Using MIDI files to help learn piano pieces

I am an adult piano learner at approximately Grade 4 level. Many of the pieces I am learning are “children’s pieces” and it is difficult to find professional recordings to use for reference. Often I search YouTube for performances and recordings. What I usually find are videos of children (mostly Asian) aged between 6 and 8 who play the pieces quite well.  These recordings give me an idea of the piece, but I can’t rely on them as the best possible interpretation.

What I have done may not be acceptable to my piano teacher or other musicians is to typeset the music to make a MIDI file. I can then play this file at different tempos to get a feel for the rhythm and harmony. In this article I explore a Shostakovich piece called “The Mechanical Doll” from a collection titled “Six Children’s pieces”.

Here is the beginning of the score. I can’t show the entire score of two pages as it is copyright. I got this music from the book “The Joy of Russian Piano Music”  (Selected and edited by Denes Agay).

I typeset the music using the MUP program then used the MIDI file to play sampled piano sounds in the Reason program. Here is my arrangement played at a tempo of 108 beats per minutes.

And now watch two different children playing this piece starting with a boy named Gabriel.

And here is a 6 year old girl named Audrey. Her technique is not as secure but I still enjoyed her playing.


You can download my MIDI file by following this link.

For Windows users I recommend you download vanBasco’s Karaoke player. This allows you to adjust the tempo and play the file.


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