Music On: Learning Piano Review
The best edutainment game I’ve played in a long time.
Learning Piano plays out just like any other modern music game at first, in that it gives you a track playing in the background and tasks you to play along with it — hitting the proper notes, in the proper sequence, by tapping on the touch screen with the stylus. The thing that separates this one, though, is that the notes aren’t abstractions. Instead of colored gems streaming down the screen at you, you get the actual sheet music and a real set of piano keys to use in playing along. The effect, then, is that you actually are learning piano — you can use this game to practice a song a couple of times, and then take your skills over to an actual real-world piano and really be able to sit down and tap out the tune.
That might not blow your mind, but I love the simplicity of it — and the feeling that I’m actually getting something out of my time invested in playing the game. Guitar Hero never helped me learn a real guitar, and Rock Band only taught me how to snap drum sticks in half.
This download is also well-presented and pretty feature-packed for just two bucks, too, with 15 different classic songs to unlock and learn from Beethoven, Bach, Verdi and more — you’ve heard them all before. The Wedding March is even in there. And the way Abylight separated out the difficulty settings is inspired — on the easiest level the game will pause at each note and wait for you to find and play the right one, helping you get your feet wet with each song. Then you step it up to Normal and the song doesn’t pause any more — it just gives you light-up cues for which note to play and when. Then Hard Mode takes those cues away, further pushing your education along. It’s very well thought-out.
So, again, I’m a fan. If you’re already a piano-playing master, Learning Piano will be below your level and you can safely pass it by. But any current student of the instrument (or lapsed student, like me), could benefit greatly from spending just two dollars to own this unique and actually educational interface.