Matt   My teacher Matt.       Yamaha Clavinova

The January, 2006, newsletter for one of the five the Senior Centers in Midland County listed a beginning 'keyboarding' class, $30 for 10 weeks, taught by a local music store. A quick call did confirm that the class was about piano lessons, but on an electronic keyboard.

So about 10 of us seniors show up the first time. Matt, our instructor, sits down at this piano that had more switches than a 747 cockpit, messes with about half these switches, and begins to play something. I was convinced the piano was acting like a player-piano and that Matt really wasn't playing anything. But more about this later.

So Matt asks those now two famous questions:

        1 - How many have taken piano lessons before ?      All hands go up.
        2 - How many quit because they couldn't stand the teacher ?     Again, all hands go up!

Now we learned that the world of piano playing (keyboarding) has drastically changed since I gave it up over 60 years ago. No more practicing scales and taking expensive lessons from teachers whose perfection philosophy and 'my way or the highway' attitude caused us all to cut our losses and quit.

So we soon learned that pianos are now electronic, that smaller, portable versions of 61-key keyboards are available for $150 to $500, that left-hand cords are played with one finger and background beats or rhythms can be added 'automatically'. All these capabilities are referred to as 'EZ PLAY®'. A virtually unlimited library of EZ PLAY sheet music is available for purchase. For seniors who have no further goals than to play their favorite songs, this method is ideal. EZ PLAY music is also available for guitar and many other instruments.

Some 4-5 years ago I purchased a Yamaha PSR-240 as a Christmas present for Judy. But we never tried it out, so it has been sleeping all these years in storage.

Well, I got it out for this class, and boy does it have all kinds of capabilities.

It turns out this $150 keyboard has a 100 instrument sounds, 100 song styles (background beats) and 100 demo songs. It will record via a MIDI cable to a computer, although it will not accept song input from any type of memory media.

If you want further information on the EZ PLAY, this Yamaha web site, in addition to complete product information, has a download link for an excellent Flash demo on how EZ PLAY works. (Go to the bottom of the page under What is a Style and click on the link that downloads a 1.3M Flash file.)

This music was recorded by Matt on March 31, 2006, on a Yamaho Clavinova (midi)

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