What is the Piano Wizard Academy?
The Piano Wizard Academy is a program on the computer that teaches individuals how to play the piano on a midi attached keyboard. The program runs like a game making it fun to play and learn. The program plays a song and students are required to press the corresponding keys on the attached keyboard at the right time.
How does the Piano Wizard Academy Work?
The Piano Wizard Academy uses a four-step system to teach children how to play the piano.
The program begins with game play that is based on objects and colors rather than notes and keys. A matching colour-code system on the piano keys is matched to the representation of the same colour-coded keyboard at the top of the screen. When a song begins, color-coded objects such as circles, dinosaur eggs, stars or whatever background you choose will scroll from the bottom to the top of the screen. The color of the object corresponds with the color of the key to press. When the object reaches the top of the screen, it scrolls over one of the color-coded keys. Your goal as a player is to press the same key on your keyboard at the exact moment that the object passes over the on-screen key. When you press the right keys at the right time in the right sequence, you’ll be playing a song.
This is the most basic lesson of Piano Wizard: pitch and timing. Pitch is the frequency of a sound as perceived by the ear. In music theory, we give names to each pitch: a, b, c, d, d-flat, f-sharp and so on. By playing Piano Wizard, you won’t learn the names of note yet, but you’ll become familiar with the idea that different keys produce different pitches or sounds. The student immediately recognizes music in its’ simplest form – playing the right note at the right time.
In this next level of the program, the on-screen keyboard rotates to the left side of the screen. Now the objects scroll from right to left instead of from bottom to top. This is a little trickier to master, because the player’s keyboard is still oriented horizontally, but the on-screen keyboard is vertical. But with this vertical orientation, the colour-coded objects look more like real notes on a musical staff.
In music notation, notes with a higher pitch are higher on the staff. Likewise, in this step of Piano Wizard, notes with a higher pitch are higher up on the screen. Whether the player realizes it or not, he or she’s starting to learn the basics of reading music. They are actually reading sheet music but don’t know it until it is revealed in the next step.
Once step 2 has been mastered, the next step converts the colour-coded objects to musical notes on a real staff. Notes and rhythm become second nature. Now the transition to reading music is almost complete.
The colour of the note is still its most important characteristic as far as the player is concerned but now the student is also becoming comfortable with the look of musical notes on the staff in all of their variations and lengths — whole notes, quarter notes, eighth notes, sharps and flats.
The final step of the program converts the colored notes to black on a musical staff. This final transition takes the player from reading coloured notes to reading actual musical notation – the student is now playing and reading real music. At this point, the student reads notes exactly how they would be written on a piece of sheet music. The only difference is that the notes continue to scroll across the screen.
A student that has graduated from The Piano Wizard Academy can then move on to a real piano and play music from the sheet music provided. This is where the true strength of the Piano Wizard Academy is found – moving from digital keyboard to the piano with the “Art of Music”:
- Reading Music
Sample Lesson from the Piano Wizard Academy:
Review of the Piano Wizard Academy
Thoughts about the Piano Wizard Academy from Scott Houston – the Piano Guy:
Can Children Really Learn Piano with the Piano Wizard Academy?
What’s in the Piano Wizard Academy?
- Quickstart DVD
- The software program
- Easy mode – 100 song curriculum
- Premier mode – 100 more songs
- Colour-coded keyboard stickers which are washable and removable
- Star sticker rewards
- Professional full size 4 Octave keyboard (with USB cable) – optional
- 50 video lessons on 10 DVDs
- 5 song books with 10 songs on each book
*Image source: Piano Wizard Academy