Piano Wizard versus Piano Hero

I previously wrote a review of an open sourced piano game: Piano Hero. Meanwhile, Piano Wizard is another piano game that claims that it is a fun and useful program that can actually teach you how to play the piano. I will review both of the software here and show you the result of my comparison. Both softwares combine the fun of a video/PC game with the fundamental of piano playing.

Piano Wizard:


Learn to Play Piano with Piano Wizard

Allegro Rainbow introduced 2 Piano Wizard software packages:

1. The Piano Wizard Easy Mode – This is a beginner to intermediate version. Allegro, a Florida-based corporation founded in August 2001 claims that they has magically turned what once felt like practice, into feeling like child’s play with its patented, 4-Step Method used in Piano Wizard. Easy Mode comes with 100 songs. There is a limitation on the number of songs. If you would like to include more sophisticated songs later, you can upgrade to Piano Wizard PREMIER. EASY MODE version is selling for $69.95. This package contains Piano Wizard EASY MODE software, USB/MIDI cable to connect your MIDI keyboard to your Windows PC or Mac, and colored stickers.

2. The Piano Wizard PREMIER is an advanced version which allows you to download unlimited MIDI song files into your computers. You can use it to learn to play your favorite songs, anything from classical to jazz. This version is selling for $139.95. Piano Wizard PREMIER Software, USB/MIDI cable to connect your MIDI keyboard to your Windows PC or Mac, and colored stickers are included in the package.

Features:

At the beginning basic level, Piano Wizard offers 4 choices of different game environment or “worlds”. You can choose from an underwater reef, a futuristic city, outer space or a prehistoric dinosaur world. There is a virtual piano keyboard running at the top of the screen. Every note in an octave is colored to match stickers applied to your physical MIDI keyboard. You can paste the washable and removable color sticker purchased together in Piano Wizard packages to your MIDI keyboard. Choose the song you want to play. Let’s say you choose the dinosaur world. Different objects fly from the bottom towards the colored keyboard at the top. The object can be beetles, or eggs. When the object hit the keyboard at the top, you play the corresponding key at your MIDI keyboard. If you do it right, the note sounds and the object transforms to something else. If you play it at high accuracy, you will hear a beautiful song played by you!

Move on to the next level, the screen is rotated 90 degrees counter-clockwise, with objects moving from right to left. This intermediate level aims to familiarize players with reading musical notes from left to right, as they appear in music sheet.

In the third level of difficulty, the cartoon objects are replaced with real musical notes. The notes can still be color-coded to ease the transition. In the final most advanced level, traditional notation moves across the screen. This is the real scrolling sheet music which every classical pianist are taught to read.

Piano Hero

Piano Hero is software developed by Nicholas Piegdon at Halite Studios. Piegdon received a cease letter from Activision regarding the use of the name “Piano Hero”. He has no choice but to change the name “Piano Hero” to something else. You can suggest a great name to him as well. The winner will get a free MIDI keyboard.

Without the colored keyboard, it is much harder to play compared to Piano Wizard which gives you 4 levels of difficulty. If you are a beginner, you should download some simpler MIDI files, start practicing 1 track which got only 1 note at a time. The falling blocks are a bit dull. However, I think it is sufficient. There is no indication of hitting the note right because the program plays whatever you hit on the keyboard.

The best feature of Piano Hero is that it is an open source program, thus it is always free! Consider donate to Piegdon to help support his project if you find Piano Hero is useful to you.

Piano Hero in Action

 

Conclusions

If you already have a keyboard, try download Piano Hero and experiment with it. If you don’t, you can get the keyboard and sticker package sold at Piano Wizard website and download Piano Hero to give it a try. If you still can’t get any interest out of Piano Hero, then you can consider buying Piano Wizard software. It is more fun and addictive. These 2 programs definitely succeed to excite kids about piano and music. They made learning the piano more exciting than ever before for beginners!

Please post your experience with these 2 programs at the comments area. We would like to hear from you!

6 Comments

  • Stan Shepherd

    Reply Reply June 1, 2007

    Hi KCLau and CEFam, Thanks for these reviews. Did you know there’s another open source piano game? The latest one is at
    http://www.free-music-games.net/valkyrie-invaders.html

    (Disclosure, it’s my site)

    I’d be interested to know what you think.

    …Stan

  • gerr

    Reply Reply March 1, 2011

    Thanks for reviews, I recently discovered Piano Hero/ Synthesssss whatever, and really love it. I am learning to read music and allot of the classical stuff is pretty tough. So, I just go to http://www.classicalmidiconnection.com/ and download for free a midi version and load it into this program ……oh yea, and slow it down : D for the hard parts to read along.
    Really there is no substitution for basic reading skills in music if you play piano.
    So with this program’s help I can get basic reading down so learning to read basics doesn’t take much time away from actually learning to play.

  • pandu

    Reply Reply March 5, 2013

    Nice review.. the piano hero is now called synthesia. I really loved that product.
    Piano wizard is nice.. maybe for a 3-4 years old but I don’t really think that game / product could compete with real computer game.

    so I guess I just play around with synthesia and get my kids real video game and teach them synthesia when they really wanted to play piano.

    *just my observation*

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