Recently I received a package originated from United States, another part of the world. It was a big box. What’s packed inside is the new piano and keyboard method CD-ROM new version 2.0! eMedia should have mailed me only the CD-ROM because there is nothing more than a CD and some fliers inside the relatively big boxset. That would have saved them some postage fees.
However, I was very excited to look at what’s inside the CD. This is the first time I am given a commercial product absolutely free, just for the review. Let’s see what is stuffed in it.
Overview – The Easiest Way to Learn Piano!
This Version 2.0 of eMedia Piano and Keyboard Method (PKM) is published by eMedia Music Corp. who had published numerous best-selling series of music tutorial CD-ROMs.
PKM features over 300 song-based lessons led by Irma Irene Justicia, former instructor at the renowned Juilliard School of Music. It is a multimedia (audio, video, and visual)interactive teaching tools all packed in one CD-ROM for you to learn keyboard and piano starting from the basic, including lots of printed theory and video instructions.
What’s in the CD-ROM?
- 70 large screen format videos
- an animated keyboard showing you what to play along with the music
- learn over 100 popular classical, blues, pop, rock songs, including hit songs from artist such as Bob Dylan, Billy Joel, and Elton John
- variable-speed MIDI tracks allow you to slow down or speed up the music during practice
- Song looping lets you highlight and loop sections to make practicing easier
- also include bonus material like metronome, recorder, ear training and review.
What’s in the course?
- Hand position
- sight-reading (reading music notation)
- music theory
- 300 popular and classical tunes integrated as part of the lessons
Installation is easy. The boxset comes with an installation instruction sheet. Everything shall be autorunning. If not, you just need to run the setup.exe file. The CD-ROM is a hybrid for both Windows (98/2000/NT/Me/XP/Vista) and Macintosh (OSX 10.2+) platforms.
Video instruction and presentation in multimedia format is a norm and basic requirement of self-taught CD-ROM-package music courses. However, what makes PKM stands out is the interactive feedback features.
In order to make use of the interactive feedback, you must have a MIDI keyboard. Nowadays, MIDI connection is built-in in almost every keyboard model. That shouldn’t stop you from getting a MIDI keyboard. The cheapest available is priced below US$100! The interactive feedback feature points out mistakes in notes and rhythm while showing you the corrections so you can get it right the next time. It is like a virtual teacher who examine your practice. Although it is still a “computer” doing the job, but I think it is already good enough to have a feedback system that works!
The only complain
Most people are still using consumer range soundcards and MIDI sound generators. Normally this type of hardware is not good enough to give you a good practice on keyboard music. The most annoying setback is the possible delay. Delay is the time difference between you hitting the music keyboard keys, and the actual sound being produced by your computer and reach your ears via the speakers. When the delay time is long enough, the feedback feature may not be so accurate because it tracks your rhythm and timing.
In order to let PKM works its charm, you better get a decent soundcard (pro-audio range), a good MIDI sound generators (preferably hardware such as sound module), or a software sampler or sample-playback machine that relies on your pro-audio soundcard processing power. This shall eliminate the delay problem and give you a good sounding piano voices.
However, I only tested PKM on my current computer setup. This may not be accurate because you definitely have a different setup from mine. If you have any experience in using PKM, please share with us in the comment section below.
Buy or ignore?
If you know nothing about keyboard and piano, this is definitely a helpful CD-ROM course for you. Instead of spending hundreds of dollars a year attending piano courses, why not give yourself a chance to learn in your own room, in your own pace and possibly save a lot of money. Besides that, you really don’t need to buy any beginner’s music theory book. This course has covered all the necessaries and essentials.