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Anything like Rocksmith for keys?
#2403508 03/28/15 09:20 AM
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I was intrigued when I saw some videos demonstrating Rocksmith, a computer game that trains the player to play a real guitar. Unlike the "Guitar Hero" games, Rocksmith includes an interface to hook up a real electric guitar, tune it up, and then start learning chords and technical exercises, eventually learning to play a variety of rock songs - including ones with fast, technical solos.

Strangely, I haven't yet learned of software like this for the piano / keyboard. That despite MIDI for keyboards being ubiquitous for far longer.

Has anyone taken the idea of adaptive technique exercises and turned it into a game for improving piano technique? I think that would be far more fun / interesting than playing through Czerny books (even if it were the same exercises, just turned into a computer game that challenges you to practice and perfect them).

Yet all the piano learning games / apps I'm aware of are for complete beginners, doing very simple stuff. Contrast that with Rocksmith, which teaches guitarists not only chords for pop songs, but also difficult guitar solos that wowed audiences in stadiums back in the '70s...


Last edited by Colin Dunn; 03/28/15 09:23 AM.

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Re: Anything like Rocksmith for keys?
Colin Dunn #2403642 03/28/15 02:38 PM
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there is Synthesia here


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Re: Anything like Rocksmith for keys?
Colin Dunn #2403949 03/29/15 10:47 AM
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Piano Marvel sounds like it might do the trick, if you skip the first levels and go for the more advanced lessons.

As a guitarist, I'm not a big fan of Rocksmith though.
It's a fun incentive to get someone hooked on playing guitar, but people that learned technique through RS
often sound mechanical in their playing. They have the notes down, but it doesn't quite sound like they're playing melodies/music.

Perhaps the same is true for people who learn piano through Synthesia/Piano Marvel style apps smile

Re: Anything like Rocksmith for keys?
Colin Dunn #2403957 03/29/15 11:04 AM
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I am not a fan of any of those "mechanical" software packages that show you which keys to press and then "test" you to see if you are pressing the correct keys at exactly the correct time.

To me, that is not learning to play piano ... that is learning to press keys at the correct time.

There is so much more to it than that.

I liken it to learning to golf by watching someone else do it and then trying to copy what they do. It doesn't work. There is so much more going on than what you "see" to make the ball go where you want it to go.

Same thing with playing piano.

If you really wish to learn to be a good player you may just have to do it "the old fashioned way"..... Learn to read music and practice. If you can afford a teacher, that is best. If not, then find a good method book and go to work ... one page at a time ... carefully, slowly, and with your best effort. It is not fast ... but it seems to be the only thing that works.

You can fool with those "other things" if you like ... just for fun ... but I would be wary of deluding yourself into thinking that it is going to turn you into a good piano player.

Just my opinion, of course. You must do what you think is best.

Good Luck



Don

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Re: Anything like Rocksmith for keys?
Colin Dunn #2404400 03/30/15 10:52 AM
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What exactly is your question about these programs?
Are you interested in writing one that works better?
Just interested in using one?

I use my little program for daily practice and learning new songs in general. Currently almost done with Elton John's "Your Song". It's not simple. Not nearly as hard as classical works, but I just like pop better.

Mine doesn't "grade" you. That just seems dumb to me. It's my job to do the grading. Just show me the notation and where the heck I am.

My next goal is to have it locate the short sections that you just can't play in time and slow JUST those sections down until you get it, then ramp the tempo back up until you're clear to go on to the next "fracture". It's pretty easy to identify where you play below tempo or miss notes. Much tougher to ID where a -good- start and end point of the fracture is.

Ok, I'm rambling now. So what exactly are you after here?



http://PianoCheetah.app - my weird piano practice program
Re: Anything like Rocksmith for keys?
Colin Dunn #2404505 03/30/15 02:56 PM
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I'm already reading music and taking lessons with a teacher.

The reason I asked about programs like Rocksmith has to do with "gamification," or turning drudgerous work into a game. Most piano students (myself included) think that doing technique exercises is a chore. In my own situation, it's easy for me to ignore the Czerny books and jump into playing pieces out of a music book. Yet I know that not having spent enough time on technique is holding back my progress.

So I was thinking - someone decided to make a game out of technical exercises for guitar ... and was wondering why I hadn't seen the same thing for the piano.



Colin Dunn
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Re: Anything like Rocksmith for keys?
Colin Dunn #2404507 03/30/15 02:59 PM
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I would also add - I don't think any of these computer-based exercises really develop musicianship. I would never advise an aspiring guitarist to rely 100% on Rocksmith, because they're just learning chords and exercises, but not how to make music. It might be an OK starting place, or a way to keep a student engaged alongside lessons. Likewise, I wouldn't think a pianist should learn only through software that teaches simple songs or technical exercises...


Colin Dunn
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Organizer, Denver Area Piano Group (https://www.meetup.com/Denver-Area-Piano-Group/)

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Re: Anything like Rocksmith for keys?
Colin Dunn #2404523 03/30/15 03:22 PM
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Originally Posted by Colin Dunn

So I was thinking - someone decided to make a game out of technical exercises for guitar ... and was wondering why I hadn't seen the same thing for the piano.


Yes, as has been mentioned, synthesia http://www.synthesiagame.com/ is probably the closest to what you're asking for. Another similar program is Piano Wizard http://www.pianowizardacademy.com/ and it is considerably more expensive but seems more feature rich in some ways.

Honestly though,It seems like keeping track of all those falling blocks would be harder than actually reading the sheet music. I think it would give me a headache to try. smile Your Mileage may vary though.

smile

Last edited by fizikisto; 03/30/15 03:22 PM.

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Re: Anything like Rocksmith for keys?
Colin Dunn #2404524 03/30/15 03:23 PM
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Originally Posted by Colin Dunn
I would also add - I don't think any of these computer-based exercises really develop musicianship. I would never advise an aspiring guitarist to rely 100% on Rocksmith, because they're just learning chords and exercises, but not how to make music. It might be an OK starting place, or a way to keep a student engaged alongside lessons. Likewise, I wouldn't think a pianist should learn only through software that teaches simple songs or technical exercises...


Have you looked at [b]Paul Sheftel's Personal Trainer Vols. 1 - 5[/b]

Together with the provided midi accompaniments and a program like Home Concert Extreme it can be a training system.

Re: Anything like Rocksmith for keys?
Colin Dunn #2404527 03/30/15 03:31 PM
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Ok, I kinda think I see where you're coming from.

In no way is software ever a replacement for a piano teacher. I think all of the programmers (dedicating their lives to) writing these programs will agree on that. I certainly do. That's why I have a piano teacher!

I think the software CAN be a replacement for paper based sheet music, though. And to quickly get your fingers over notes. In many ways, superior to paper based standard notation. I'm, of course, not expecting anyone to agree with me on that smile

You can load in a midi file of exercises if you like.
Myself, I'm playing piano for a hobby. And to me those exercises just seem dumb. I've talked about this with my teacher and she disagrees, of course. But I'm fine not playing "Your Song" as smoothly (or whatever) as she does. I'll just play songs and gradually get better at runs, arps and chords as I play them in real songs.

The software programs don't develop musicianship in the same way that sheet music doesn't develop musicianship. That's up to the piano player and teacher.


http://PianoCheetah.app - my weird piano practice program
Re: Anything like Rocksmith for keys?
fizikisto #2404531 03/30/15 03:38 PM
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Originally Posted by fizikisto


It seems like keeping track of all those falling blocks would be harder than actually reading the sheet music. I think it would give me a headache

smile



I agree. My notation is still the blocks, but they sit still and a little green "now" area moves over it in time. Too much scrolling is murder on the eyes.

This screenshop is gettin' old, but...
http://pianocheetah.com/tutorial/img/screen1.png


http://PianoCheetah.app - my weird piano practice program
Re: Anything like Rocksmith for keys?
Colin Dunn #2404549 03/30/15 04:10 PM
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Originally Posted by Colin Dunn
Most piano students (myself included) think that doing technique exercises is a chore. In my own situation, it's easy for me to ignore the Czerny books and jump into playing pieces out of a music book. Yet I know that not having spent enough time on technique is holding back my progress.
I don't think doing etudes for technical development is as effective as working on the technique in your pieces.

Technique comes from repertoire not from exercises. Instead of acquiring a skill in a Czerny exercise, look for a piece that uses it. Better still, look for a piece you like and learn the skills it requires.

I don't agree with building up a set of skills that you can churn out when the music requires it like set pieces or cliches. Learning a new piece on the piano is problem solving. Making an exercise out of the piece's difficulties and overcoming them in isolation is a real learning technique.

Scales, arpeggios and chords, solid and broken, are ubiquitous in classical piano music so practising them benefits most of our pieces but if scales are boring or drudgery they won't be practised effectively so select pieces that make use of scalar passages. Pianoforte technique comes from making music out of the pieces you learn not practising scales and arpeggios.

If you're not going for a concert career or exams talk to your teacher about your real requirements and worry about scales when you want to play them.



Richard

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