“Piano Hero”: Learn Piano Quickly

PIANO

The search for a method to learn piano quickly maybe a not so far off reality

Electronic keyboards with advanced features are nothing new to us and have been a part of our ever changing world for many years.   The search for a method to learn piano quickly maybe a dream, but maybe a not so far off reality, as we search for ways to keep students motivated and interested in pursuits that enrich their lives.  Experience proves that using short cuts in one area quite often  causes sacrifice in another.

We live in a world where entertainment and gaming is a very popular part of our culture

learn piano quickly

Student playing @ 0:05.

Games like Guitar Hero and Rock Band are very popular and can be addictive.  Amrei Röhlig and colleagues at the University of Ulm in Germany developed a method to supplement the learning process for piano students called The Projected Instrument Augmentation System.  We live in a world where entertainment and gaming is a very popular part of our culture.   Gaming technology can have value in the fantasy sense for relaxation and recreation,  but game technology could also be used to improve a skill that has direct influence and transfers very closely to real life application in music.  What I am trying to say here is:  Guitar Hero time equals Guitar Hero time,  Projected Instrument Augmentation time equals hopefully steady improving technique and fingering for real piano playing improvement with the same investment of time and fun as the toy fantasy games.

The streaming blocks allow the player to be lead to the correct keys to play with the correct fingering

The Projected Instrument Augmentation System or P.I.A.N.O., as it is referred to, is an device that has a screen attached atop  a keyboard/piano that lights up with colorful blocks streaming and connecting with lines adjacent to the keyboard keys.  This idea is similar to the Rock Band 3 video game only it’s a more advanced device. The streaming blocks allow the player to be lead to the correct keys to play with the correct fingering very quickly.  The lines give information to the player concerning articulation and rhythm.  The lines indicate articulation and ornamentation by using straight lines or curved/wavy lines.  The color-coded blocks indicate fingering. When the student plays an incorrect note, the screen lights the key up red.

piano hero

How it works @ 1:39

Combines a little of the best of the world’s fab gaming habit with valuable practice time at the piano

This system combines a little of the best of the world’s fab gaming habit with an alternative way to play the piano. The system is fun and bridges the gap between the beginning stages of playing and advanced by allowing the student to play with a sound that is more advanced.  In a world all too often motivated by instant gratification or instant success, P.I.A.N.O.  might just be the technology that would keep a student motivated and encouraged.  Most students are great at the getgo, but will need encouragement and support after the honeymoon period wears off and they learn that to be good at anything, they must put in some dedicated work practicing.

The student can get positive reinforcement everyday

It is impossible to hire a teacher to watch over their practice on a daily basis. We count ourselves quite lucky if the student can get reinforcement more times than just once per week.  It would be a wonderful situation if a student can get reinforcement for good fingering, rhythm, tempo and help everyday on the early classics, standard repetoire and more.

The P.I.A.N.O would be very fun and rewarding, but does not substitute for good teaching or supervision

The Projected Instrument Augmentation System has features like practice mode that divides smaller portions of a piece to allow for more intense spot practice at slower tempos, and play mode which requires the player to set a tempo and perform the music after the preparation is complete. I think piano teachers might like that aspect for isolating and  preparing more troublesome passages as long as the student is practicing in good piano fingering and usable muscle memory.  Although, the P.I.A.N.O.  would be very fun and rewarding, the finished result might be very mechanical  sounding.  It might be difficult for the student to play the piece with good phrasing, interpretation and expressiveness.

More lesson time spent learning valuable and needed skills

The serious student needs to develop a good ear and play well by memory and  they also need to learn to read music notation. Since all successfully working musicians need both of these skills fully developed in their arsenal.  Valuable lesson time can be better spent working on phrasing, interpretation and expressive playing and developing music sight-reading, accompanying, playing piano in a band as part of a group.

Some teachers may not find this technology especially wonderful, but it is necessary to realize the P.I.A.N.O. is intended  only to be a supplemental tool and does not take the place of a competent, piano or keyboard teacher.  A good piano/keyboard teacher will be able to assess her student’s ability, desires, focus, and personality to come up with a plan to motivate, and lead the student into playing the piano with skill, confidence, and ease.   Music is not all about playing the keys with great skill, but in reality, playing the keys is only the beginning.

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