Piano Wizard is an amazingly simple video game with a “hidden agenda”. That agenda is real music learning that is subconsciously revealed. Yes, the game is easy to use but in order to get the most out of it, we strongly recommend that you follow these instructions.
We will point you to extensive online resources for you to learn the program backwards and forwards, so you can play and teach how to play it effectively.
The first and best resource is to watch the Piano Wizard Academy Quickstart DVD, which comes with the Piano Wizard Academy. (You can also view these at the Virtual Campus) This will give you an overview how the whole program works, as well as an in depth demo how to teach Song 1 (Your Dreams) all the way to level 5 (reading sheet music). Mastering that one skill will give you the confidence and ability to effectively demonstrate and sell the product to virtually anyone interested. All your other skills, with the game, with the setting up of a home party, with other online marketing tools, will build from that simple core.
The second resource is also “in game”, Piano Wizard Academy comes with
1) A set up poster
2) A set up video on the software CD
3) The Help/Demo Flash videos showing every screen and every button (Access from the main opening menu of the software)
4) Inside the game, those tutorials above are accessible from the Help tab on the far left in Premier mode
5) Online at www.pianowizardacademy.com click on the Support tab. From there you can find many tutorials, a user manual, and FAQs.
The third resource are the following training videos. The first demo shows Maria, age 10, playing a fairly complex song from book One on all five levels, all the way to reading the sheet music. It is the base for the next video “How to Demo Piano Wizard Academy”. Watch this video first, then “How to Demo Piano Wizard Academy”, and then finally there is a “How to Demo: Quick Summary”. Watching and studying these 3 videos will empower you to do a quick, powerful and successful demo of the full range of capability of the Piano Wizard Academy system.
Finally, the demo can be done with any of the songs in Book One or Two, if you are working with either special needs population or someone with lots of doubts about themselves musically, if you wish, start with Your Dreams, song One, Book One. We chose this song "Wings" to show how fast and far they can go even with a song that spans a full octave, but the same principals and sequence can be done with almost any of the first 20 songs with raw beginners. If it is still too complex, have them just play one hand and do the other hand with them, until they feel comfortable. We find, because the hands alternate, they can master both hands right from the start and feel great about it. Have FUN most of all, and be prepared to be truly amazed.
At Piano Wizard Academy, we introduce good piano technique from day one. Hand shape is important. Fingers can be neither too curved nor too flat. If we hang hands at our sides and keep that shape, we're off to a good start. Based on the teachings of Beethoven, Chopin and Liszt, we do not play piano well or have good technique by relying only on the fingers. We really play more with hands and arms. It is the hand's responsibility, not the fingers, for the descent of each key.
All of this is so important to playing both piano and the game well. In the Academy lessons, we move quickly from the game to the piano and are thrilled to see the impact of the game on the overall learning experience. Of course, all of this is yet in it's infancy, but the future is so promising.
After your child is comfortable with the game, you may want to turn on fingering. The objects will now show which finger should be used for each note. (please refer to step 3 above). You will also find these lessons in the Advanced Mode in the folder "Easy Mode". The advanced mode will allow you to enter your own fingering.
Actually the first question to ask is what is "proper fingering"?
Fingering is not an absolute -it's just a technique. When entering your own fingering, make it comfortable for yourself or your child. Remember, their fingers are smaller than yours!
While the Academy lessons within the Piano Wizard game have fingering information, most WizardTunes - or other MIDI files you load into the game do NOT. However, once you have learned the basics after completing your Academy lessons, you can easily incorporate what you've learned into each new song. Remember, good technique is more important than proper fingering. That being said, once the student learns the basics of fingering (by actually DOING) they will learn to play smoother - and faster.
When the student is playing on step 3, introduce fingering, and MOST IMPORTANTLY, sing the fingerings WITH him/her. I have demoed this game thousands of times over the years, but when I have the children SING the fingering, they learn it the FIRST time through. This for me will be emphasized more and more in future lessons, because apparently there is something amazing about singing and memory that makes this feel effortless.
Once he/she has sung through the fingerings in Step 3, THEN take away the colors (I also take away the guidelines, they are a bit distracting with the staff lines) and have him/her sing (quality of singing not important, but singing is) and make sure he/she can play on level 4 quite well.
Then go to the book and point out the fingering in the book, and SING the fingering along with your child. They should do much better.
Now you are ready to watch the video lessons and use the accompanying Academy material.
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