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Piano and Music Software Reviews - Packages No Longer Marketed

 

by John M. Zeigler, Ph.D.
Rio Rancho, NM USA

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hese music and piano learning software packages are no longer marketed, but may be available through after-market channels (garage sales, closeouts, etc.). Where we are aware that programs are no longer available, except in these secondary channels, we have marked the names and review summaries with the paragraph (¶) symbol. Some of the strongest programs fall into this class. Keep in mind that technical support is usually no longer accessible for this software, if you have problems installing or running the program. Other programs, not so marked, may be obsolete, but the companies which manufactured those programs are still in business and may still be able to provide support. The review summaries for programs which are either still available or which still have technical support available are provided on our main Software Reviews page.

 

 

Reviewed Software

Below we provide brief summaries of our reviews of various software packages. Currently, we only review IBM-PC compatible programs. Most such programs written for Windows have nearly identical versions for the Macintosh, so our reviews should also be valuable for Macintosh users. We strongly encourage you to read the in-depth reviews of these software packages, as a summary or a numerical rating can do limited justice to the software. This is particularly true if your needs are special or unusual. To go to the full review, just click on the "Full Review" link. To aid in finding specific types of software, we have classified the packages into six categories below, based on our perceptions of their major features. However, many of the packages have multiple functions, so if you don't find a program that interests you in a particular category, check the summaries of the other programs.

 

Programs No Longer Available

(see note above)

Piano Teaching Software

Review Summary of:

Programs by Type

Downloadable Shareware

Piano Teaching Software

Music Theory Training and Drill

Basic Musical Concepts

Music Appreciation

Composition and Notation

General Musical Aids

Studio Management Tools

Programs No Longer Available


Downloadable Shareware

Review Summary of:

  • EZPNO (DOS shareware) (¶)

 

 

Basic Musical Concepts

Music Appreciation

Review Summary of:

General Musical Aids

Review Summary of:

Top of page! Rating System | Downloadable Music Software | Reviewed Software | Learning Materials Reviews | How We Test Software | Submitting Software for Review | Choosing and Using Music Software | Evaluating Music Software Before You Buy | The Teaching Studio | Piano Education Home

EZPNO (¶)

For the most part, teachers, students, and casual music fans alike aren't likely to appreciate the features of EZPNO because they'll be lost in the frustration of trying to access and use its features. The manufacturer might refine the defaults and features of one of its functions - sight reading, importing MIDI files, OR writing notation - to achieve an improved level of usability.

Full Review


Kids Piano Discovery (¶)

Kids Piano Discovery is a wonderful piano learning program for young children (ages 6-12). Kids Piano Discovery employs the same practice philosophies and techniques (including use of the metronome, slow practice progressing up to top speed, hands separate practice) and the same basic course of study as its big brother, the Piano Discovery System. It retains the approach and pedagogical soundness of the other Piano Discovery System versions that we have examined, but presents the information in a manner which is more familiar and fun for young children.

Full Review


Miracle Piano Teaching System (¶)

The Miracle Piano Teaching System is geared for beginning students of all ages. We have used the Miracle Piano Teaching System in a studio environment for almost two years with adults and children alike and found it to be a solid adjunct to formal teaching, although some older children and adults may ultimately tire of the games and slick graphics used. That aside, this is a valuable teaching tool for home and studio use, despite some limitations in the area of music theory.

Miracle Piano Teaching System FAQ  Full Review


Music Lab (¶)

Music Lab has all the right ideas for acclimating music students to ear training and notational exercises. NAMES, where you'll try your hand at relative pitch, is but one of eight varieties of exercises available through this program. Any music teacher who's ever pleaded with students to "Count!" will appreciate the PLAY section, which has you tapping rhythms of phrases notated on-screen. Although the graphics in this DOS-based program are plain, the content will prove useful in any music lab.

Full Review


2wholes.gif (2689 bytes)MusicLAB Melody (¶)

MusicLAB Melody is a nice program for teaching ear-training to students, but, along with some very well done exercises, there are some that are far too difficult for the average student to use with the default program settings. All options that involve pitch use solfege, i.e. Do, Re, Mi, etc. The rhythm and ear-training aspects of MusicLAB Melody are very well done, but the parts of the program which involve singing into a microphone may be too difficult for the average studio or home user, at least with the program's default settings. MusicLAB Melody looks utilitarian on-screen, reflecting the fact that the program was designed for ages 8-Adult.

Full Review


Musicware Piano (¶)

Musicware Piano teaches note recognition, interval recognition, counting, musical terms, correct posture at the keyboard, and, in a particularly welcome feature, stresses sight reading from the beginning. The program does a thorough and pedagogically sound job of teaching note reading, intervallic relationships, and counting challenges. If your goal is to learn to play the piano correctly from the start, and you want a package that will grow with you as your knowledge and skills develop, you can't go wrong with Musicware Piano.

Full Review


The Pianist (¶)

The Pianist is a music education and enjoyment program which provides high quality professional recordings of over 200 classical piano pieces in MIDI format, along with database-like functions which allow the user to select the music by genre, composer, or "feel" and learn about it and the composer as he listens to it. The Pianist also has program notes for each work, accurate biographies and pictures of the composers, a good music dictionary, a Music Trivia Game, and a "Guess the Song" game. These features make the program educational and fun, as well as musically satisfying. The Pianist is a joy, even if you only listen to the music and set aside its educational value.

Full Review


Piano Discovery System, Version 2 (¶)

Jump! Music has obtained the rights to the Miracle and performed a welcome and thorough update on both the hardware and the software. The result is the Piano Discovery System. More than just an update, the Piano Discovery System builds on the solid pedagogy of the Miracle and adds new features that take advantage of the greater power of today's computers. Teachers, parents, and students will find a lot to like in the Piano Discovery System.

Full Review


3 note rating Piano Discovery System, Version 3 (¶)

The Piano Discovery System remains pedagogically sound and in the same basic format as version 2 (REVIEW!). This new CD-ROM version expands the content from the 2.0 version and is much more interactive. The graphics and animation are more colorful and exciting. Video clips add a new dimension for students to watch in a frame by frame process or in real time. These features help make this version one you would want to upgrade to, or one you should strongly consider buying if you don’t already own it.

Full Review


Not rated

Piano Suite, Version 1.0

Our goal on The Piano Education Page is to provide thorough, fair and unbiased reviews of music education-related products. Unfortunately, a software manufacturer, Adventus Corporation, took serious issue with our reviews of its Piano Suite software. We extended to Adventus numerous opportunities to examine our reviews of Piano Suite and to point out any factual inaccuracies in them before we published the reviews. Adventus availed itself of those opportunities multiple times, but persisted in its complaints. Adventus threatened to sue our former server operator over the reviews. Since then, we have changed server operators. We have concluded that it will be impossible for us to satisfy Adventus that our reviews are, indeed, thorough, fair and unbiased, or to provide forthright reviews of Piano Suite without continuing complaints and threats of legal action. Accordingly, we have removed all Piano Suite reviews from The Piano Education Page. We will continue to provide thoughtful, candid reviews, as we have in the past, except as regards Piano Suite or any other Adventus products. We will no longer review any of those products. We regret any inconvenience this may cause our visitors, but we trust you will understand. We appreciate your support.


teorķa (Practical Music Theory)

teorķa presents music theory concepts in great detail; it has a considerable amount of capability for the teacher or student to customize lessons to their particular needs through its Routines feature. It's thoroughness and customizability are both the best and worst parts of the program. teorķa is most useful in a piano studio and to older children and adult students. If you're a teacher that likes to choose from a "cafeteria" of music theory exercises so as to individualize each student's instruction or an advanced student needing work on specific areas of music theory, teorķa may be just what you're looking for.

Full Review


4whlhlfs.gif (8093 bytes)Time Signature

Time Signature is a well-organized studio management program that allows teachers systematize their teaching and record-keeping. While there are a small number of desirable minor improvements on our wish list for Time Signature, its only major disadvantage is its dated DOS interface. If you need help in managing your studio and you're willing to forego the familiar Windows interface, Time Signature may be just the software you're looking for.

Full Review


The Musical World of Professor Piccolo (¶)

The Musical World of Professor Piccolo is a fun, educational, interactive adventure for students ages eight to adult. Professor Piccolo offers musical performances, a self-paced interactive music theory course, and graphics with some limited animation. It is also a well thought out music appreciation course in Rock, Jazz and Symphonic music. This CD-ROM program serves as a terrific tool in helping to teach many fundamental musical skills and concepts.

Full Review


 
 
 
 
 
Page created: 3/6/04
Last updated: 01/30/15
 
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Reprinting from the Piano Education Page The Piano Education Page, Op. 10, No. 1, http://pianoeducation.org
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