piano wizard FAQ

Frequently asked questions about Piano Wizard

What is Piano Wizard Academy?

Piano Wizard Academy is a combination of our Award-Winning 4-step learn to play piano software, plus DVD lessons, and printed sheet music. (step 5).

Click here to learn more about how Academy was created.

A digital keyboard is required for use with the software.  We can provide that or you can use your own.  Learn more about Academy here.

 What do I get in this package?

You get a complete system that lets you teach your children how to play the piano. The Piano Wizard Academy exclusive package includes:

  1. Piano Wizard Academy Family Pack 50 PlusOptional professional USB Keyboard with USB cable (plugs right into your computer)
  2. Award-Winning Piano Wizard software (a revolutionary 4-step game to get your kids playing and reading music naturally)
  3. Piano Wizard Academy QuickStart DVD (to help you get setup and started)
  4. 200 ready-to-play songs loaded into your software with the ability to easily add any of your favorite songs and load them into the software as well
  5. 50 video lessons in 10 DVDs that: Guide you through every phase; Are geared toward parents, non-musical educators and piano teachers; Teach you to be your children’s “music coach”
  6. Contain the equivalent of a full year of college curriculum (but are created for kids and adults of all ages)
  7. 50 songs in sheet music (5 books of 10 each) that coordinate with the software and video lessons
  8. 50 additional self-taught lessons
  9. Star stickers to help you celebrate every time your children learn a new song!
  10. Stickers (washable and removable) to color-coordinate the keys of your keyboard with the computer game
  11. Free Gold membership at our Virtual Campus

For complete details, see our buy Piano Wizard Academy page.

What separates Piano Wizard from all the other software methods out there?

Our piano learning software is a video game. When you play the game, you are having fun, unknowingly practicing, and subliminally learning to read music too. The game’s patented sound and color learning cues transform tedious and repetitive practice sessions into an exciting and rewarding video game experience for people of all ages and musical abilities. The initial goal of Piano Wizard is not to teach the technical aspects of music, but to engender a familiarity with music, how it is structured and played, and to develop the enthusiasm for learning to play the piano keyboard. Theory comes later.Piano Instruction

Traditional piano lessons teach musical notation first before ever playing a song. But most of us don’t want to wade through the hieroglyphics of music notation before we get to play. We want to play NOW. Piano Wizard incorporates a music before theory method that is in line with the way we naturally learn. Now anyone can easily learn to play the piano and play real songs in minutes – not weeks, months, or years by using our revolutionary patented Four-Step method. Better S.A.T. scores

Because our piano software method only uses POSITIVE REINFORCEMENT it’s specifically designed to quickly build a player’s confidence and self-esteem. The game automatically rewards players for touching the right note and ignores mistakes, encouraging and conditioning players with fun and entertainment, to keep them practicing and playing while they learn practical music and piano skills.

How is this different from Rock Band®, Guitar Hero®, or other software?  Is this just another type of advanced "air guitar" and a similar waste of time?

Actually, while Guitar Hero and Rock Band are fun games, they don’t use real songs, let alone teach musicianship or how to get away from the game and play a real instrument. The Piano Wizard Academy does all that in minutes! Plus, many have said that it is even more fun than those popular games. You may have even seen similar looking software...at least similar to our Step 1.  That's where comparisons end.  While that other software may help learn a song,  with Piano Wizard, you not only learn the song, but you learn how to read music along the way.  Add our 2 years worth of  lessons on DVD and you have an entire learn how to play piano package at a fraction of the cost of traditional lessons.

How old should my child be to use the system?

We recommend age 3 and older. However, we have seen children as young as 2 using it. That will depend on how well the child knows their colors, how disciplined they are, have they played video games before, and how big their fingers are to reach the different keys. Only you can judge the maturity level of your children.

That said, it's been proven that early music learning is very valuable to children so you do want to start them early in life.

Is this just for kids?

Not all. People of all ages have enjoyed Piano Wizard – from kids to teenagers to seniors. The “background themes” may give the game the look of a child’s game, but they can be changed or removed to suit your taste. Many adults love using the colorful themes – it just makes them “feel” like a kid again!

I am not musically oriented – how can I help my child with the program?

IT IS DESIGNED SO PEOPLE WITH NO MUSIC EXPERIENCE CAN BOTH TEACH IT AND PLAY.  Parental “coaching” assures that children will excel with your encouragement and support.

Many parents overlook a music curriculum, not because they don’t believe it is important, but because they feel ill-equipped to teach such a large (and seemingly daunting) subject. With Piano Wizard Academy, problem solved. You CAN have your cake and eat it too!

We also assume zero previous musical experience for either the parent or child. 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 (parent/teacher) 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.

Can I use Piano Wizard Academy for homeschooling music?

Yes! And many families do just that and have made it an integral part of their children’s home school curriculum.

Will I (or my child) really learn to play piano?

We get that question a lot, because it just seems too good to be true. But in fact, the game was designed primarily to teach people to easily play and read music, not just to entertain, but using play and interactive feedback as a guide and motivator. That being said, once the game came out we saw that the kids tended to stay within the game if not invited to the piano, but that when they did get invited to play on a real piano, they loved picking out the songs they had learned.

Our whole Academy is designed specifically to systematically bring the kids off the game onto the piano, playing real music they learned in the game, but it requires a facilitator such as a parent, a non-music educator or piano teacher to reinforce that behavior, habit and goal. That outside facilitator and coach could get incredible results if they just knew how to walk their students or children through the sequence. Kids want to please, and want to be rewarded, and they want attention and interaction with their parents. That is the food they seek, and by structuring our Academy to be a great musical facilitator of that precious time spent together, we found this had a natural and wonderful bonding effect and motivating force on both parents and children that led naturally to showing off at the piano…really quickly.

The visual, aural and kinesthetic feedback and interaction cross train the mind to master the little universe that is the song in amazing ways. Once a song is mastered, the music notation is merely a reminder and guide of a path well traveled. Then they can explore the pedal, the phrasing, the nuance that makes music so personal and so special. Endless variations and little experiments in sound ensue, both in and out of the game.

This is a deep program, made with lots of care and years of development work. It gets results if you follow it. But there is the old joke of the guy who bought a chainsaw and brought it back and wanted his money back, saying it took him ten times as long as the old way with the axe. The store manager was puzzled, took it outside and pulled on the start up chain, revved up the chainsaw, and the customer exclaimed, “What’s that sound?”

Once you have the videos, the software, the sheet music and guidelines, it is up to you to follow them. IF you follow the video guidelines and then replicate the pattern your kids will learn to play and read at least 5 songs in a week or less.

Do we think the Piano Wizard Academy is the only instruction you will ever need? We hope not, there are wonderful teachers out there ready to take you into the next levels of technique, phrasing, interpretation, improvisation and the deeper arts of music. But this game can take you surprisingly far, mainly because it lets you practice almost any song or passage, and master that, and then go to the next level. The real gift and secret is that this is a joyful way to practice, and the music making just comes.

What’s the difference between Piano Wizard 2.0 Next Gen and 1.x (Premier software)?

2.0 (Next Gen) is our new game engine which features enhanced graphics and sound. Our Premier software sound output used the MIDI sounds on your computer – and in many cases, didn’t sound too good. Next Gen uses Soundfont technology – digital samples of real instruments. Now the game sounds exactly the same on any computer system. Next Gen doesn’t introduce new features to the game – yet. But the new engine will allow for ease of future development as we plan to implement new features in future upgrades.

The first product containing the new engine was our Holiday Starter Version. A few months later, we released Cymphonique Piano Wizard. The 2.0 game engine has now been implemented in our Next Gen software (replacing Premier), and currently available with Piano Wizard Academy.

What are the system requirements for running the software?

  • Our Next Gen 2.0 SOFTWARE is FULLY compatible with Mac OSX and Windows 98 through Windows 7 / 8 /10 – 32 and 64 bit systems.
  • Our software is hybrid – will install on PC or MAC.
  • Windows 98SE / ME / 2000 / XP /Vista/ Windows 7 / 8 / 10
  • Macintosh Mac OS X versions 10.2.8 and above
  • 733+ MHz processor, 32 MB video card
  • 200 MB free hard drive space
  • Internet access to register, update game, and download more songs.

* In regard to our discontinued Premier Software, there is an issue with Vista upgraded to 7, a non-fresh install can cause issues but has been resolved by using Windows XP Compatibility Mode when running the Piano Wizard Premier software.

The M-Audio KeyRig 49’s native software (LiveLite) is NOT compatible with Windows 7. This has no effect on usage with our game. The M-Audio KeyRig 49 also has issues with plug-and-play in some instances of Windows 7, however, that issue can be EASILY remedied by following a few simple steps on the M-Audio website.

If you use Windows 8, please review Windows 8 Keyboard Troubleshooting.

Will it run on an iPad or tablet?

No. You cannot run software programs on such devices, only “apps.”  That being said, we do have a Piano Wizard App for ipad in development.  It’s a much scaled down version of our software and will not include all the extras you get with Academy, such as DVD’s, songbooks, etc.

My computer doesn't have a CD Drive

We can provide downloadable version of our software so you need not worry about not having a CD Rom.

What songs will I learn to play?

Piano Wizard software includes 200 songs – 100 lessons and 100 additional songs. Most are well known recognizable traditional tunes ranging from Twinkle Twinkle Little Star to Beethoven’s 5th Symphony. You can also import any MIDI file from a song that you want to play and it will render into our 4 step game format.

For the best possible and most accurate learning solution, you’ll want a high quality professionally done MIDI file. If you are adept at MIDI programming, you can also create MIDI files yourself and load it in the game. This is very useful for teachers that want to add their own curriculum to the game. Be wary of systems that focus on letting the student learn only with songs they like or want to play. There is “gold” in classical and traditional music and each song we include teaches a particular lesson, fundamental, or technique. Of course, after the lessons, with Piano Wizard’s MIDI file import feature, you can then start to learn songs you would like to play.

How do I use the sheet music?

Our software includes 100 lessons (equivalent to 2 years of children's level curriculum).  With Academy Family Pack 50, we include DVD video lessons and sheet music for the first 50 lessons.  Lessons 51-100 are self-taught.

The object is to go through Steps 1-4 in the game, then move on to the piano (or digital keyboard) to play the lesson by reading the corresponding sheet music.

Downloadable sheet music for lessons 51-100 is available as an additional purchase at our shop.

Does Piano Wizard teach Ear Training?

I’ve seen this question asked a number of times so I though I should address it. The secret to ear training is repetition and there are a number of ways that Piano Wizard facilitates this. First of all the connection between a particular key on the piano and a particular sound is reinforced constantly and naturally with the game-play. The singing of the note names (when enabled) while in steps 3 and 4 also reinforce this association.

What many people associate with ear training is identification of musical intervals and chords. Piano Wizard does not address this directly, but games can be created by piano teachers or musically literate parents with the Free Play mode where they can both hear and see the notes and intervals and chords they create, making a very abstract drill a little more fun.

Will learning with the color-coded system impede my child’s transition to a piano?

Not at all – and quite the opposite. There’s a reason we call Piano Wizard “training wheels for the piano”. When you learned how to ride a bike, you had training wheels. Then your parents took them off and held you until finally you rode the two-wheeler on your own. The same process takes place with Piano Wizard (and the same excitement!). The transition is so natural through sensory learning and repetition that the color take-away is hardly noticeable.

I am not musically oriented – how can I help my child with the program?

We call the Piano Wizard method “learning for the rest of us”.  It is perfect for non-music educators. You don’t need to be musically inclined or educated to learn to play, or to help your children learn to play. Simply watch the DVDs and follow the steps and you become a “coach”.

When it comes to any educational program, it’ up to the parents to “guide” the child through. Kids are easily able to adapt to a schedule, so we recommend you set a routine of 1 to 2 lessons per weeks and stick to it. If the parent loses interest or suddenly finds he or she no longer has the time for it, the child may lose interest too.

How soon can I go from the game to sheet music?

At trade shows we regularly can take an absolute novice from zero to playing a simple song with both hands from levels 1 to 5 (reading the sheet music) in 10 to 20 minutes, depending on their inhibitions. (Some people have so much musical trauma from past bad experiences, half the battle is getting them to stop criticizing themselves and talking themselves down, and actually try. Those are the most amazed, because they didn’t start at zero, they started at negative 50 in their minds.) Afterwards they are stunned at how much they learned, and the sheet music they just read. The mind is an incredible sponge, you just can’t fill it up with an eyedropper, you need to immerse it in action and interplay, then it absorbs.

The short answer is YES. So fast you won’t believe it, even after you did it. And because it is open source converting any MIDI into a new game, any new song can be imported at will, there is no upper limit what you can do. It is really a self-contained music learning system for life.

I don’t have a real piano.  How do I progress from the game to piano (Step 5)?

If you are serious about playing piano, eventually you’ll want a real one.  But if that’s not possible, digital keyboards will do.  While you are learning you can easily use your digital keyboard on step 5 (reading the sheet music).  If you are using our USB keyboard, just open up free play mode in the game.

How Do I Use Piano Wizard Academy?

What digital keyboards work with Piano Wizard?

Actually, any digital MIDI keyboard will work with the software. Issues may arise with the keyboard communicating with your computer. These issues are usually resolved by downloading the proper driversfrom the manufacturer’s web site. Other issues may involve adjusting computer settings.

MIDI is short for Musical Instrument Digital Interface and is an electronic musical instrument industry specification that enables a wide variety of digital musical instruments, computers and other related devices to connect and communicate with one another. Most digital keyboards today have MIDI capability. To ensure that it is, on the back of the keyboard will be 1 or 2 black plugs that say MIDI Out and possibly also MIDI In.

Keyboard Setup
Click to enlarge

There are two kinds of digital keyboards to choose from. Some are called “MIDI Controllers” and are usually powered by a simple USB cord attached to your computer. These keyboards do not make any sound on their own and connect with another device to play the sounds. For example, we may bundle the M-Audio KeyRig 49 with Piano Wizard Academy. This keyboard is a 4 octave USB powered MIDI controller. It is affordable, practical, lightweight, easily storable, great for beginners and for music professionals. For it to play sounds it needs to connect to another device. For most of our users, that device will be their computer and the sounds will be triggered from a software program such as Piano Wizard or other software included with that keyboard.

A musician may use the MIDI controller keyboard connected to a “sound module” to play professional digital sampled sounds. So, while certainly not a toy, it will be reliant on other devices to make music. For some examples, take a look at our CATALOG.  You may also find these in your local Walmart, Target, or Apple Stores.

Then you have other full featured digital keyboards that have their own built in sounds – such as Yamaha, Casio, Korg, etc. While the professional musician may use the MIDI controller above for certain aspects of music playing and recording, he/she will be using one of these for performance purposes. You may find these anywhere from local Walmarts to large music stores such as Sam Ash or Guitar Center. Depending on the model, they can run from a couple of hundred dollars to thousands. Many of these keyboards may also attach to computer via USB. Some may require a MIDI-To-USB cable. If you need this particular cable, we recommend you contact the keyboard manufacturer for information on obtaining a compatible cable for that keyboard.

See How To Connect Digital Keyboard to Computer

I already have a digital MIDI keyboard or am planning on getting one.

No problem – you can buy Piano Wizard Academy bundle with or without a keyboard. If you use your own keyboard you will need either a USB or MIDI-To-USB cable to connect it to your computer. If you already have such a cable you are all set. If not, then you will need to purchase an appropriate cable. You may also need to install the hardware drivers, usually available from the manufacturer’s web site.

Also review How To Connect Digital Keyboard To Computer

I need help setting up my keyboard

Please review our Knowledge Base first, and then our Help Desk if needed.

Also review How To Connect Digital Keyboard To Computer

Is there a guarantee?

Yes, the Piano Wizard Academy comes with a solid money-back guarantee. Normally 30 days, we’ve temporarily extended it: Take up to 60 Days to try it out with your family. If you don’t like it for any reason, let us know.

Music Wizard Group will refund your entire purchase price (all you’ll have to pay for is shipping). As Chris (the founder) from Music Wizard Group says; “you’d be hard pressed to find a piano teacher with that kind of guarantee.”

Please note that this policy does not apply to digital download products as once order is received, no refunds can be granted. There are no digital downloads associated with Piano Wizard Academy though.

Do you offer a payment plan?

If you check out using Paypal, you may be eligible for their Paypal Credit option and enjoy no payments/no interest for 6 months. You may apply after checking out and being transferred to Paypal. Here’s a step by step guide on how to apply for Paypal Credit

I am not eligible for Paypal Credit payment Plan

Unfortunately, not everyone is eligible. And the plan may not be offered in all countries outside of the U.S.

We can also offer a Layaway Installment plan of 2-6 easy payments at the interval you choose. The drawback of course is that we cannot fulfill your order until all installments are paid.  That said, it does provide an easy way to pay. Contact us for more information.

Can I just purchase the software?

Is your goal to learn to play piano or learn to play a video game? We’ve asked customers this question: “Would you rather spend $100-$200 on a video game, or would you be willing to pay more to get a complete music learning system?” Most choose the latter. While the software alone is fun and engaging, it provides no feedback, no discussion of technique, and no direction.  Without guidance and a roadmap (through the Quickstart DVDs featuring our teachers Don and Delayna), kids will tend to just noodle around and eventually become bored with the game. With the Academy package, you get your own personal teachers (The Beatties) who lead you every step of the way. There is simply no comparison with the results you will achieve with the entire system v. the software alone.

I am not eligible for Paypal Credit payment Plan

Unfortunately, not everyone is eligible. And the plan may not be offered in all countries outside of the U.S.  We can also offer a Layaway Installment plan of 3 or 4 easy payments at the interval you choose. Contact us for more information.

Can I just purchase the software?

Is your goal to learn to play piano or learn to play a video game?

We’ve asked customers this question: “Would you rather spend $100-$200 on a video game, or would you be willing to pay more to get a complete music learning system?” Most choose the latter. While the software alone is fun and engaging, it provides no feedback, no discussion of technique, and no direction.  Without guidance and a roadmap (through the Quickstart DVDs featuring our teachers Don and Delayna), kids will tend to just noodle around and eventually become bored with the game.

With the Academy package, you get your own personal teachers (The Beatties) who lead you every step of the way. There is simply no comparison with the results you will achieve with the entire system v. the software alone.

I saw Piano Wizard advertised elsewhere for less. Where should I buy it?

First, make sure you are comparing apples-with-apples. There are different bundles available. You get the complete system from us. Secondly, you’ll want to be sure that the seller if an authorized reseller of Piano Wizard otherwise you will need to purchase a software license from us (see above). When you purchase from us, you get guaranteed software activation, and no hassle returns. In addition, we provide many bonuses like the Virtual Campus that are only available by buying direct. If you have any questions about a particular reseller, please write to us.

I would like to try it first. Is there a Trial or FREE version of Piano Wizard available?

Not at this time. Remember, our money-back guarantee offers you a no-risk opportunity to try Piano Wizard Academy in your home for 60 days.  We have a little online piano game that you can try to get a feel of the game, however, it only shows a scaled down version of Step 1 of the game in flash format, doesn’t use an actual digital keyboard, and doesn’t display the many features of our actual software.

I like this but it seems expensive and beyond our budget

At first look, some may initially think that it seems expensive. However, if you compare the cost of piano lessons and how they can run into the thousands of dollars (per child!), Piano Wizard Academy is in fact an excellent value. If you break down the price, one can determine the cost is less than $4.00 per lesson. (and you get a keyboard too!) And that value only increases with each child you have using it.

At first glance, one may wish to “comparison shop“. If you’re like most people, you understand that you “get what you pay for”. We are not the cheapest, nor the most expensive. However, Piano Wizard Academy is simply more effective than the other methods out there…and certainly more fun.  That makes is more “economical” too.

Plus we’ve made it simple for families to try it without risk in their own homes for 60 days. If you find it’s not for you, simply return it for a full refund. It’s been proven to be equivalent to 1-2 years of piano lessons with a hands on instructor – and a lot more fun.

Paypal offers 6 months of no payments or interest for 6 months, so utilizing that can satisfy any budget. (see below)

Do you accept Purchase Orders?

Absolutely. Please fax your P.O. to 1-303-530-4217 or for more information click here.

For more information on our school programs or to request a quote, please review our Bach2School page.

Weren’t you guys working on a version for guitar called Guitar Wizard?

Yes we were. Unfortunately, that project has been put on hold for now, although we still hope to have that fully developed in the future.

It sounds just too good to be true.

We get that a lot – always from folks that haven’t actually tried it. But our system has been proven and we know it works. If you are still skeptical, we invite you to try it for yourself. Remember, we back it with our rock-solid money-back guarantee so you have nothing to lose and everything to gain.

Still have questions?  Live help may be available (if visible on lower right of screen) - or write to us.

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