For most of my life I lived and breathed music, it was what I did for my living as well as what I did in my free time. Because of my musical abilities friends and family would always ask “how can I learn to play an instrument” and my response was always “grab an instrument, a good teacher and practice, practice, practice”. Now I realize that this answer is the old-school way of thinking and now there’s vast technological approaches to learning music.
While I’ve checked out my fair share of music teaching apps, most of them are best looked at as a novelty app and not so much as educational. Then this week, I checked out Piano Dust Buster and finally an app that impressed me with its teaching abilities and approaches.
If you (or whoever) have never touched a piano and learning to play Twinkle Twinkle seems like an impossible task, then Piano Dust Buster has got a mode for you: Germ Attack. In Germ Attack you will see notes coming down the screen with pieces of dust falling in a fashion similar to Guitar Hero. The thing is there’s a cartoon granny hoping around on the keys and you must tap on the key that she’s on when the dust falls into place. Sounds like a game doesn’t it? Well it is, but it’s also a clever new way to “light up” the correct keys (such as found on lower end keyboards). So are you playing a game? Sure but you’re actually learning how to play songs as well.
When you’re ready to advance to a more complicated mode, Piano Dust Buster will grow with you. The Staff Master Mode takes the training wheels off and has the music staff scroll horizontally without highlighting the key that needs to be pressed. Now you’re taking the steps in really understanding the piano! Ready for the really cool part? Even though Piano Dust Buster includes virtual keys, you can instead use a real piano (or portable keyboard) to play either of these modes. Now you will learn how to play the piano on real full size keys (you will need iPad 2 or later to use this feature). I can’t stress how fantastic it is to be able to use a real instrument when learning how to play.
The Bottom Line: 9/10
Piano Dust Buster offers a fun approach to learning piano while featuring a great learning curve with different modes and songs that range in difficulty.
Note: While Piano Dust Buster is a great place to get started, you’ll want to find a real teacher if you want to learn technique, fingering, etc.