends easier and do better in school! This alone is good enough reason to start children learning music as early as possible!

We all watched, played and sang along with the lessons and enjoyed using the program. My Guitar The Fun Way to Learn would be great for students who have never had lessons and want to get started. It would also be a great supplement for those students who are taking lessons from a music instructor. There is so much content on the program, and each lesson is covered thoroughly. The program is very affordable and would make a perfect gift for a child who really wants to learn to play the guitar but whose parents aren't quite ready to pay for weekly lessons!

Product Review by Rebecca Huff, The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine, LLC, January 2009