Some what to my disappointment, Gavin hasn’t been very motivated to learn music so we have not made much progress. Well, you can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make it drink…
After receiving a demo version of Soft Mozart (a computer program for learning how to play the piano that is very similar to the Piano Wizard), I decided to give it a go to see how Gavin took to it. Again, I received the same response from him, “I don’t feel like trying it now. Maybe later.” So I played the game in front of him and got him interested enough to give it a go, albeit a brief one.
The concepts behind Soft Mozart is pretty similar to Piano Wizard. Both teach children (or adults) how to play the piano through a game interface. Soft Mozart isn’t quite as polished as the Piano Wizard – it looks like a game developed from the days of the IBM 386 – but I think as far as the children are concerned, it’s program functionality that counts. The one main advantage Soft Mozart has over Piano Wizard is that the music pace moves according to your child’s pace. It gives your child a chance to figure out which key to press in his own time rather than forcing him to keep up with the music pace and feeling frustrated when he can’t get it right.
Unlike Piano Wizard, Soft Mozart has a variety of games that your child can play (some that don’t require a keyboard). You can download a trial version to try it out first. In case you are worried that your child won’t get to learn timing because the program moves according to his pace, there is a specific game on note duration – check it out below:
The other games include “Guess the Key”:
Treble Staff Puzzle and Bass Staff Puzzle:
and Fruit Lines:
The deluxe version of Soft Mozart costs $359 and comes with the following:
- CD with Soft Mozart software including
- Gentle Piano™ interactive software program to play and memorize songs with the electronic piano keyboard.
- 300+ popular classical and folk songs of all grades to practice.
- Computer games for learning piano and music reading: Note Alphabet, Treble Staff Puzzle, Base Staff Puzzle, Note Duration, Guess Key, Fruit Lines.
- Piano key stickers for Alphabetical and Do-Re-Mi note name systems.
- Alphabetical piano key guide, and Solfeggio piano key guide.
- Printed user manual.
Although it doesn’t come with teaching DVDs like the Piano Wizard does, they have plenty of lessons on Youtube you can watch. Soft Mozart doesn’t come with the hard copy music books either, but they do tell you where you can find them.
Personally, I feel that Piano Wizard is a more complete music package, but when it comes to suitability for young children, I think Soft Mozart is more appropriate just because it gives little kids time to think about which is the right key to press rather than forcing them to keep up with the pace set by the program. I think it is frustrating and demotivating for the kids if they are struggling to get it right.
Not having fully explored Soft Mozart, this is about all I can offer at the moment, however, if you would like a more in depth review of the program, I recommend reading the post at Learning with LM.
I should also add that one of the factors which tipped me towards Piano Wizard in the first place is no longer valid. When I first considered both programs, I noticed that the option to pay via Paypal was only available with Piano Wizard. I have since noticed that Soft Mozart also offers the option to pay via Paypal now. Unfortunately, it is a bit too late for us and since I’ve already spent the money on Piano Wizard, I’ll hang on to the program and wait until the kids are ready for it. Gareth is demonstrating a strong inclination for music and may take to the program a lot better than his brother. Unfortunately, he’s only 15 months right now and far too young for either program.