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2 note ratingReview of PC Piano Teacher




C Piano Teacher won't replace your real piano teacher, but it does show some promise for becoming an able teacher's aide. This review provides insights into the low-cost shareware version 1.1-B as run on Windows 3.1 or Windows 95. To dispense with a few minor logistical concerns, the program could provide easier access to the registration form, one "About the Program" screen instead of repeated appearances of the screen under each menu item, and an ESCAPE option (without exiting the program altogether) in the middle of its drills.



As for the program itself, you'll find PC Piano Teacher most useful for its exercises under the EAR/RHYTHMIC DICTATION section. The simplest of these drills proves to be the most entertaining: After your PC beeps out a short 4- or 5-beat rhythm, you select the block of notes which matches this rhythm. This type of testing is the most accessible and fastest-paced of the various types used in this section.

INTERVAL DRILLS are equally engaging. PC Piano Teacher asks a question such as "What is the 3rd below the red note?" to which you respond by typing in the appropriate letter name of the note. This section contains the most colorful graphics in the program; however, it would be preferable for the on-screen keyboard to be more prominently displayed so that it captures our attention over the graphics.

Throughout PC Piano Teacher, the iterations of each drill often number 20 or more. At this rate, even the most entertaining parts unfortunately wear out their welcome. Although its attempts to test musical knowledge in a comprehensive way is also evident by the wide range of testing formats it uses, the program could improve its accessibility by sticking to simpler formats with less detailed instructions. The KEYBOARD NOTE DRILL could be eliminated altogether, since its instructions are not only confusing, but test the same body of knowledge covered elsewhere in the program. You'll find that PC Piano Teacher's responses to your answers - right and wrong - are thoughtfully worded and encouraging enough, but need to be more prominently displayed.

PC Piano Teacher has the potential to become a valuable aid, and is ambitious in its attempt to provide the broadest range of skills testing. For now, it is best used for exercises under RHYTHMIC DICTATION and INTERVAL DRILLS. Its graphics, elementary tests under THEORY and NOTES sections, and use of tunes such as "Mary Had a Little Lamb" and "Yankee Doodle" suggest that it is designed for the very young beginners. As the sophistication of low-cost shareware grows, so (it is hoped!) will the sophistication of upcoming versions of this program.

Amy Y. O'Grady

PC Piano Teacher, Version 1.1-B. Registration fee: $29.00. Distributed by Data Assist, Inc., P.O. Box 26114, Columbus, Ohio, 43226. Tel: (614) 888-8088; Technical Support BBS: (614) 888-8056. Minimum system requirements: IBM PC (or compatible) running Windows 3.1, 3.11 or Windows 95; Windows-compatible sound card.
Page created: 12/3/96
Last updated: 06/23/17
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