For about a year now, I’ve been teaching my kids piano using the Piano Adventures Series Books. I really like the instructional books very much and can get them sent here to Japan for a very reasonable price from Sheetmusicplus. Although I bought a few of the CDs which are great, I was extremely excited that new “Enhanced” CD versions were recently released. These CDs include standard MIDI files that can be accessed with a computer. When used with your software, keyboard, or synthesizer, the MIDI files allow you to adjust tempos, isolate track playbacks, and transpose to different keys. In addition, there are special bonus MIDI files for the Piano Adventures Performance Books and the Technique & Artistry Books which are also included on the lesson CD.
Basically the Piano Adventures CDs for each level have been consolidated to include ALL of the MIDI files which is absolutely fantastic. This saves you about $40 and is an incredible deal. I am not sure how long these Enhanced CDs will be around, so I quickly bought levels Primer, 1A, 2A, 2B, and 3A enhanced CDs. The Enhanced CD for level 3B is unavailable at the moment, but I’ll definitely want to pick that up as well. My kids LOVE the midi files because they can jam along with them using their Yamaha QS300 or other sequencers we have. They also like to listen to future tracks not to mention review tracks from the past. The audio CDs are great for the car or in the lesson, but for practice, nothing beats the MIDI files played from a sequencer. You can “music minus one” any part of the song and this allows kids to get creative and experiment. You can also isolate the piano track that the kids are learning and this allows them to improve their “play by ear” experience as well.
I should also note that the MIDI files on each CD are formatted so that each track contains an instrument such as drums, piano, bass, sax, flute, etc. Kids mute track 1 so that they can play the piano part. Or they can keep track one playing and either listen or play over the top of it. The MIDI tracks are lively and very inspirational. The arrangements are very well done and highlight a number of different instrument sounds and rhythms. In the Yamaha QS300 for example, the tracks loaded up with the appropriate GM MIDI instrument just fine. I didn’t have to program or make any special adjustments.
The Piano Adventures MIDI files are a gold mine of inspiration and fun. My kids love jamming and playing along with the MIDI files and I can’t thank Faber enough for producing these Enhanced CD versions. In fact, I kind of feel sorry for all the people who must have spent a fortune in the past buying all of the MIDI CDs separately for each lesson, performance, and artistry book. Plus you had to buy the audio CD separately as well. Now that everything is consolidated into one CD at the price of around $10, I’m sure they will be an instant hit. Note that the Piano Adventures CDs do sellout and it took me almost six months just to get the Level one CD. I’m not sure why. So I recommend picking up as many as you can while they are available.
Enjoy! – Jim
I have stopped ordering from SheetMusicPlus. The customer and shipping service is terrible!!
I ordered from Sheepmusicplus to see if their shipping was any better. Nope! Sheetmusicplus still has the worst shipping! No more from Sheetmusicplus EVER! Buyer Beware!!