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Can Kids Learn Piano on Computer?

Updated on April 8, 2016
VirginiaLynne profile image

VirginiaLynne is a mother of five. She writes about parenting, crafts and games for children, family fun, and Christian ministry ideas.

Our Experience using Piano Teaching Software

We decided to try. Since we have 5 kids, we knew that giving them all weekly piano lessons was going to be too much for our budget. Moreover, we were leery of spending a lot of money to just give them an introduction to piano. What if they ended up like so many other adults who still can't play? Or what if after investing a lot of time and money, they decided they wanted to learn guitar?

After learning the piano that had been given to us by a friend was costing more to tune than it was worth, we begged a local charity to take it off our hands. For less than the cost of keeping that piano in tune, we purchased what we needed to start our kids learning to play the piano with computer software:

Music Ace

Music Learning Programs Reviewed

Music Ace I (reading music)

Music Ace II (reading music games and rhythm)

eMedia Piano and Keyboard Method for begginer

eMedia Piano and Keyboard Method for Intermediate

Teach Me Piano Deluxe

Music Ace Review

Music Ace I (reading music)

After our kids finished the first Music Ace program, we purchased the second part of the series:

Music Ace II (reading music games and rhythm)

Equipment for Using Music Ace

One of the benefits of Music Ace is that you don't have to have a keyboard for your kids to play on it. That means you can let them start to learn music and find out if they like it with only the investment of the computer software (less than $50). Since that is the price of just one month of lessons, I think it is a pretty good deal. However, if you want your kids to actually be working on a keyboard, you can use one with a midi connection to make the music learning experience more like actually learning to play. To do this you'd need to buy:

  • Inexpensive Casio Keyboard (often available used for around $120)
  • Midi connection (we used Turtle Beach for about $40)

Can Music Software Teach Piano?

Some kids beg to take piano lessons. Some parents want their kids to have the experience of learning to play the piano to develop a skill or so that they have a lifetime of appreciating music. However, many of us know lots of adults who took years of lessons but can't play. Or expensive pianos which sit unused in living rooms. Is there a better way to give children a chance to learn to play the piano using computer software?

Does Music Ace Teach Kids Piano?

Yes. In fact, much better than we expected. Frankly, I was rather skeptical about whether the kids could learn without a teacher. However, while watching my kids patiently and persistently going through the lessons and learning how to not only read music, but hear the different pitches, I was quickly convinced that the Music Ace method was probably superior to having a music teacher once a week, especially for beginning learners.

If you took piano lessons as a kid, can you play

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Kids can learn piano on the computer

Computer Piano Lessons are fun!
Computer Piano Lessons are fun! | Source

What do Kids Lean with Music Ace?

In Music Ace, the kids play games which show they know the notes or rhythm. They have to pass at a certain level before they can go on. Every step of the program is explained and there is always the music Maestro there to repeat the instructions if you need help.

Music Ace I covers learning how to read music, including:

  • Learning Staff & keyboard relationship
  • Identifying pitches
  • Reading Whole, Sharp, and Flat Notes
  • Learning to Hear Notes and identify tones that are higher and lower
  • Intro to key signature and Keyboard basics
  • Major scales
  • Octaves
  • Treble, bass & grand staff
  • Whole & half steps

Music Ace II covers music rhythm, music theory and includes lessons on:

  • Beat, Tempo and Rhythm.
  • Rests and Intervals.
  • Melody, Syncopation, and Scales.
  • The Time Signature.
  • Continued review of notes and staff.

Music Ace for Kids Taking Piano Lessons

I was not surprised to find that Music Ace now has a version to be used in combination with regular lessons. If I were investing in lessons, I think I'd definitely want to use Music Ace too, because it makes it a lot easier for kids to memorize music reading as well as giving them a lot of practice, repetition, and feedback that you can't get unless you have a teacher with you all the time.

Kids Can Learn Piano from the Computer

We've had our five children all use Music Ace and they have also used eMedia and several other programs which have proved to us that they can go as far as they want without a piano teacher. Of course, like any other skill, they have to practice, and just like having our kids in piano lessons, we had to create practice schedules and keep them at it if we wanted them to progress.

The Advantages of Computer Teaching Piano

If you want your child to become a concert pianist, then you probably need a teacher. However, if your goal for your child is to give them an interest in music and the opportunity to learn to play the piano as a hobby, trying out Music Ace is probably a good investment. For our family the computer instruction has worked well. Here is what we like:

Inexpensive: For one thing, it was inexpensive, all of the programs were under $50, the cost of one month of lessons, and they can be used by multiple children.

No Driving to Lessons: I've also not had to drive them anywhere for instruction.

Immediate Feedback: In addition, each of these programs gives immediate feedback to the kids. They don't have to wait until next week to have the teacher correct them.

Work at their Own Pace: Not every child learns at the same pace. With computer programs to teach music, each child can move through the lessons as quickly or slowly as they need to in order to actually master the material.

Easy for Parents to Monitor: The program has a parent page which shows you the progress of your child. You can see how many times they did each lesson or game. So you can see if they really did do the music assigned.

Teach Kids to Read Music: Both of my older children used what they learned in Music Ace to excel in the choir at their Junior and High School programs. They both had learned to read music and this skill transferred to choir.

I think this is particularly remarkable since both of the kids have learned piano entirely from computer programs. We've never had a teacher. Christopher and I have rudimentary knowledge. I do play the guitar fairly well, but I haven't really taught the kids and I don't really know how to read music. What I do know how to do is make the kids do their music work daily. I've played the tough mom to remind them to do it and to listen to their work to see if they are doing it right.

Piano Lessons with eMedia Computer Programs

Along with or after doing the Music Ace programs, our kids have used

  • eMedia Piano and Keyboard Method for beginner
  • eMedia Piano and Keyboard Method for Intermediate
  • Teach Me Piano Deluxe

These programs do require a computer and midi connection. While Music Ace teaches the fundamentals, eMedia is more like traditional piano teaching using a computer. With eMedia, the child is taught just like it is a piano teacher, in fact, the cartoon kids version is called "Piano Pam." The lessons on eMedia teach kids not only the notes but how to play, including the position of fingers, scales, how to sit and the history of music and composers. Together with Music Ace, eMedia provides a full music program for kids.

How We Have Used eMedia to Teach Piano

In eMedia, the kids would play the piece and be graded on how well they did (the computer shows them how to play and also tells them what they did wrong). We set their passing level--usually 90%. When they reached that level, I would listen to them play for me and approve it before I let them go to the next song. Sometimes that was hard since it was often during dinner time, but often I'd heard them play the song many times, so I knew when they had it right. Sometimes, I'd be stirring the pasta, so they'd just have to play louder!

Learn Guitar with Computer too.

Girl with Guitar.
Girl with Guitar. | Source

Learn to Play Guitar and Drums with eMedia too

One of my daughters also wanted to learn guitar, so we got the eMedia Guitar Method for her. She has really progressed and now plays better as a 10 year old without lessons than I ever did as a 14 year old with several years of lessons. eMedia also offers lessons for drums.

Learn Piano on Computer for family fun!

Piano Learning is Fun for Families
Piano Learning is Fun for Families | Source

Recommendation: Computer Leaning Piano is an Excellent Investment

For very little time and money, you can use this computer software to allow your children to have a chance to learn how to read music and play the piano. Those skills will help them throughout their life and will be a big asset to them if they want to go on to sing or play other instruments. Our kids aren't interested in playing piano for a living, but they do enjoy playing for church, with a friend or for their personal pleasure as a hobby.

We'd also like to have a family band at some point if only to play for ourselves. If you are interested in having your kids learn piano, you may want to try out these programs. For a low investment cost, you can teach them a lot about music and open them up to a lifetime of playing and enjoying

Comments

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    • profile image

      Rebecca Gutzmann 

      4 years ago

      I think it's great that children (or adults) can learn piano and music theory even if they don't have access to a piano at home, parents who are musically inclined to help them, or a teacher giving them lessons. I'd never really thought about how a computer program could actually be a viable alternative, having taken lessons from a young age. - Rebecca Gutzmann English 1302

    • VirginiaLynne profile imageAUTHOR

      Virginia Kearney 

      6 years ago from United States

      John--You are so right that kids do have so many different sorts of opportunities that we did not have! I'm so glad my kids are able to try out different types of learning with less expense for us too!

    • John Sarkis profile image

      John Sarkis 

      6 years ago from Los Angeles, CA

      Virginia, this is a wonderful hub. As a pianist, I can tell you that I wished things would have been this easy when I started to take piano lessons over 30 years ago. I love the fact that information is much more available to children nowadays than it was when I was growing up.

      Voted up

      John

    • VirginiaLynne profile imageAUTHOR

      Virginia Kearney 

      6 years ago from United States

      Thanks for the tip, Elizabeth. We've also used some online programs--there seem to be new things coming out all the time.

    • profile image

      Elizabeth 

      6 years ago

      Another good option is Practica Musica. There's a bit of a learning curve setting it up, but once you get going it works very well. Here's my experience using it to teach my daughter: http://learntoreadmusic.com/practica-musica-review...

    • VirginiaLynne profile imageAUTHOR

      Virginia Kearney 

      6 years ago from United States

      Hi Steph--absolutely this would work with someone teaching their own kids. There are many other programs out there also, but my husband picked these because they had the best reviews. There are also some online music teaching programs which I plan to review in another Hub. The best part is that these can go along with anything else you are already teaching the kids--or maybe be used during a time you take a break from regular lessons.

    • stephhicks68 profile image

      Stephanie Hicks 

      6 years ago from Bend, Oregon

      Wow - I had never heard of this! I played piano for many years and have been working to teach my 4 kids to play the piano by myself. Even purchasing the music books is expensive! I might look into the programs that can be used along with regular lessons to see if it enhances their learning. Very interesting! Voted up

    • VirginiaLynne profile imageAUTHOR

      Virginia Kearney 

      6 years ago from United States

      Thanks for stoppy by dmop. I love getting a chance to try new things myself. I actually think I need to go through the Music Ace program because I never learned to read music!

    • dmop profile image

      dmop 

      6 years ago from Cambridge City, IN

      This sounds fascinating I may check it out. Voted up and useful.

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