Zenph Sound Innovations, makers of the $40 Home Concert Extreme iPad app for learning the piano that we like so much, also impressed me mightily with its virtual musician technology. We’re not the only ones who appreciate Zenph’s work in next-generation keyboard technology, either; the Music Teachers National Association gave Home Concert Extreme the Frances Clark Keyboard Pedagogy Award in 2010.
Just in time for the holidays, Zenph announced smaller song packs and individual songs, all with a Christmas theme, that work just like that award-winning app. For the single-song versions, you don’t even need a keyboard, software for putting MIDI files on an iPad, or a MIDI hardware connector for your iPad. And for the song-pack versions, you can use either a regular piano or MIDI keyboard. (Granted, that stuff is not as hard to round-up as it might sound — see requirements – and turns these apps into full-on music teachers.)
Besides being fun and convivial, in an old-school holiday way, these apps teach you how to play Christmas Songs for real on the piano or keyboard — unless you already know how, in which case these apps work great too, thanks to full orchestral arrangements and other features. You can also tweak the tempo, overall volume, and volume of any part of the accompaniment, look at the part just for the left or right hand, and more, but most people are probably just going to want to leave the default settings as they are.
Bring your iPad along to a Christmas party with these apps installed to impress your kith and kin. Or, perhaps even better, use them to teach your kid how to play Christmas carols in time to wow grandma and grandpa.
We added the whole slew of Zenph’s new Christmas-song-teaching apps into our recently-launched database of music apps, where you can learn more and grab the downloads:
$1 Singles (onscreen keyboard, MIDI keyboard, or acoustic piano)
$10 Collections (MIDI keyboard and MIDI iPad connector encouraged; they work somewhat with acoustic piano too)