Piano Music & Theory Software:

compiled by Doug (e-mail magicref (at) lycos.com)
Last Update: Oct 2009 Added Piano Wizard; added eMusicTheory.com; added Timewarp Technologies, added Sibelius. Moved Teoria Music Theory Web to the Piano Video Courses page (see tab above) because they do not offer a software program. Deleted Musicorum website (gone); Deleted PianoProfessor.com (gone); Deleted Voyetra (Turtle Beach) as the software seems to have been discontinued.


Where to buy: The following sites are a small sampling of places to buy music software on the Internet. Please note that I have not personally dealt with these companies so these are not personal recommendations.

http://www.audiomidi.com CA
http://www.lentine.com Ohio
http://www.kellysmusicandcomputers.com Canada
http://www.midi-classics.com CT
http://www.aabaca.com MN


Introduction

There are quite a few software programs available for learning music theory and how to play the piano. The following is a list of many of the programs I found that provide instruction, games, or drills in piano playing and/or music theory. I have not included "ear training" specific programs.Also, there are quite a few piano video courses popping up. A few of these are listed in the Piano Video Courses page (see tab above).

For piano instruction, the capability to use a MIDI keyboard is a definite plus. For example, in note drills, the student is asked to press the appropriate key on the piano keyboard to match the note on the staff. This helps the student associate note to key much better than simply identifying note value with the click of a mouse. If you don't have a MIDI keyboard, most programs that support MIDI do not require it. This is also the primary advantage of some of the programs below over the Piano Video Courses that you can purchase. With a video course, you can watch what they are doing and copy that, but you don't get any feedback on what you are doing. With a live teacher, of course, she can immediately correct anything she sees wrong. Some MIDI compatible software can actually provide you feedback on your note accuracy, your timing, rhythm, and so forth. While not as good as a quality teacher, it is certainly a good help.

There are several shareware programs for drilling note values and rhythm. Be sure to download the demo versions and try before you buy. You may find that some of the commercial offerings offer similar activities as part of the package. Even though the commercial programs may cost more initially, they may be more cost effective in the long run.

Please note that my "testing" of these programs was brief and was generally from demonstration versions that do not always provide full functionality. Please check out the programs for yourself for details. Also, I'm not an expert on which techniques are best for teaching, so I can't make any comments on how good the programs are at actually teaching. Rather, I have attempted to provide a general overview of the programs and their presentation.


Company/Product
Operating
System
Click image for more screenshots Description
Adventus Interactive
Children's Music Journey;
Piano Suite Premiere;
Ear Training Coach;
MusIQ Challenge
http://www.adventus.com
WinXP-Vista
Adventus
(Click for Screenshots)
Piano Suite Premier tutorial software by Adventus is designed to be used with a MIDI keyboard, which is recommended, although not necessary. The software is designed primarily for children grades 3 - 12, but is certainly usable for adults as well. The graphics are slick, and the package looks well put together. You can import and save MIDI files. There are no software demos to download, but an online Flash and MPG video demonstrations can be viewed. You can also subscribe to On-Line services for one-on-one or group lessons over the Internet. While a good, hands-on piano teacher is certainly preferred, this may be a good solution for those living in remote areas (although with Internet service) or if you absolutely can't find a teacher in your area.
The video demonstrates one of the neat capabilities of Piano Suite. When you get to the point where you can play written music, you follow along the notes displayed on the screen. You can use the "wait for note" method that doesn't force you to keep going if you have hit a wrong note. That is, if you hit a wrong note, a small "x" appears on the screen showing if you hit a too high or too low note, and won't "go on" until you've hit the right note. You can also use the the "notes and timing" method that uses a metronome along with the song, that encourages you to keep up with the timing of the song. Base price is $89.95, or $199.95 with an M-Audio USB keyboard (M-Audio keyboards are pretty decent)
Children's Music Journey is a three volume set, which offers animated interactive lessons with games and songs, and is designed for children ages 4-8. It provides lessons to play piano, read music, compose, and improvise music. There are 5 sections to the program: the lesson room, the practice room, games, the improv room, and the reference room with songs and theory. While no demo is available, you can watch a video and download the manual online. Prices are $59.95 for each volume, and bundles of all three volumes or with a MIDI keyboard are available.
Ear Training Coach is available in two volumes at $34.95 each.
MusIQ.is a musical strategy game. $59.95
You can download manuals, extra MIDI files and more at the Adventus Interactive website.
Aha Software (Family Games Freeware)
NoteCard

http://www.familygames.com

http://aheadwithmusic.com
Win95-Vista
Aha Notecard
(Click for Screenshots)
Aha Software primarily designs non-violent children's shareware games. They also provide some freeware geography tutors, and a nice note drill program called Notecard.
Notecard
3.1 allows for use with a MIDI keyboard for note entry, or you can use the on-screen keyboard if you don't have a MIDI keyboard. Includes both Piano and Guitar Fretboard screens (7 and 12 strings). It is primarily designed to help you learn the notes of the piano or guitar. It is available in both free and paid versions. The paid version adds audio playback of notes, sharps and flats, record keeping for up to three users, and includes an adaptive testing algorithm.Can be set to treble, bass, alto, or tenor clefs. Good, uncluttered interface. Freeware or $19.75
AJF Enterprises
Piano is Fun
http://www.pianoisfun.com
Win98-Vista
Piano Is Fun
(Click for Screenshots)
Piano Is Fun.by Dr. Anthony Fernando. This children's program teaches the staff, treble and bass clefs, and note names. Progress reports and graphical rewards are used to provide incentive. Program supports up to 50 students. A demonstration program is available. 20 lessons & games for the child beginner in the Treble and Bass Clef. Features Toppy the top-hatted musical note. Provides instruction, not just drill. Introduces the staff, the Treble and Bass clefs, the note names (uses correct symbols) Practice games show the answer after a few seconds. Graduation games don't reveal the answer. Progress page gives stars and awards depending on the level achieved. Lessons 1-4: note names of treble clef. Lessons 5-9 keyboard positions of Treble Clef. Lessons 10-13 teach note names Bass Clef. Lessons 14-18 keyboard positions of Bass Clef. 19-20 Grand Staff. Create custom lessons. Ends with Gold Medallion challenge. Piano Is Fun does not support use of a MIDI keyboard. $29.95.
I recommend you try it out since Piano Is Fun does not have the depth of some of the other products, although the price is fairly low.While I didn't find any links from the main page, you can go to http://www.pianoisfun.com/download/ and download a single-page PDF brochure for the program and a "puzzles.exe" file that expands to music-related crosswords, connect the dots, mazes, and word search PDF games you can print and hand out to your children (not for commercial use).
Alfred Publishing
Essentials of Music Theory;
Teach Yourself to Play Piano;
Alfred's Interactive Musician;
Theory Games
http://www.alfred.com
Windows

MacIntosh
Essentials of Music Theory
(Click for Screenshots)
Alfred Publishing is a large publishing company for sheet music books, piano methods, and also some software products.
Essentials of Music Theory (EMT) provides a basic course in music theory with 75 lessons. It runs in a 640x480 screen, and features a pleasant female voice, computer animiation, and can utilize MIDI on selected screens, though MIDI use is minimal. The format provides animated instruction with music samples, and each lesson is followed by an interactive test for the student. Using EMT is sort of like watching a PowerPoint presentation with a soundtrack, with the additional feature of providing some interaction with the student for tests. It is designed for the older student (ages 10 - adult). An online video demonstration is available, and you can request a demo disk from the company (no download available). Costs are about $30 for each volume or $60 for all three. Educational institution editions are also available. I have this and find it well done, although not all that exciting. I haven't gone through it all yet, so cannot comment on effectiveness or thoroughness.
 Teach Yourself to Play Piano (Windows/MAC): Oriented toward video instruction for playing the piano. Deluxe includes Interactive song player, videos, ear training, and bonus games. I believe MIDI is supported. Cost is about $30.
Alfred's Interactive Musician provides Pitch, Rhythm, and Sight Reading training. A download demo is available. Price is about $40. Education Institution and Network versions are also available.
Theory Games for Windows/MAC has been updated since the old Windows 3.1 version, and now features new graphics and games (well, new as of 2006). It is designed for children ages 7 and up. No demo is available, but screen shots are on the web site. No piano/instrument instruction is provided. Games are a test of knowledge and were designed to accompany Alfred's Basic Piano Library for ages 7 & up. If you buy this, be sure you are ordering the updated version! About $20 each.
Some older demos can be found at: http://www.alfred.com/sub_software/nmdemos.html (note that these don't reflect the current software for sale).
ARC Media
Easy Piano;
Piano for Kids
http://www.selectsoft.com/titles/arcmedia
http://www.selectsoftnow.com

Win98-XP
Easy Piano
(Click for Screenshots)
Arc Media was acquired by Selectsoft Publishing as announced on May 10th, 2004. Selectsoft programs seem to be found in the "bargain" areas of software stores and are packaged in jewel cases. You can also download Easy Piano from the SelectNow website, though Piano for Kids is only available on CD-ROM.
Easy Piano
is stated to provide "Step-by-step video lessons; Print chords and tunes; Complete guide to reading music; Learn about piano history & famous players". You can download a demo, which I would recommend as I can't say I was very impressed with the level of instruction. I found the beginner lessons jumping in too quickly in some of the subject areas, and the text instruction is pretty limited. The demo has about 30 videos included, and I believe this is all there is. There is no MIDI support.
Piano for Kids: with Professor Rhythm and his staff, is a children's program by Superstart Music. It uses well known tunes and printable sheet music, and provides an introduction to basic music theory through puzzles, games and exercises and uses a touch and click on-screen piano. There is no MIDI support.
Both programs are available at SelectNow for about $10. A downloadable demo of Easy Piano is also available, which operates for 30 minutes; screenshots of Piano for Kids can be seen at the website.
Ars Nova
Practica Musica
http://www.ars-nova.com

MAC 9.1 - OSX
Win2K-
Vista
Practica Musica
(Click for Screenshots)
Ars Nova develops Practica Musica, a music theory and ear training program for the advanced student. Uses a music notation engine for interactive sessions. Includes real-time rhythm tapping. MIDI compatible but does not require MIDI. It appears from the website that most of the theory is in a written book, while the software program concentrates on Ear Training and lets you set up exercises to implement that theory. While no downloadable demos are available, instructional movies on the operation of Practica Musica can be viewed online. Available in Standard or Site Editions (any number of students) $100 standard edition, and can be downloaded.
Charanga
Piano Coach Deluxe
http://www.musiccoach.com
Win98-Vista
Charanga Music Coach
(Click for Screenshots)
From the Charanga website: "Piano Coach Deluxe uses video and interactive software to let you learn at your own pace as your computer guides you through easy-to-follow in-depth lessons..." Piano Coach Deluxe provides music theory and piano instruction using a multimedia experience. It provides text to read (no vocal soundtrack), videos for selected lessons, and a neat, interactive keyboard that plays music appropriate for each lesson. The keyboard music includes several channels that can be toggled on or off: a metronome rhythm, background music, and the piano sounds. Software can be used with a MIDI keyboard. Music Coach is available as an entire package or you can download the free player and purchase individual downloadable lessons. Package is about $48 (US), Individual lesson downloads about $13. Music Coach is also available from TOPICS Entertainment as "Instant Play Piano Deluxe". I own the TOPICS version and it runs fine in Windows XP. I haven't used it too much yet, but like the interactive electronic keyboard feature. Also, Music Coach has you playing "songs" almost right away to make the lessons more interesting.
David Bagno
Music Note Teacher;
Musical Space Invaders
http://davidbagno.com
Macintosh

Windows
David Bagno
(Click for Screenshots)
David Bagno has written several games to drill music notes using a MIDI keyboard or the computer mouse, and has versions for both Windows and Macintosh. While the programs are not real inexpensive (at $25 each), the gameplay is good and they actually have instructional value, unlike some other "music games" that I've seen. See the website for a full list of programs. Some examples include:
Sight Reading Studio: (Mac only) evaluates your ability to play back a random musical phrase on the MIDI keyboard. $50
Music Note Teacher (PC only): a Treble and Bass Clef note drill program works with MIDI keyboard or on screen using mouse. Note range can be adjusted; print functions. $15
Musical Space Invaders (Win/Mac): Shoot the notes by hitting the appropriate key. Works with MIDI keyboard, adjustable levels of difficulty. $25
Dolphin Don
Dolphin Don's Music School
http://www.dolphindon.com
WinXP-7
Dolphin Don
(Click for Screenshots)
From the Don Bowyer's website: "Dolphin Don's Music School is a set of thirteen educational music games suitable for ages 6 and up.  These games teach ear-training and reading of notes, rhythms, key signatures, intervals, and chords – from absolute beginning through college-level material.  Effective for individual or classroom use, the program keeps track of personal scores for an unlimited number of players." Covers Treble, Bass, Alto, and Tenor Clefs and lets you select your instrument of choice so that your lessons start out appropriately. The first time I played I was surprised to hear Dolphin Don's voice as I was expecting a high pitched voice. Rather, Dolphin Don speaks in a low, gruff voice. In the current version, you can choose from three voices, but all sound like the same person making his voice either low, high-pitched, or "falsetto" (the voice of Donna certainly doesn't sound female to me!). The program supports multiple student logins so each child can progress at their own pace, and you can also compete against other students. The graphics are simple. The learn mode is fairly simplistic, with the student clicking on a note name, for example, and Dolphin Don showing where that note is on the staff. The level of instruction is very minimal. The games provide drill practice to help you remember note values, intervals, and so forth. As you play a game, Dolphin Don will make a remark after each right or wrong answer, such as "sweet", "That's the ticket, baby", "yea yea yea yea yea!", "go beans jellybean", "you'll get the next one", "where's your head", and so forth, which I found quite irritating. While you can turn voices off, in some screens it also mutes other important sounds, such as the note that plays. The game progresses slowly, offering 3 notes in treble clef, then 3 in bass clef, moving up to 5 notes in each and so on. In the game area, you need a score of at least 90 to move on to the next lesson. There is no support for using a MIDI keyboard. I would recommend trying out the demo (35Megs!) before buying this program. $39.95
ECS (Electronic Courseware Systems)
(various - see text)
http://www.ecsmedia.com
Mac OS8.5 - OS X

Win98-XP
ECS
(Click for Screenshots)
ECS produces a large number of music education software programs designed (and priced) primarily for the classroom environment with progress reports and student record management, intended for grades K-8. Most of the demonstrations I viewed used simple graphics, likely to ensure compatibility for older PCs found in some schools. Each program seems to do its job, but for the home user the presentation is lacking and the pricing for combining multiple packages would get quite high. I would recommend checking out the demos if a particular program seems to fit your need. Some sample programs are listed below, and some do support MIDI keyboards. See the website for the complete list:
Elements of Music: Entry level drills for major/minor key signatures and naming notes from Staff or keyboard. $80 single station
Functional Harmony: Practice basic chord analysis, diatonic 7th chords, secondary dominants, and more. $150 single station
Music Flash Cards: Drill and practice format w/nine lessons. $99.95 single station
Early Keyboard Skills: Teaches keyboard positions. $40 single station
Musique: Complete curriculum of self-paced exercises. Supports MIDI. $595 single station
eMedia
Piano & Keyboard Method;
eMedia Piano For Dummies;
My Piano
http://www.emediamusic.com

Mac OS-X

WinXP-7
eMedia
(Click for Screenshots)
eMedia offers several packages, all based on a similar look & feel package.
Piano & Keyboard Method has over 300 step-by-step lessons starting from basics such as hand position, rhythm and playing on black keys, and moving on to music notation, sight reading, scales and more. Features over 70 teaching videos by instructor Irma Irene Justicia, M.A.The program works best with a MIDI keyboard, though one is not necessary. An on-screen animated piano shows active keys. Music scores inlcude Guitar Chords in case a friend who is learning Guitar wants to play along. In the soundtracks, you can toggle piano only, voice only, or the full soundtrack. When you play back a song, the coaching tool provides interactive feedback with messages such as, "Held too long" or "played to late" pointing to the note that played incorrectly, and the animated keyboard will show what notes should have been played. Also features variable MIDI speed so you can play at your own rate, a metronome, and digital recorder. Piano and Keyboard Method seems to be a very well-rounded program at a reasonable price of $59.95. It is also available in an Academic version for schools. A downloadable demo of version one is available, although the program is now up to version 2. Version 2 has larger screen size, among other improvements. Also, note that the demo is more of a multimedia presentation of the program. You can also purchase a bundle package with MIDI Keyboard for $149.95 (website does not specify the brand of Keyboard).
Intermediate Piano & Keyboard Method offers 158 lessons for the more advanced student. It features over 50 videos by Vadim Gihn, M.A., and uses a similar interface to the basic package.$59.95
eMedia Piano For Dummies: Instruction in the "for Dummies" approach, utilizing a similar interface to the Piano and Keyboard Method package. It appears (based on information on the company's web pages) that Piano for Dummies provides the 1st half of the Piano & Keyboard Method lessons. $29.95
My Piano is children's learning software that features an animated character named Pam the Piano, and leads younger learners through over 100 lessons by Irma Irene Justicia, M.A. $29.95 or $129.95 with keyboard.
eMusicTheory
eMusicTheory Software
http://www.emusictheory.com
MAC-Any
Win-Any
eMusicTheory
(Click for Screenshots)
eMusicTheory provides a nice collection of online JAVA based drill software (so will even work in Linux). eMusicTheory has tons of free on-line drills, and now you can download the JAVA application to use off-line with your own MIDI keyboard. Includes drills for music theory, piano, guitar, cello, and more. Note that this does not provide instruction, but is a tool to help you practice what you have learned. The drills that I tried were all clear and straightforward. Free to use online, or $12 to download for use off-line.
Happy Note Software
Play It By Ear;
Treble & Bass Clef;
Sing 'n Learn
http://www.happynote.com
Win95-Vista
Happy Note
(Click for Screenshots)
Happy Note Software of France produces the Sing 'n Learn drill program to help you learn to read music. They also offer some additional shareware and freeware music games to help you practice what you've learned. There is no MIDI keyboard support for any of these programs.
Sing 'n Learn is the main product, and teaches note recognition using 64 note readings in Bass and Treble Clef. It is a web-browser based drill program that shows a staff with indicated notes, and allows you to play a MIDI tune, with which you are to sing or say the notes as they play. An on-line or downloadable demo is also available. $19.95
Sheet Music Treble and Bass Clef
is a music notes game to help you practice what you've learned, and was designed to go with Sing 'n Learn. The notes on the staff scroll from right to left, and you need to adjust the "shooter" at the bottom of the screen so it reflects the proper note (using the up and down arrow keys), and then shoot the note using the space bar before it leaves the left side of the screen. Avoid the bombs! You can adjust speed, music & sound, and so forth. Looks like a decent game for note recognition.$34.95 with Sing 'n Learn. 5 note demo available.
Play it By Ear is a game for Ear Training and provides for  note recognition. In this game, you press the space bar to hear a note, and then click on the appropriate note on the scale. An animal will pop up when you get it right, and you get bonus points for clicking on the animal before it leaves the screen. $34.95 with Sing 'n Learn. 5 note demo available.
Music Notes in Space
is an shoot-em-up arcade game to learn note durations. Use the arrow keys to set the spaceship to the proper note length (quarter, half, whole note) and then shoot the corresponding notes. Freeware.
Free Tetris HN is a Tetris-like game to teach the notes in the Treble Clef. A small staff with a note falls from the top of the screen, and you need to direct the note to the proper note along the bottom while avoiding the bombs. Freeware.
Breakout Note Cracker is a "Breakout" type game where you have to keep a ball bouncing around the upper screen without it falling off the bottom of the screen. You move the elephant across the bottom of the screen to keep the ball in the "air". Each screen is populated with different types of rests (such as a whole or half rest) to help you become familiar with what it looks like on the staff. Freeware.
All can be downloaded and tried before you buy, which I would recommend as the prices are not that cheap (in my opinion) for what you get. Package of Sing 'n Learn, Sheet Music, and Play it By Ear is $44.95
Harmonic Vision
Music Ace
http://www.harmonicvision.com
MAC OS-9
OS-X

Win98-Vista
Music Ace
(Click for Screenshots)
Harmonic Vision develops the Music Ace programs. These programs look very good for teaching young children (grades 1-8), and could even be used by adults if you don't mind the cartoon professor. The professor speaks to you, and the note characters are cute. The notes do not have stems, however, and rhythm isn't taught until the 2nd program. Demos are available for download and are well done. MIDI Keyboards are supported but are not necessary. Music Ace Maestro is designed for the school environment and allows teachers to track many students and for the software to operate on a LAN.
I purchased Music Ace Deluxe for our own family and can recommend it.
Music Ace: 24 lessons on staff & keyboard, pitch, note reading, sharps & flats, games, etc. $49.95
Music Ace 2: 24 lessons: Rhythms, Key Signatures, syncopation, melodies, harmony, intro to ear training. $49.95
Music Ace Deluxe: combines 1 & 2 $79.95
Music Ace Maestro: combines 1 & 2 with Student Management. $128 stand alone, and network pricing is available.
Interactive Digital Design International
Quickstart Piano;
Quickstart Music Mentor;
MyPiano Teacher;
I Read Music With Music Theory
http://www.midisoft.com

MAC

Win
Midisoft
(Sorry, no Screenshots)
Note: As of Oct 2009, the Midisoft.com site seems a bit "broken". Links to the old Interactive Digital Design International bring up a site in a foreign language and that apparently has nothing to do with music software. Also, there are no direct links to purchase any software. I don't know if this is merely temporary and will update this page if anything changes.
MyPiano Teacher: Features Singer/Songwriter Danya River. Designed for ages 12-70, interactive with MIDI keyboard, Flash based animations.Can be bundled with keyboard.
Quickstart Piano: piano tutor with 40 MIDI songs (seems to be playing focused, not theory) $40
Quickstart Music Mentor: Music Theory tutorial geared toward the older student. Includes lessons on: melody, harmony, scales, chords, music reading, timbre, rhythm, history, more. $30
I Read Music With Music Theory: 2 CDs with music, theory, and 10 games. $30
Metronimo
(various - see text)
http://www.metronimo.com
Win95-Vista
Metronimo
(Click for Screenshots)
Metronimo by David Graton is a French company offering music related Shareware and Freeware programs. These programs lean more toward drill with little or no tutoring. The programming is decent, and the programs would be useful for drilling basic note and rhythm facts. The programs cost about $33 US each (depending on exchange rates), which in my opinion is a bit high compared to complete tutor programs like Music Ace. There are a couple of free games as well (Minitetronimo & Musical Instruments). As of version 2, MIDI is now supported in Pianonimo. I would recommend trying the demos before buying.
Metronimo Music Theory: Presents music theory drills for the treble and bass clef, music symbols, key signatures. The basic game is clicking the letter that corresponds with the staff notes. The 2nd game style is a drag and drop matching game.
Pianonimo: A piano/note drill for Treble & Bass Clef with 6 games and MIDI keyboard support. Probably the best value of the lot.
Rhythmonimo: game software to learn rhythm
Book of Composers: Hangman style game to guess composers from a set of clues. Includes 104 composers and their music. In French only!
Metronimo Quiz: Over 600 questions about music history and terminology for 1, 2, or 3 players (in French only).
Tetronimo: Advanced music "Tetris" type game. Drills Treble, Bass, Baritone, Soprano, Mezzosoprano, Alto, and Tenor clefs. Move the falling staff notes to their corresponding value at the bottom. For one or two players.
Mini-Tetronimo: move falling notes to proper note name box (free)
Musical Instruments: Drag and drop the correct instrument over the sound (free)
MiBAC Music Software
Music Lessons I Fundamentals;
Music Lessons II Chords and Harmony
http://www.mibac.com
MAX OS-X

Win98-Vista
MiBac Music Lessons
(Click for Screenshots)
MiBAC produces music education software for the older student going up to college level music theory. Demonstration versions are available. Compare with Rising Software's Musition 2. Downloadable versions are available at reduced cost. The MiBAC support section has a nice explanation of how to connect your MIDI equipment to your PC, and an online music theory tutorial.
Music Lessons I Fundamentals: Eleven drills in treble, bass, or alto clefs. Note Reading, Circle of Fifths, Key Signatures, Major/Minor Scales, Modes, Jazz Scales, Scale Degrees, Intervals, Note/Rest Durations, Scales/Modes/Jazz Scales Ear Training, and Intervals Ear Training. Use of a MIDI keyboard is supported. $119 or $99 download Windows ($149/123 Mac)
Music Lessons II Chords and Harmony: Studies Chord Elements, Triads, Triads Ear Training, Seventh Chords w/ear training, and Roman Numeral Chord ID. It develops visual recognition, written notation, Piano/Guitar skills, and ear training. $149 or $123 download (Mac or Win)
Northern Lights Technology
MusicMastery
http://www.musicmastery.com
MAX OS7 or OSX

Win95-XP
Music Mastery
(Click for Screenshots)
Northern Lights Technology's help file for Music Mastery states, "MusicMastery is a comprehensive music learning and composition system for music enthusiasts from beginning students to professionals. MusicMastery helps students learn music by associating written notes with the notes they hear just as children learn to read by associating written words with the words they hear and speak. With MusicMastery, accomplished musicians can fluidly compose, play-in notes and chords, let MusicMastery play them back, and revise as they hear their music." The program features three modes: Composition allows you to create music on the staff lines, and the music scrolls as it plays. In Sheet view, the music is displayed as an entire sheet of music. In Lesson view, you can take various lessons in music covering rhythm, melody, and pitch. The main idea behind the program seems to be that as the student creates her own musical scores, she will become more familiar with the notes. The program provides drills, music printout, and MIDI keyboard support, and does not include games. There is also support for school settings with LAN support and multiple students. $59.95 or Site License $299. A downloadable demo is available.
MusicWare/Town4Kids
MiDisaurus Music
http://www.town4kids.com
MAX OS-X

WinXP
Midisaurus
(Click for Screenshots)
Town4Kids produces the MiDisaurus line of music theory education products used to be available in 12 volumes to the consumer. It appears now that the program is only available as a yearly subscription service and is designed for classroom use (either government school or private teacher use). It is designed for young children (pre-school through 4th Grade) and uses cute dinosaur characters. The dinosaur character have child-like voices and the lessons are presented at a pace for young children. For this reason, MiDisaurus would likely be too irritating for an adult to use. I purchased this for my own children and couldn't stand to use it myself (as opposed to Music Ace, which is quite bearable). A MIDI keyboard can be used to enhance learning. The lessons cover a wide range. The subscription prices are $99.95 per year Private Teacher; $199.95 per year Government School version.
PG Music
Band In A Box;
Beginner Piano Masterclass Vol 1;
Jazz Piano Masterclass
http://www.pgmusic.com
MAC OS9 - OSX

Win98-Vista
PG Music Piano Master Class
(Click for Screenshots)
PG Music makes the famous Band In A Box software, which I have seen referenced many times by educators for classroom use. Band In a Box is not music theory, but a tool for creating music. PG Music also makes Beginner Piano and Jazz Piano Masterclass software. There are no demos of these programs available. They seem to be more video instruction rather than interactive software programs.
Band In A Box: automatically generates a complete professional quality arrangement of piano, bass, drums, guitar and strings in a wide variety of popular styles. Prices start at $129 and go up to $669 for an UltraPlus Pak.
Beginner Piano Masterclass Vol 1. 10 lessons, 3 hours video instruction by Miles Black. Reading music, scales, triads, comping, improv, more $29
Jazz & Blues Piano Masterclass. $29 each, $49 set.
Pianist Performance Series: Modern Jazz, Latin, Blues, New Age $49 each
Master Solo Series: Blues $49
Pianomouse
Pianomouse series
http://www.pianomouse.com
MAC OS 8.1-9.1

Win95-XP
Piano Mouse
(Click for Screenshots)
Pianomouse is made (or distributed) by ECS Media (see above), but it has its own website so was left as a stand alone entry. This program presents some games for young children to play to introduce them to music. Some on-line demo games can be played at the website. The games that can be played on-line seem rather shallow, so it is not clear if the games on the CD are in more depth or not. Although the Pianomouse programs are not as in-depth as MiDisaurus and MusicAce, the programs are inexpensive and the graphics are well done. Prices are $19.99 each, or all three can be purchased as a package for $54.97
Pianomouse Goes to Pre-School: 12 games such as Musical ABCs, and Instrument Parade.
Pianomouse Music Theory FUNdamentals: 16 lessons & games for ages 6-12. Keyboard, pitch, musical alphabet, treble/bass clef notes, note and rest values, time signature/counting, sharps flats and naturals, enharmonic notes, half/whole steps, 5 finger pattern.
Pianomouse Meets the Great Composers Volume 1: history and games
Pianosoft
Musical Notes Preschool;
Piano Fingers Test & Exercise;
Step By Step Note Teacher
http://www.pianosoft-europe.com

Win95-Vista
Pianosoft
(Click for Screenshots)
Pianosoft makes several shareware programs for children's music education.
Musical Notes Preschool: a match game with "B for Bear" and note associations.$14.90
Piano Fingers Test & Exercise: Finger training. Hit the keys as the picture comes up. $14.90
Step By Step Note Teacher: A note drill program. $24.90
Music Wizard
Piano Wizard
http://www.pianowizard.com

MAC OS-X

Win98-XP
Piano Wizard
(Click for Screenshots)
Music Wizard's Piano Wizard provides a unique approach to learning to play the piano. It is designed primarily for younger learners, although students of any age can use the program. The main program works in four stages and starts off with a game and color coded keys on your MIDI keyboard. In stage 1, you simply press the appropriate colored key on the keyboard as the notes cross the on-screen keyboard. In stage 2, the horizontal keyboard is moved vertically, and the gameplay works the same. In Stage 2, the student is getting used to the positioning of the notes on the staff, and you can even replace the background image with a staff. In Stage 3, the "eggs" are replaced with colored notes, and the student begins recognizing actual notes with their position on the keyboard. In Stage 4, the colored notes are replaced with traditional black notes to complete the note-to-key recognition. Stage 5 is for advanced students and change from the Piano Wizard game to a set of instructional DVDs. There were no demos of the DVD instruction, which is quite expensive. The unique 4-Step approach sounds interesting, and I do wonder how well it really works in helping students learn the piano. I've never tried the system, but it looks clever and does teach real music theory so is not just a "play by number" type system. Available in several packages starting at $49.95 for the Easy Mode Software $49.95, and $99.95 for the Premier software. The Academy Package with DVDs is $549.95. Packages with MIDI keyboards or a MIDI interface for use with your own keyboard are also available. No downloadable demo, but video demos and online game demos can be found at the website.
Rising Software
Musition 2
http://www.risingsoftware.com
Max 7.6 OS-X

Win95-Vista
Rising Software Musition
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Rising Software creates two programs, Musition for music theory, and Auralia for Ear Training. (Note: Musition is only available for Windows. Auralia is available for both Macs and Windows). The Rising Software Website states, "Musition 2 is a comprehensive music theory and fundamentals package for music students of all ages and abilities. Musition's interactive teaching makes learning music theory fun and easy. The structured drills and instant feedback create a stimulating learning environment, enabling students to achieve their maximum potential. Complete with 25 topics and sophisticated record keeping features..."
Musition provides lessons in the form of textual screens that provide the basic information. You can then drill yourself on the concepts learned through the interactive exercises. A MIDI keyboard is supported. A 58Meg demo version is available for download. Seems to compare well with MiBAC's Music Lessons I/II (see above). $99 Student version. Professional, Academic versions available at higher cost.
Rising Software also makes the Auralia Ear Training program for $99 (Student edition)
Sibelius Software
Groovy Music
http://www.sibelius.com

Max OSX 10

Win 98-XP
Sibelius
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Sibelius Software is probably best known for their Compositioin and Music Notation Software, but they also make software for teaching children called Groovy Music. Groovy Music is a set of three volumes designed for children in grades K-6, with each volume progressing through later grades. Groovy Shapes is for ages 5 and up, Groovy Jungle ages 7 and up, and Groovy City for ages 9 and up. Lessons teach the basics of sound, rhythm, pitch and composition, and progress through simple notation and major and minor scales. Each program includes two modes: Create or Explore. In Explore mode, audio instruction is provided, followed by interactive exercises. In Create mode, a graphical sequencer is provided so that students can create their own songs, which can be saved as MIDI songs. Provides interaction with MIDI keyboards. $69 each, or $175.95 triple pack.
Take Note Publishing
C.A.T.S.
http://www.takenotepublishing.co.uk/cats/
Win95-Vista
Takenote CATS
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Take Note's Computer Aided Theory Skills (C.A.T.S.) is designed to teach and test music theory up through grade five. Volume 1 covers Beginner to Grade 2, and Volume 2 is Grades 3-5. Each volume is broken up into Learn and Test sections. CATS teaches Notes & Rests, Pitches, Intervals, Triads and Chords, Scales, Symbols and ornaments, Musical Terms, Key Signatures, Time Signatures, and more. The graphics used are very simple, and no demo is aviailable. The last update of the program appears to have been in 2005. Volume 1 $27; Volume 2 $45; 2 volume set $64.
Timewarp Technologies
Home Concert Xtreme
http://www.timewarptech.com
Mac OS-10 OS-X

Win98-7
Home Concert
(Click for Screenshots)
Timewarp Technologies makes Home Concert Xtreme, which is a clever program that lets you load any MIDI song and display one or two tracks to a notation display. You can then play the MIDI song, and the software can either determine your location, tempo, and dynamic expression; musically coordinate the accompaniment tracks to match your playing; or "turn your pages" intelligently. It has Learn, Jam, or Perform modes. In Learn mode, you can't move forward in the song until you play the right notes. Jam mode always moves forward. In Perform mode, the song will very depending on your tempo and dynamics. The video demo is really neat! $99.95
Timewarp Tech also makes Classroom Maestro and Internet MIDI programs.
Treblis Software
Rudiments 2.1
http://www.treblis.com
Win95-2K
Treblis
(Click for Screenshots)
Treblis Software's Rudiments 2.1 is a drill program that helps teach rudimentary music theory including preliminary, grade 1, and grade 2 (meaining Intermediate - College level students). A 30-day version can be downloaded. Designed for schools with an Ensemble student database. Rudiments 2.1 seems to have been last updated in 2003! $80 for 1 user license
Treblis also makes Ear Training 1.3 software.