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RealTime IT News

Yamaha To Test Run Online Piano Lessons

Yamaha Corp., one of the world's largest developers of musical instruments, has begun a test run of its "Cyber Music City" program, offering free keyboard and composition lessons via the Internet.

The trial run is to continue through May 31.

For its Cyber Music City program, Yamaha accepted the first 3,000 applicants--on a first come, first serve basis and regardless of ability--requiring only that the participant have a computer running either Windows 95 or 98, compatible soundboard and keyboard accessories, and at a minimum, an Internet connection of at least 28.8 kbps.

The said participant then received a CD-ROM from Yamaha to fulfill the necessary software requirements.

"We are very excited and enthusiastic about this project," said Saburo "Stan" Seki, manager of Public Relations. "We had a similar idea for about 10 years, but only because of recent technological improvements we were able to realize it now."

"Also, with 500,000 students already studying at our various Yamaha schools throughout the country, we are hoping this will help motivate students and supplement lessons, " he added.

But while Windows-based learners could freely join the trial period, Mac users were feeling left out in the cold.

"We had some complaints from Mac users because this was tailored for Windows only," said Seki. "However, if this program proves successful, we hope to accommodate those users as well."

And if successful, Seki also feels this type of musical Internet lesson could have greater implications overseas.

"Potentially, this could become more popular in America," he said. "Because of the high penetration of the PC in the home, and the overall sophistication of the Internet infrastructure in America. Also, geographically speaking, it just takes too much time to travel back and forth from a school when it could be done on the Internet."

Those involved in the program will be able to utilize software such as "Music Gym" for learning the keyboard, "Melo Pon" for creating melodies that can be sent to others, "What's that Note?" for children, "Quick Composer," and "Digital Camera Music Album," where music clips can be created either from Internet or CD music data.

All learners will have a choice of communicating with a human tutor via e-mail, or by using Yamaha's interactive Intelligent Tutor System, which allows them to study at their own convenience.