What is Midi?

MIDI stands for Music Instrument Digital Interface. It is a system that allows electronic keyboards, synthesizers, and sound modules to communicate with each other and with a computer (through the use of software). Basically this means that I can play something on my keyboard and the computer can play it back or print it out or allow me to edit what I have played.


How do I use MIDI?


  • I use MIDI to record accompaniments for my student's pieces. I can record several tracks one at a time and then the computer will play them all back simultaneously. Once I have created an accompaniment I have it forever on disk. I can have the computer play it back for the student to play along with or I can burn the accompaniment on a CD for the student to take home. The advantage of MIDI is that I can speed up or slow down the accompaniment for each student without affecting the pitch. If necessary, I can also change keys without re-recording the whole thing.

  • Through the use of my music publishing software (Finale), I create and print out technique exercises and make special arrangements for students. This is very handy when you know what you want for a student and cannot find it in published music. Being able to play the notes into the computer with an electronic keyboard speeds things up, but it can also be done one note at a time for those who only have a computer and a sound card. Students really appreciate things that have been done especially for them. (I often print on the music - this arrangement was especially created for.......).

  • Students also use "Band in a Box" to listen to various musical styles (i.e. blues, jazz, rock, reggae, ragtime, etc.). They can also create accompaniments to their pieces with this program. It is my favorite program for creating fast, fun accompaniments for my students.

  • Some students also experiment with different sounds by playing on my digital piano. I have it hooked up to headphones so that one student may practice "silently" while another is taking a lesson. This is great when you are teaching siblings that come to lessons together. You can teach one and the other is busy on the digital piano or the computer (which is also hooked up to headphones).


  • The favorite software among my students is "Music Ace"(both 1 & 2). This is almost always the first thing students boot up on the computer. This program is great because it develops the students ear/listening skills.

  • In 1997 I used all of this technology as part of my spring studio recital. The first half of the recital had each student play a traditional recital piece. The second half, each student played a "fun piece" (jazz, musical, rock, etc.) with a MIDI accompaniment. They really enjoyed the experience (as did the parents) and they learned not to stop when they made a mistake - because the accompaniment keeps on going!! A wonderful lesson in keeping a steady tempo and to keep going during a performance.