compiled by Doug (e-mail magicref
Last Update: Oct 2009 New!
|During my searching for new
Piano and Music Theory software, I became
aware of the many on-line piano courses and
video courses that can be downloaded or purchased to help you learn piano. There are also several on-line music theory websites out there.
A real live teacher is probably the best approach for learning piano, but finding a good teacher can sometimes be difficult, and
often expensive. Good piano software or a video instruction course can help fill in the blanks, or at least help you get started
if you can't find or afford a real teacher.
As mentioned on the Music Software page, some software that allows use with MIDI keyboards provides the great advantage of
real-time feedback. That is, it can help you with timing by detecting if you aren't playing the notes at the right speed. It can also,
of course, let you know when you've played the wrong note! To me, it seems the ability to have instant feedback between what you
are watching and playing and the keyboard is the biggest advantage of MIDI compatible music software.
However, there are times when you can't have a keyboard by your laptop, and there are only so many software programs available, and perhaps they don't meet all your needs.
This table lists SOME of the video courses I've come across on the Web that offer music instruction, as well as some of the on-line music theory sites that I've come across. I've tried to limit it to programs that teach some music theory as well as how to play. Some instruction programs just teach chords and patterns so you can play right away, but don't do much to teach you about music and reading music.
Also, as far as I know, none of the Video instruction courses are MIDI compatible. That is, you watch the video and play along on your own piano or keyboard. There is no interaction per-se.
Music-Instruction promotion comments. There are lots of
websites out there that I call "Web Info-Mercials". You can recognize
the format right away: a very long scrollable web page with all the
centered. They are usually written in a very "personal" style and offer
you $1000 worth of downloads for only $100. As you scroll down, there
are several bonuses offered if you will only buy now! I personally hate
style of advertising, but apparently it is very effective as I come
across these pages quite often, and several of the Piano courses listed
below use this style. I must note that just because someone uses this
approach to advertise doesn't mean the product isn't good. As with
anything you buy, just look at the bottom line and evaluate what you
are getting against the competition.
Another advertising gimmick is the use of "affiliates". An affiliate will advertise your software on their website, and if someone buys your software by clicking on a link on the affiliate web-site, then the affiliate gets a purchase bonus. Now, this doesn't mean an affiliate is doing this just for monetary gain. Often, they decide to become an affiliate because the have used your program and really like it and want to promote it. For example, Sunbelt-Software produces the VIPRE anti-virus program that I really like, and they recently began an affiliate program. I was tempted, but decided (for now! <grin>) to remain fully independent of these influences. In any case, I point this out just to make you aware that some of the "review" sites out there will rate affiliated programs quite highly, and it is sometimes difficult to tell if this is an objective review or if it is highly motivated by affiliation money bonuses.
|Ricci Adams MusicTheory.net site
is a free resource that has some very well done Flash lessons in music
theory. You can even download the entire site to you own computer.
|Learn and Master Piano
|The Learn and Master Series
provides instruction in Piano, Guitar, Drums, and more. The main
feature is a set of DVD instructional videos that provide lessons from
a seasoned professional. There are also supplementary CDs with songs to
play along with, instruction manuals to utilize, and on-line forums to
help you with questions. They promote very heavily with an affiliate
program so you'll find many so-called review sites that name them
number one, but despite the hype, they do look to be very good. The
list price is around $250 for the complete set, but a sale is
periodically run that offers $100 off, so be sure to wait until the
sale period to purchase. I do not own this, though have been tempted to
buy both the Guitar and Piano sets for my children.
|Learn Piano Online is taught by
Lisa Steeple and is provided in a series of PDF (or online) files, MP3
audio files, and videos. Teaches music theory and the samples I viewed
looked decent (please note that I'm not a piano instructor!). Plans
start at 3 Months for $39.99, 12 Months $69, or Lifetime $149.99. A
package with physical books and CD delivered to your home (with
lifetime online support) $189.99
|This program begins with the
Piano For Quitters video (90 minutes) and then moves on to the Piano
for Life Sequel (4.5 hours). Actual note reading is not introduced
until the sequel. This course is also available on OnDemand Cable
television! $17.95 Piano for Quitters; $59.95 Piano for Life. Free
shipping if you buy both.
|Another "info-mercial" style offering, Rocket Piano offers video and audio instruction by Ruth Searle in a downloadable package. The package contains videos you play on your computer, MP3 files, and e-books that you can read on your PC or print out. There are a few software programs included as well: Jayde Musica Pro, Chordinator and the Rocket Piano Metronome. (Although there is software included, the main instruction is video, so I included Rocket Piano on this page rather than the Music Software page). The entire package includes: three books, 133 sound files, 57 video lessons and three fun learning games. Price is low at $39.95 if you select the download version, or $199.95 if you want it mailed to you on CDs and DVDs and book format.|
|Gary Ewer's Easy Music Theory on
CD ROM features PDF and Video lessons. You can sample a set of free
lessons to see if his style meets your needs. $59 or $88.97 if you'd
also like a printed textbook.
Music Theory Web
|Teoria Music Theory Web offers
free tutorials, exercises, references, and articles on reading music,
intervals, scales, and more. Becoming a member for $20 allows you to
download the entire website to you own computer.
|The Lesson Room
|A free resource of "video
lessons, worksheets, articles, gear tips, & more." While The Lesson
Room doesn't provide a guided instruction set from beginner to
advanced, there will likely be many resources here you will find
valuable in your music lessons. Covers all instruments.