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eMedia Piano and Keyboard Method is a downloadable software package for helping you to learn piano. It’s designed for beginners, offering over 300 lessons, with step by step visuals which help you to develop over time. The site, eMediaMusic.com, also offers a wide range of other lessons for piano, plus other instruments, if you’re interested in developing and expanding your music skills.
This particular package is for beginners, and takes you from the most basic techniques, all the way to being able to play full songs. By the time you finish the lessons, you’ll be able to play tracks by Bob Dylan, Elton John and more, with songs covering classical, modern and everything in between.
The interface shows you music, with optional guitar chords if you’d like a friend to accompany you. You can also record your playing, which is a great way to share it with friends, or just to monitor your progress over time. The technology can identify your mistakes, helping you to correct your speed and note playing, producing reports which tell you how you should practice to improve.
If you need support, you simply click the “instructor” button, which provides instant feedback on where you might be going wrong. Many lessons and songs include videos where you can use a split screen function to watch the teacher’s hands as you play through the tunes.
Song looping options allow you to highlight particular segments of music and keep trying them without having to constantly rewind, which is great if you really can’t quite nail a particular movement. You can also track the music as it’s played, so you won’t lose your position if you need a break.
The system works on twelve key areas of piano playing, which include moving from single hand movements to using both hands together, various scales and arpeggios, plus teachings on music history.
eMedia Piano and Keyboard Method costs around $60 to download or to request the CD-ROM version. It works with Windows or Mac and has been highly rated with users. We’d like to see more online content, though, which would allow you to have more flexibility and to update lessons as you develop. It’s also not clear whether this software can be used in direct connection to your keyboard, or whether it relies on your computer’s mic to pick up on your playing, which could incur some error depending on the quality of your equipment.
If you own a previous version of eMediaMusic’s keyboard and piano lessons, you can upgrade to 3.0 for around $20, which adds value to any version you purchase as it means upgrades come with a significant discount. Piano and Keyboard Method might not seem like the most technologically innovative system, nor does it have the most songs and worksheets to support you, but it does seem to do a good job and has a strong following, making it a viable option for any beginner hoping to improve their keyboard skills.
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