Piano Lessons in PDFs With Embedded Audio & Video Are Here to Stay - By: Duane Shinn
Does anyone still doubt that the Internet has deeply changed practically every aspect of modern life? Even people who usually resist technological change have to admit that this is true, even if grudgingly. As a piano teacher who has, more recently, greatly benefited from these new technologies, I can now admit that I should have paid attention to these new technologies much earlier.
Of course, I still have misgivings about certain aspects of the Web. Still, as far as music is concerned, we have no choice but to accept the changes. Anyone can see that the revolutions which have taken place in the music recording industry, thanks to mp3s, file sharing software, and social networking websites are huge, and that there is now no going back to the old ways.
Thanks to PDFs and other Web-based publishing formats, the same is true of music instruction and notation. Like the recording industry, the world of music instruction is changing dramatically. It's not my place to say whether these developments are good or bad. Whatever they are, they are here to stay, so it's best for us recovering Luddites to accept these changes and move on.
The PDF format has been around since the mid 1990s, but as a format for music notation and instruction, it has only recently arrived. Whether or not we are completely familiar with what a PDF is, thee format is the future of online music publication, and countless music instructors and students alike are even now using PDFs for a variety of musical purposes.
In short, PDF stands for "portable document format." It was created by the Adobe software company in 1993, and its purpose is to resemble, as closely as possible, real-life documents. Unlike programs such Microsoft Word, which is basically a word-processing program, Adobe's software focuses on the two-dimensional presentation of words, pictures, symbols, and other graphics on a page. In this light, it's easy to understand why PDFs are perfect for music notation. Obviously, it's practically impossible to create music notation in a word processing document; PDFs provide a highly functional alternative.
Piano PDFs are a story unto themselves. As one of the most popular instruments in the history of the world, piano is at the center of the current boom in music lessons for adults. Naturally, many busy adult pianists have turned to the Web to provide instructions and guidance through the difficult process of learning piano. In an overwhelmingly large number of cases, PDF is the preferred format for Web-based music instructors, as well as those individuals whose hard work is giving us rapidly growing databases of music that was previously only available in real-world books. Instead, now there are PDF's that have video and audio embedded, so it is in essence just like a web page.
So, when you are looking for an online piano instruction service to use, any instructor who uses PDFs is a good bet. This shows that he or she has kept up with emerging technologies and cares about providing a high-quality learning experience for students.
At the same time, if you plan to continue your piano instruction to advanced levels, it becomes more and more important to familiarize yourself with the PDF format. After all, soon you will be proficient enough to seek out pieces to play that are not directly related toy our music instruction. When this time comes, you will want to use one of the many vast online databases of musical pieces, many of which use exclusively piano PDFs.
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Duane Shinn is the author of the popular online newsletter on piano chords, available free at "Exciting Piano Chords & Chord Progressions!"