The user interface has 5 points of interest as shown in the screenshot below.
This app is the in-between app and the ideal next step after Pre Piano Lessons and before the Little Composers Piano
When the app loads, it defaults to "practice mode" which is good for trying out some ideas. When ready, press RECORD and start playing on the keyboard.
At first, the red and white blocks are empty but as soon as you switch to recording mode, every key you play gets recorded. When all the blocks have been filled, touch the PLAY button and listen to your composition.
How to make changes to the melody?
To erase an existing note, touch the block and then select REST from the menu.
To re-replace a note, touch the block and then play a new key. You can do this as many times as you want to.
What makes the Pre Piano Keyboard so special are the color-coded keys which give you a quick visual sense of two different chords. A chord is a group of three or more notes. The app uses two chords and each chord is based on a color.
The red keys represent the C major chord and the white keys (with the exception of the last white key on top) represents the G7 chord. Every melody you make with this app will be based on a C, G7, G7 and C chord progression. All in all, you can make 1000's of different melodies but the best part is that using this app will prepare you for the much more sophisticated Little Composers Piano which uses some of the same logic but with more complex options.
The musical alphabet
Please take a moment and study the letters on the top left corner of every key. These are the real note names and when you record, those letters get written to the blocks. The colors are just there to help you see and think in groups. The letters are the real melody.
The PLAY button is everyone's favorite because it is like having a music teacher right by your side. When you press play, you get to listen to your composition and watch the keys move. Let the play button teach you how to play all of your songs and you will become a very good composer and well prepared to move up to the next app when you are ready.
Think of a rest as if it were a silent note. Instead of writing a long paragraph about music theory, you can simply create a few rests right now and hear exactly what they do. To get started, we need a song to edit so let's make one. Open the app and record this melody:
CCCC | DDDD | FFED | CCC |
Listen to it maybe 4 or 5 times to establish a reference for our comparison.
Now let's replace some of the notes (letters) with a rest. To do so, touch the second C (block) to make it blink. Then touch the REST button (menu) and you are done. You have replaced the second C of your composition with a rest. Have a listen to the difference one little rest makes. Try to edit your song so that it looks like the one below. Every time you see a minus -, you touch the REST button in the menu.
C - C C | D - D - | F - E D | C - - |
Listen once more to your composition and hopefully you will notice a big difference.
If you are helping a child that has just outgrown the Pre Piano Lessons app then take a bit of time and talk about the animal names. Tell the young student that the animal names start with the same key as these keys do and that in fact, the first white key sounds the same as the bird and so on.
Pre Piano Lessons was based on 7 animals of which the last note was an A (alligator). This app does not record the A note because, during testing, it confused more that it did good so we decided to go with two chord groups instead of three.
Please be patient if you mentor a child and try to see the music the way they do. Listen to what concerns them and just stick to the rules. The red keys fill the red blocks and the white keys fill the white blocks. If you do that, then every composition will sound "right" and the musical will begin to get used to the sounds faster.
The main goal of this app is to prepare a student for the Little Composers Piano which is based on this app but comes with powerful new features. It is important that a child fully understands this app before moving up or there will be moments of frustration which hinders learning. Keep praising, keep listening and reward the effort often. You will be amazed by the results.