Fun iPad apps for kids with MIDI interface for a REAL digital piano? (help!)

Discussion in 'Digital Audio' started by I am Sampson, May 28, 2013.

  1. I am Sampson macrumors 6502

    I am Sampson

    Sep 16, 2007
    Plymouth, UK

    I fancy getting a digital piano (a real one, not an app). I'm considering the Casio PX850 following so many good reviews.

    Basically I want decent iPad apps. I'm getting the piano for two reasons:
    1. So my 5 year old son can start to learn
    2. So I can learn.

    Ideally I'm looking for two types of apps;

    For my son:
    Fun, interactive quiz type game. (like flash cards to find a note and points rewarded if found fast plus VERY basic melody games) - I've seen something like this on far too expensive high end roland digital pianos, but even that wasn't very cartoony and child orientated. I'm amazed this is so hard to find!!!

    For me:
    An app to learn specific songs. Ideally basically Smule's magic piano (which I'm addicted to!) but with MIDI input and working on the actual specific notes.

    I found this site with 148 apps, but 99% seem to be apps to record and edit sound, not TEACH.

    It is teaching I really need.

    The only one close to what I want seems to be Sythesia which may work for me, and Home Concert Extreme for when I get a bit better, but I've found nothing for my son which is more important.

    Any ideas? Thanks in advance.
  2. ChrisA macrumors G4

    Jan 5, 2006
    Redondo Beach, California
    I hate to say it but these games and such do not work nearly so well as paper. Get a book.

    The way you learn a song is one hand at a time one bar at a time then you start putting it together.

    As for "finding" a note. there are only 8 of them. Even chilren figure it out really fast. They typical start with "CDE" and play those three notes. Then add the next 5. Two weeks and you are done.

    THe software really is counter productive.

    This is what is mostly recommended.

    But you learn a lot faster with a real instructor.

    Best online forum for this is
  3. Jessica Lares macrumors G3

    Jessica Lares

    Oct 31, 2009
    Near Dallas, Texas, USA
    I only know of a Mac app that can do what you want as far as learning songs go. But you'd have to pay for every song you wanted. I think you'll find that most of the apps are like that, so it's a lot of money in the end. I have a keyboard that I I've had since I was a kid with 100 songs built in. You might consider something like that.

    GarageBand (also Mac) also has a small library you can purchase songs to learn via a MIDI keyboard.

    But yeah, I'd agree with Chris and say that the books are better. And you want to focus on actually practicing on the piano itself.
  4. I am Sampson thread starter macrumors 6502

    I am Sampson

    Sep 16, 2007
    Plymouth, UK
    Thanks for your help.
    Books will certainly be used as well, but this is for learning to play specific songs. I'm using Sythesia just on the iPad at the moment and it is exactly what I am looking for for me (though maybe needs more expansion), just need something more interactive and child friendly for my son. I'm amazed this doesn't exist yet, I'd pay £50+ for the type of thing I have in my mind... seems like a MASSIVE hole in the market... Wish I were an app developer!

    Yes, the whole point of this is to play on an actual piano... not playing on the iPad, but using the iPad to teach. This is why I'm looking at pianos with a MIDI output so the piano keyboard presses can feed into the iPad and grade you/assist you etc.
  5. ChrisA macrumors G4

    Jan 5, 2006
    Redondo Beach, California
    Garage Band has a set of piano lessons that do what you are asking for. They are very well produced. They actually have pianos and guitar lessons but only the piano works with MIDI input.

    The problem is that there simply is no way software no matter how it works can be any better then just playing the piano. People have wished for some kind of instructional software and i've seen quite a bit of it. (there is no shortage) But none is more then a gimmick.

    That said the Apple Garage Band is about as good as I've seen. It does the grading you asked for. Try it.
  6. steve-p macrumors 68000


    Oct 14, 2008
    Newbury, UK
    Check out an iPad app called NoteWorks which is pretty good.
  7. antikewl, Mar 28, 2014
    Last edited: Mar 28, 2014

    antikewl macrumors newbie

    Mar 28, 2014
    A belated resurrection of this thread as I've just been investigating this myself. The best iPad apps, where you can plug in your MIDI piano and actually learn stuff I've found are Piano Maestro ( and Piano Tutor ( Synthesia ( is also pretty good for a little mess around (enable the sheet music view).

    Music Tutor is really good if you're trying to improve your sight reading skills (also works on iPhone so great for a quick test while on the go).

    By far the best I've found for the nearest to a piano teacher is Musiah, but it's not yet available on iPad (due later this year, apparently). But it's available on Mac and PC for now if you're able to move your piano close to your piano (or have a Macbook). It basically starts right back at the basics and builds upon them. It's also very unforgiving, which is PERFECT for a piano tutor! :) It's very much aimed at kids with its sci-fi characters and story to keep them interested, but I've been using it for the past month with a lot of success; I'm 38!

    Hope that helps!
  8. pinguthepenguin macrumors newbie

    Jan 26, 2008
    @I am Sampson

    I found this thread useful, and coincidental!

    We just bought a Casio PX850 so our 5 year old son could learn to play the piano. His parents also intend to learn.

    It was our intent to help him learn by making use of a variety of resources, traditional lessons, books, and also ipad applications.

    Would be great to hear how you are getting on, and what software you settled on.

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