Friday, September 2, 2011

Piano Lessons - Games to Keep it Fun While You Learn

My wife is a piano teacher and has been for quite some time. Her students are mostly children, though some of them are much older (such as myself), so she tries to make learning to play the piano as fun as possible. Her main focus is trying to incorporate into her piano lessons games that will keep her students in practice and still keep them excited.

Learning the piano isn't like it used to be in the old days. To be honest, the idea of sitting in a room with nothing but a metronome, a song book, and a piano sounds terribly boring. But with the computer age in full swing there are more and more "piano lessons" games and software packages offering ways to improve your skills while keeping you entertained and having fun.

My favorite games, and the ones we share with our students right from the start, are the ones where you can try and beat your own high-score. I've never been a big fan of competition; it becomes too easy to give up because someone else is consistently doing better than you, but trying to beat my own best record really got me practicing. Nothing pushes a student to keep going like beating their old score and knowing that they can beat the new one too with just a little more playing.

There are two games that I call my favorites.

  • Jayde Musica Pro - This game is awesome for those of us who think reading music is complicated and boring. When talking about piano lessons, games like this just make it too easy. Notes fly across the screen and you do your best to identify them. The more you identify the higher your score (and within no time you know ALL the notes like the back of your hand!)
  • Chordinator - A multiple choice game that leads you along through the complicated mess of Chord notation. This game is great and, once again, lets your beat your own personal best.

I used to have some serious problems reading sheet music and it seemed that no matter how often my wife would remind me of what meant what, I still couldn't seem to remember it. The problem was that I spent too much time beating myself up for not understanding and that took all the fun out of it for me. The above games really fixed that.

Of course, now that I can read the sheet music all I really have to do is work on my timing. I looked all around the internet for a "metronome trainer" or something like it and finally found it in an online course called Rocket Piano. I was surprised to find that Rocket Piano offered Jayde Musica Pro and Chordinator. I told my wife about it right away and now we recommend the Rocket Piano course to all of our students so that they can practice at home. They've all said the same's so much fun! These piano lessons games are the absolute best, whether you're a student or even a teacher.

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