Back to Piano Education Home Page

5 note ratingReview of Teach Me Piano

 

 

  W
 

ill piano teachers ever be replaced by PC's? The complexities of playing the piano suggest not, but Voyetra makes it as feasible as possible in Teach Me Piano. Using point-and-click graphics, the program gives you easy access to lessons, songbook, musical reference guide and more on its main screen.

 

 

You'll need a PC running Windows 3.1 or 95 and at least a double-speed CD ROM drive to run the program. It has a very helpful Media Check option to help you troubleshoot any sound setup or MIDI keyboard problems. This is a particularly thoughtful touch, since getting the sound and MIDI setup to work properly is often the major difficulty in installing multimedia music programs.

Keyboard Lessons represents the heart of the program, with over 150 clear, well-paced lessons and hands-on exercises. Hugh Berberich as your instructor is an informative and reassuring presence; Lisa Grey on narration provides effective reinforcement and a pleasant change of voice. The beginning exercises could be more musical and engaging, but are functional. You'll get immediate feedback with a "honk" for incorrect answers, encouraging music for mostly correct responses, and applause for being 100% correct. A demo option allows you to hear an exercise before attempting it, so the music itself serves as the motivation for continuing to learn. Teach Me Piano's reference guide is rich with links, so terms can be clarified as needed.

The Songbook is equally well-organized; you can click on various tabs to get pieces listed alphabetically or by composer, style, or level of difficulty. As in the Keyboard Lessons, you can practice your selection by pitch and/or rhythms; click on the metronome to adjust your volume, tempo, and length of lead-ins. Ultimately, you play under Performance as a full orchestra accompanies you in the background! When you select pieces on which to practice, the program unfortunately defaults to the rhythm score instead of the full score. It's a minor inconvenience to have to click on the option to view RH and LH by pitch and rhythm in order to see the music in its entirety. Teach Me Piano does allow you to print arrangements for easy reference away from the PC.

Although the program would benefit younger beginners in a supervised setting, it is better designed for older beginners who want to work at their own pace and for recreational aficionados already equipped with knowledge of notes and basic rhythms. Perhaps the most exciting way in which this program can be used is to re-introduce music in the public and private school curriculum. A PC station with a low-cost MIDI keyboard and earphones will go a long way with the current generation of computer-literate children. Of course, buyers should beware that no program will replace the important pacing, technical, and interpretive direction which the live teacher provides.

The entire development team at Voyetra deserves a standing ovation for organization and presentation of complex material, all at the reasonable price of $79.95 at the time of this review.

Amy Y. O'Grady

Teach Me Piano, Version 1.0, $79.95. Voyetra Technologies, Inc., 5 Odell Plaza, Yonkers, NY 10701-1406. Tel: (914) 966-0600. Fax: (914) 966-1102. E-mail: sales@voyetra.com. WWW: http://www.voyetra.com/. System requirements: Minimum - 486DX2/66 MHz PC with Windows 3.1 or 95, 8 Mb RAM, 6 Mb hard disk space, SVGA monitor displaying 640X480 at 256 colors, 2X or faster CD-ROM drive, 16-bit sound card, and MIDI compatible keyboard with PC interface.
 
 
 
 
Page created: 9/3/97
Last updated: 01/30/15
 
Site Policies Credits About Feedback Reprinting
     

Reprinting from the Piano Education Page The Piano Education Page, Op. 10, No. 1, http://pianoeducation.org
Copyright 1995-2016 John M. Zeigler. All rights reserved.