The Gentle Piano™ program will work with practically any electric piano existing on the market – digital pianos, electronic piano keyboards or MIDI keyboard controllers. The only condition is that this digital piano or piano keyboard has to be GENERAL MIDI compatible, which is true for most of the modern electric pianos. To find out if a particular keyboard is MIDI compatible:
1) check for the word "MIDI" or "GENERAL MIDI" on the piano keyboard front ;
2) look for a pair of round 5-pin connectors, "MIDI In" and "MIDI Out", at the back of the keyboard (or at the bottom for some digital pianos); or
3) the most challenging, read its manual.
To fully use the advantage of the Gentle Piano™ visual and interactive sheet music, you need to connect your electronic piano keyboard to your computer. Follow the manuals for your own equipment. Any solution will work to connect the digital piano, piano keyboard, or MIDI controller to the computer, and when connected, you can start practicing to acquire basic piano skills.
1.YOUR EQUIPMENT: computer, cable, piano. It is all about communication! You, your digital piano and your computer should communicate in a nice, GENTLE manner.A. Connecting wires. If you have USB piano keyboard, make sure that all the drivers are compatible with your computer OS (for that you may GOOGLE the following phrase: 'Free download <YOUR PIANO MANUFACTURER'S BRAND> MIDI driver for <YOUR WINDOWS OS>
If you have IN and OUT MIDI cable connection, you may need to download the latest drivers of the MIDI cable company, IF your MIDI chord won't work for you.
Attention: If connection is not working, first try to switch IN and OUT outlets regardless what is written on the cables!
2. Checking the connection.
1. Open the Gentle Piano Module
2. Press any key on your piano/keyboard
3. If you see on your computer screen a butterfly or a spider, the connection is established.
Find the TUNING program.Click on the icon with you right mouse and run the application as administrator
By default the sounds for all of our modules are set to come from your computer. But if your computer and piano are properly connected, after clicking on the drop down button you will see another option that will make all the sounds come from your piano! This will make a better quality of sound!
To solve ANY problem with the connection always remember: updated drivers either for your piano or your MIDI cable is the key.
4. Our PIANO/KEYBOARDS recommendations:
Our curriculum requires at least 61-keys (5 octaves) keyboard or digital piano. We recommend a simple, (not touch sensitive) keyboard for beginners between 24 months and 5 year old.
*Do you know that Mozart used mostly that many keys?*
1) Size. For the very beginners (especially young beginners), we recommend purchasing a piano keyboard with at least 61 keys. Very soon students will find that a piano keyboard with fewer than 61 keys is just a toy, and they will be able to play only the simplest songs. The full 88 keys keyboard is the best choice for students who are 5-6 years old. For intermediate and advanced students a digital piano is the optimal choice.
2) Piano keyboard versus MIDI controller.
We would recommend purchasing a piano keyboard that includes a sound system rather than just a MIDI keyboard controller, that has no built-in sound, and that can be used only together with a computer. Usually, the sound of even the cheapest piano keyboard is better and more powerful than the computer sound. Otherwise, the computer sound card and speakers must be quite expensive. Also, you can use this keyboard independently, move it around, and even travel with it. The price difference between a piano keyboard and a MIDI controller is small, but, as said previously, you can use either one.
3) Sound. One of the most important features of any piano is the quality of sound. The more closely the piano keyboard reproduces the natural piano tones, the more enjoyment you or your child will experience during your practice and piano performance. On the other hand, at some level, even a small improvement in sound may increase the price of a digital piano by a thousand dollars. We believe that nowadays even the least expensive piano keyboard on the market has a decent sound for learning and practicing the piano. You may select your price category and choose a piano relying on your ear. Switch all the pianos to the "Grand Piano" tone, and press the keys, trying to understand which piano sound you prefer. Usually, it will be a piano with less noticeable "electronic" tones in its timbre.
4) Additional features. Touch-sensitive piano keys are a plus, as also are the weighted keys that simulate the resistance of real piano keys, though these features are not needed for beginners, especially for small children (from 2 to 5). Also, in cheaper models, these features may be tied to the decreased sound quality.
Our piano software does not need additional built-in functionality that some of electric piano producers try to add to the modern piano keyboards, like lighting up the piano keys, adding complicated piano teaching attachments, and including a multitude of music tones and effects. Because any additional functionality makes the using the piano more difficult, distracts the student’s attention, and makes the whole device less reliable, we would recommend going after a piano with better sound and fewer gadgets.
Again, the least expensive piano keyboard that you constantly use for improving your playing skills is much better than nothing, and far better than the best piano collecting dust without being used.