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.


Author: charuzu

I live in Sydney and interests include music, piano playing, technology, cooking, English language, public speaking, Toastmasters, Asian culture (especially Japan and Korea), cinema, personal development, productivity and making friends with people from around the world.

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