When You Learn With Piano Wizard Academy - You Make Music Learning Child's Play!
How to get started with Piano Wizard Academy
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 to learn how to use your Piano Wizard music learning system.
- The very first thing you'll want to do after you place your order is register for the Piano Wizard Academy Virtual Campus. Silver Membership is free, however Academy customers are entitled to Gold membership which includes a few extra percs. If you are a customer, make sure you sign up using the special link you received in your welcome email upon purchase. If you already signed up as a Silver member, contact us with your purchase information and we'll upgrade you to Gold.
- Review the QuickStart DVDs (these are also viewable at the Virtual Campus in the bonus section once you register as a Gold member)
- Review the Piano Wizard user's manual found at our Helpdesk
- Once you've received your package, install and register your software. Feel free to explore the features and do a little practicing. We're not going to get into how to actually use the game in detail here - you can find those instructions in the Tutorials section, in the Piano Wizard Companion (we sent you the link shortly after you place your order), and in the Virtual Campus Member Forum. But the basic procedure is to start at level one, and as you score high, move up to levels 2, 3, and 4.
- Level 5 is NOT in the game. It's when you take it to a real piano. If you don't have one, you can always use the game in free-play mode.
- After you complete your lesson(s), go back to the Forum at the Campus and share your experiences, or get support from us, or from Don and Delayna.
- The first 50 lessons of our curriculum are included with the Academy bundle. You can download sheet music for lessons 51-100 from our catalog page
Who is this for?
FOR YOU (adults, older teens) - Patience. Our course starts off very easy. While Don and Delayna are engaging in the videos, you might find the early lessons too easy and think "how a I going to learn from this?" Well, we start off slow for a reason - for you to get a hang of the system and feel comfortable moving ahead. The lessons will get more challenging as you progress through the course.
Despite the ease, important musical concepts are introduced in every lesson and we progress upon them through the course. Be patient, have fun and watch the magic that happens. The backgrounds can be changed if you find the appearance too kiddy-like. Or you can remove them completely, it's up to you. Most people like the colorful backgrounds so it's just a personal preference.
FOR YOUR CHILDREN - Piano Wizard is not "Candy Crunch Saga" or "Pac-man". We don't lock the kids up in their rooms and say go do your lesson. Parental involvement is important to our children's success. Without, they will just tend to noodle around and eventually get bored with it.
The videos are actually meant for the adults so they can "coach" their children. The game does the heavy lifting, i.e., they learn by doing, and the game keeps them focused and moving through the song without effort on your part. You do need to set it up, and then set them up with the process, so that they know they are to not just stay in the game, but graduate to playing the piano. This happens in minutes with the game, literally if you follow the guidelines carefully they are reading sheet music on a song they did not know 15 minutes ago. With kids these days though, they figure out the software faster than we do, and then race ahead. You mainly need to slow them down so that they go through each level and song or they quickly load songs they like that are still beyond them.
The key is like anything else, they will pay attention to what you pay attention to. If you reward their successes with star stickers on every level, they will move through the levels to get the star stickers. If you make a big deal about them playing from the sheet music (level 5) they will strive to please you and perform from the sheet music at the piano. If you praise every completed song, they will move through the curriculum with pride.
The surprise is that this involvement is not onerous or burdensome, it is joyful and bonding. We suggest you celebrate everything, and they will too. They will remember having fun learning piano together for many years to come, and so will you. Our goal is that the game acts like "training wheels" for the piano, that they blossom, move off the game, onto other teachers, instruments etc, with a deep love of music and an intrinsic natural understanding of how music "works" from the inside out. Any new song can be loaded into the game, a forgotten one remembered, it is a music learning program for life, but kids naturally progress to other levels in and out of the game from it.
For Parents / Teachers: Mastering the art of the game
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.
This kind of short powerful demo has helped Music Wizard major deals, millions of dollars in sales and investment, dozens of key strategic partners. It is truly powerful if you master it. One of our primary frustrations is this seems too good to be true, and until people see and play it live, they think it must be a trick. It is, we trick the kids to love to learn and learn by doing, following their natural learning pathways, but the results are something you can repeat and duplicate over and over.
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.
Though each person will eventually develop their own styles and methods, the most popular and effective way to learn through our system is by following the method outlined below.
- Choose a song you want to learn. Enable RIGHT HAND only, LEVEL 1.
- Set an acceptable points goal for yourself. Once you meet this goal, switch to the next level, staying only with your right hand.
- Once you have mastered the song through Levels 1-4, with your right hand, switch to your left hand and repeat the process.
- Once you have mastered the song through Levels 1-4, with your left hand, switch to left and right hands together and again, repeat the process.
- Once you master your first song with both left and right hands, it's time to move on to the next song.
It's really that simple!
How important is proper fingering?
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.