Back to the Piano Education Home Page

5 note ratingReview of Juilliard Music Adventure




uilliard Music Adventure was developed to reflect the musical content outlined in the National Standards for the Arts. It does so successfully. Kids and parents alike LOVE this software. Juilliard Music Adventure teaches musical concepts rather than piano skills exclusively, and is a good program to use in conjunction with other theory and piano software in the context of regular private piano lessons.


keyinfo.gif (1045 bytes)Although Juilliard Music Adventure is designed for Windows 3.1 and 9.x, we have learned that it can be successfully run on Windows 2000 and on Windows XP, using Windows 95 Compatibility Mode


Installation was easy and automatic, a parent, teacher and/or student can do it without help. This reviewer experienced no problems in the installation process. The program makes significant demands on your computer hardware, particularly in its RAM needs, so be sure to read the system requirements below to make certain it will run on your computer.

Juilliard Music Adventure is plotted as an exploration adventure. Your goal is to free the Queen, who has been locked into an Amulet and out of her Queendom by the evil gnome Gnoise. To free the Queen from the Amulet, the player must solve musical puzzles at three levels, with the help of the court jester Fiddle. Each level has five different rooms where you meet and interact with five different personalities and solve a different musical puzzle.

For example, in the Princess' Bedroom, you help the Princess solve different melodic puzzles. While in the Princess' Bedroom, we learn about sequence, syncopation, and other musical concepts. In the Blacksmith's Armory, you learn about rests, imitation, and other musical delights. The funny King and Queen of the chess board in The Chess Garden enlist our help to solve puzzles involving musical questions and answers, completing a musical phrase. The Dragon's Lair has a delightful fire breathing dragon who needs our help to match the correct pitches to the rhythm for Mary Had a Little Lamb, to help make the opening statement from Haydn's Surprise Symphony sound happy not gloomy and other delightful musical puzzles. In the Royal Kitchen we meet the percussionists who have lost their instruments, or had them stolen by Gnoise. There, you solve puzzles about ostinato, constructing different rhythmical parts for three different percussionists, and other fun rhythmical puzzles.

After solving the puzzle at each of the rooms, a key is awarded. Each key has its own key music from a specific instrument. You can learn about the construction of the individual instrument, the timbre of the instrument, and a bit of history about the same instrument as you acquire the keys. These keys are used to unlock the locks placed in the throne room. To do so the user must match the instrument playing and when involved in listening to more than one instrument, arrange the instrument keys in the correct order of highest pitched instruments to the lower pitched instruments. Upon having correctly arranged the keys, you gain access to the Throne Room where the you can create different melodic and rhythmic ideas, and generally have a good time experimenting with music.

Each musical concept is explained at least twice during the course of solving the musical puzzle, either by having the Queen verbally explain the concept, or by clicking on the Magic Scroll where the concepts and terminology are explained in more detail. The musical excerpts are performed by students from the Juilliard School of Music, and this was also a plus in the program.

Juilliard Music Adventure uses different shaped and colored beads to represent notes and rests. So the user does not have to be able to read traditional music, but rather see the correlation between the beads going up and down to the concept of pitch movement, and the relationship between length of the beads, or blocks of color to the duration note length and rest length.

The program is advertised for ages 9 and up; however, from using this program with over 30 students, this reviewer found that the younger ones did need a lot of personal assistance from an adult. Once helped through the problems, the kids delighted in the program. Some adult users found the program insightful and a fun way to learn musical concepts, too. Students and teacher alike found the "helping" voice of the Queen rather annoying at times. The students all agreed they would have preferred being able to click on the Amulet to ask for help when they needed it rather than having the annoyance of the Queen interrupting their thoughts. It would seem a simple matter to be able to turn on or off the Queen's help in a future version of the program. The user manual could have been more helpful in describing the individual puzzles to be solved, and giving the teacher/parent a better guide to using the program. This reviewer also feels that the guide could have provided a more detailed analysis of each individual puzzle to be solved to be able to assist children using the program more fully.

The pedagogical aspects of Juilliard Music Adventure are sound and engagingly implemented. We hope that the Juilliard Music Adventure will continue on into more musical concepts, music appreciation, discussions of the instruments, etc. The format was a huge success with students and we highly recommend Juilliard Music Adventure to other teachers, parents and students.

Nancy Ostromencki

Juilliard Music Adventure. List Price:$39 Tom Snyder Productions, 80 Coolidge Hill Road,
Watertown MA 02472-5003. Phone:(800) 342-0236 Fax: (800) 304-1254.  E-mail: WWW: System requirements: PC: Pentium, 25 MHz, Windows OS 3.1/ 95/ 98/ 98SE/ ME, 8 MB, 8 bit colors; 640x480 resolution. Macintosh: PowerPC, 30 MHz Mac OS 7.0 - 7.56, 8 MB, 256 colors; 640x480 resolution
Page created: 7/13/96
Last updated: 01/30/15
Site Policies Credits About Feedback Reprinting

Reprinting from the Piano Education Page The Piano Education Page, Op. 10, No. 1,
Copyright 1995-2016 John M. Zeigler. All rights reserved.