From the desk of Elaine Schoch...
I spent last Friday at the Angel Capital Summit where I was on the official “Tweet Team”. In addition to live “tweeting” I was able to do a few live interviews with some of the companies presenting at the event. Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to speak with all 40 companies but there were a few I wanted to blog about since they’re really interesting Colorado-based businesses and I had a chance to either sit in on their presentations or chat with them personally.
Allegro Multimedia: Piano Wizard
Allegro Multimedia is a provider of music video game software – Piano Wizard and Guitar Wizard. This is one of companies I’m most excited about, mainly because they taught me how to play Billy Joel’s Up Town Girl on the piano! If you know me, I’m tone deaf and have no rhythm so this was no easy feat. Yet, Jan Altman accomplished what my piano teacher never could when I was 10 years old.
Piano Wizard teaches people how to play songs through a video game method. Its simple interface allows players to learn by doing, simply by hitting the right key at the right time. (Kids can shoot space ships while learning how to play Bach. I so would have rather played “space invaders” when I was 10 and trying to learn “Mary had a Little Lamb”.)
There are other similar products on the market but what makes Piano Wizard unique is its four-step teaching process that introduces kids to the keyboard, sheet music and popular piano songs – all while playing a video a game. I was able to sit down with Jan and have her do an online video interview/demo with me but unfortunately, the clip was lost. However, they have an online demo you can check on their site.
How Piano Wizard Works:
First, players follow vertically moving game objects as a guide for hitting the right notes. It then progresses by rotating the video screen, making game objects travel horizontally, thus mimicking the lines of the staff and providing insight into musical theory. Next, game objects transform into colored notes on the grand staff, then finally into traditional black & white notation. Using any digital piano as a “joystick,” Piano Wizard is fueled by MIDI song files, which are readily available for download at online sites like CYBERMIDI.com and the soon to be launched Wizardtunes.com.
(Um, I would appreciate it if someone could put in a good word with Santa for me because I would like to learn how to play “Piano Man”...