Piano and Keyboard Method Educational Edition Version 3.0

August 15, 2012 at 2:08 am | Posted in Music Teachers Resources | 1 Comment
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The easiest way to teach piano and keyboard in your music classroom!

Seattle, WAAugust 14, 2012, eMedia Music Corp., publisher of the world’s best-selling and award-winning series of music tutorial CD-ROMs, announces the release of Version 3.0 of eMedia Piano & Keyboard Method Educational Edition, developed specifically for schools and educators to teach students using eMedia’s innovative technology. Students will learn to play using over 300 step-by-step full-screen lessons and more than 70 video demonstrations taught by distinguished Juilliard School of Music instructor, Irma Irene Justicia, M.A. Improvements for Version 3.0 and new features include a new internet-based Assessment Server option, a Student Home User Edition for at-home use, new Instant Feedback, new Note and Finger Tracker tools, improved progress and assessment reporting and more. eMedia Piano & Keyboard Method Educational Edition is recommended for Grades 4 and up.

New Instant Feedback works with both electronic keyboards and acoustic pianos. It listens to melodies through the computer’s microphone or MIDI and shows whether they are played correctly. With a MIDI keyboard, students also get a detailed evaluation with specific feedback on playing mistakes. Students learn to read music and play over 100 popular songs as an animated keyboard guides them through the fingerings.

As the students make their way through the course, the software records their progress by marking lesson screens that have been visited, and keeping a log of scores on interactive music theory review and ear training quizzes. When used with an electronic MIDI keyboard, an overall percentage score is also tracked for each song or exercise. With the included Instructor Tool, the instructor can review the students’ progress, take notes and generate reports as needed.

Teachers can manage up to 500 student accounts and use eMedia’s detailed assessment system to monitor students’ scores and advancement through the course. Integrated network connectivity has been upgraded to also support eMedia’s internet-based assessment server (one-year subscription included). It allows for easy implementation of progress sharing between Windows and Mac computers and enables students to practice either at home or in school while the teacher views progress & assessment information.

Students learn songs and exercises from either the music notation or an animated keyboard that displays fingerings in time with the music. Songs and exercises are enhanced by live-recorded audio, variable-speed MIDI keyboard tracks and colorful MIDI accompaniments. Students learn from over 100 popular classical, blues, pop and rock songs, including hit songs from composers and artists such as Ludwig van Beethoven, J.S. Bach, Billy Joel, Bob Dylan and Elton John. Other accessories include a built-in digital metronome, a one-track recorder and the new interactive Note & Finger Tracker.

The previous version of Piano & Keyboard Method was described by American Music Teacher Magazine as “Impressive and thorough”, and this new version is even more so. Over 300 lessons are now presented in scalable full-screen resolution for easy viewing. The over 70 videos can also be viewed in full-screen.

Licenses for eMedia Piano & Keyboard Method Education Edition Version 3.0 are available for schools and academic institutions to purchase now. The program is a hybrid CD-ROM for both Windows (XP/Vista/Windows 7/ Windows 8) and Macintosh (OSX 10.3+) platforms. Educators can download a complimentary 30-Day trial version of eMedia Piano & Keyboard Method Education Edition Version 3.0 for evaluation by visiting eMedia’s web site: http://www.emediamusic.com/academic/freetrials.html

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What’s the Right Way to Learn Music?

October 16, 2011 at 3:32 pm | Posted in music education | 2 Comments
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The right way to learn music really depends on what you want to learn what your interests and goals are and to what level of skill you want to develop.

I think when a person says “I want to learn the right way” they may be thinking they have to suffer through a long drawn out tedious frustrating process learning how to read music and practicing scales and arpeggios for hours a day in order to be able to play the guitar. Nah, this is not necessarily so.

Now I’m not anti-music reading or anti-scales and arpeggios but if your interest is to learn a very basic skill like strumming and being able to play and sing your favorite songs or being able to jam in rock and blues you don’t necessarily have to learn how to read music. If chords are to difficult to jump into right away you could take some preliminary steps to build up your finger strength or try smaller chord formations and just get started learning how to strum.

Sometimes for beginners that are in that direction I do recommend learning to read music in a good method book only for the development of the basic technique and it’s an easy step to take when getting your fingers use to the strings and the frets. I also let them know that it’s not absolutely necessary to finish the method completely and we’ll get out of the method as soon as they gain a little more control over the fingers and can handle chords. This way the learning process can be less frustrating because if you do start with chords and the chords are too difficult then you could struggle for months rather than developing the skill you need by taking small systematic steps.

Most songs in the blues, rock and country genre are really not that difficult and only require a minimum of skill. Really, I’m not kidding, I’ve had many students who only after a few weeks or months were able to either begin playing or were enjoying the experience of playing along with their favorite songs on a CD or even getting together with friends and jamming.

If you want to learn classical or jazz than that would require more serious study and practice and I would definitely learn how to read music because it will increase your ability to learn at a faster pace. Classical requires good technique, without it there are pieces that would be impossible to play while jazz requires a good working knowledge of music theory in order to develop the ability to spontaneously improvise.

If your desire is to be a more skillful or professional musician the more you know the better off you are. Let me digress and make some further distinctions, a professional musician is a musician who gets paid for what they do. That doesn’t necessarily mean that they are skillful.

On the other hand, I know some musicians who are not professional but they are very skillful. Another popular myth is that if someone is famous they must be good or skillful and that is not necessarily true, many times it’s just a matter of someone’s opinion or they look cute or whatever and there’s nothing wrong with that. So there are different levels of skill and if you want to increase your skill than there are some very specific things that you can and should learn that will do just that which I will save for another article.

I’ve had many students who started by learning how to read music and then they gradually moved into the area of their interest and I’ve also had many students who started without learning to read music and after learning how to play the style of music they liked decided to learn how to read music and they increased their skill even further. So there are many ways that you can learn how to play the guitar what’s important is to find the way that works best for you.

About the Author

Ed Kihm is a guitarist, teacher, arranger and composer with a Masters in Music Degree from Combs College of Music in Philadelphia and a Conservatory Diploma for graduate level studies from Neupauers Conservatory of Music. He began learning the guitar at the age of six, has been teaching guitar since 1987 and it’s his full time occupation with private students locally and around the world via web cam lessons as well as subscribers to his online video courses. He occasionally performs classical and jazz in fine dinning restaurants on weekends as well as contracting a variety of work in music production at his home studio.

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