A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this game.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that this game teaches kids how to play the piano keyboard. It also uses the video game motif to teach them how to read music. The game is best used as an intro to music education. A child who is serious about pursuing music shouldn't use it as a substitute for professional instruction.
What's it about?
Fisher-Price's I CAN PLAY PIANO comes packaged with a three-octave, color-coded keyboard that plugs into the audio/video input jacks of your television; it comes with one cartridge containing eight songs that can be played in four different song modes. Kids start by exploring two non-song games, which teach key placement with games involving colored balls and cars. In the song modes, I Can Play Piano uses the innovative \"Piano Wizard\" method (developed by Allegro Multimedia Inc.) to teach kids how to play the piano. By working through four modes of play, kids learn to identify the keys on the keyboard, associate the keys with notes, and eventually learn to read music.
Is it any good?
The songs included in the Piano Favorites cartridge vary from children's favorites like "Row, Row, Row Your Boat" to classical music, including Beethoven's Fur Elise. By purchasing additional cartridges ($15 each), kids can play songs from the Dora the Explorer, Scooby-Doo, and Nicktoons television series. They can also learn to play pop hits, Christmas favorites, and other songs.
Compared with the PC version of Piano Wizard, the software from which this product is based, I Can Play Piano is a better way for little kids to learn. Its interface is easier to navigate, its instructions are better, and the two non-song-based games make learning the keyboard a breeze.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the magic of music. Why is it considered the universal language? Is this a fun way to learn to play the piano? Parents might ask their kids if they were more interested in getting a good score or playing the music correctly. For families who also play the popular game Dance Dance Revolution, how is this game similar?
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Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.