As a Mac toting mommy of three there are a number of adventures I want for my children. Learning to play a musical instrument is high on the list.
Real, live pianos are expensive. Keyboards are not. To make the whole piano and keyboard learning process fun and enjoyable for kids, I joined the keyboard to the family Mac. To the mix I added Synthesia, a free keyboard learning game for the Mac.
Make Learning Fun & Almost Free
I’m not keen on Mac apps that haven’t hit version 1.0 yet. I’m willing to make an exception if the app is exceptional, has great value, and even more so if it’s fun and free.
This is your chance to try free (and almost free) to get fun and learn keyboard in the process.
Synthesia is a Mac and Windows PC app that teaches the keyboard in a fun way. Did I mention free? It is. Almost.
Basically, you’re plugging in a USB keyboard to your Mac (or PC) and running Synthesia to learn the keys and practice. Synthesia displays a keyboard on your Mac’s screen which corresponds to the USB keyboard you plugged into the Mac.
For whatever song is selected, Synthesia streams colorful graphics which fall from the top of the screen to the appropriate keys below. So, kids (and adults) can see which keys to hit and with how much force.
In practice mode, Synthesia will wait until the proper key is pressed. Cool, huh? Simple and elegant and chock loaded with songs. Free songs. Synthesia comes with over 100 songs, but any MIDI file downloaded from the internet can be used, so there are literally hundreds of thousands of songs available online.
Musical notation can be enabled for each song which makes it easier for children to begin to learn music the old fashioned way.
Not bad for free, huh? Alright, it’s not quite free. You’ll need a $20 Learning Pack to unlock all the features, including the practice mode, sheet music play, and notes and key labels—all of which make Synthesia less than free, but still an excellent value.
Besides, the Learning Pack comes with six demo songs which are unlocked and free.
An inexpensive, less-than-$100 USB keyboard will suffice and help keep costs down when you’re trying to entice children to learn the keyboard. Synthesia simply makes it fun and easy, Mac or PC. You’ll also get exposed to the online world of MIDI files which you can download and use in Synthesia.
The app is not yet at version 1.0, but works well enough (tough to beat the price) to keep two of my three kids busy for an hour at a time.