Fun Way to Learn Instruments CD-ROMs / DVDs

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If you have a student who is an audio/visual learner, these CD-ROMs and DVDs may be a good alternative over a more traditional book-based program. Although the basic approaches to learning to play each instrument aren't revolutionary, the program offers plenty of extra features that set these apart from most book programs. My sample copy is My Piano CD-ROM, and while the lessons and features may vary to accommodate the natural differences of the various instruments covered, the same basic components can be found in each program. Once the software is loaded, children are introduced to their "teacher," a cartoon instrument with a pleasant voice that guides them through the software and narrates the lessons. The contents feature over 100 pages/lessons including information (about the instrument, music notation, etc.), songs to play (approximately 25 songs, not including unknown/unnamed exercises), and games for practicing the concepts covered. The software is easy to navigate, with a main table of contents and flexibility to jump in on whatever lesson students want or work straight through from beginning to end. Each lesson is clear and uncluttered. Wherever music is given there are also few bonus features, including an audio track for students to hear the piece, a video so they can watch it played on an actual keyboard, and an option to play along with an accompaniment at adjustable speeds. Other features include a metronome, a digital recorder, and others (varying by instrument). For the piano software, if you use a keyboard that is hooked up to your computer you can get interactive feedback that recognizes your mistakes and helps correct you. The DVDs contain the same lesson content as the CD-ROMs, and the bonus tools (e.g. metronome, digital recorder) can be downloaded separately (just pop the DVD into your computer with an internet connection). Simple yet effective programs for even the very young beginning musicians. Melissa

Software requirements: Windows - Pentium II PC, Windows 98 or higher, 64 MB free RAM. Macintosh Power PC G3 or better (Intel OK), Mac OS X 10.2+, 64 MB free RAM.

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My Guitar DVD Item #: 032374
Grades: 1-6
Retail: $19.95
Rainbow Price: $16.95

My Piano CD-Rom Item #: 044377
Grades: 1-Adult
Retail: $29.95
Rainbow Price: $18.19

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