Below is an excerpt from an email I sent to a list of midi developers...
(My hobby is writing a midi sequencer that I'm adding "practicing help" capability to.)
about those lightsss...
Piano teachers say to look at hands as little as possible.
Your eyes should be on the sheet music 99% of the time.
(or screen in the case of =good= learning software).
So those lights introduce bad habits
Better to show the notes on screen next to the music.
You want to get used to going from notated notes on screen to "felt"
places on the keyboard. Well... Ideally... I still look at my
hands... But I'm trying hard to spend time "feeling around".
Using your eyes makes your brain coord eye nerves with hand nerves.
Doing it the right way takes out that eye requirement, speeding up the
hands VERY noticably. And eyes can be used for the single purpose of
note input to the brain - not 2 conflicting paths. You should use
your ears instead of eyes to verify fingering. Sooooooooooooo they
So the ideal flow is sheetmusic/screennotes => eyes => brain =>
fingers at the correct relative position by feeling or absolute
position by spatial awareness => music => ears => verification
When you look at your hands you're doing that "fingers..." part the
easier way BUT your eyes are now multitasking between music input and
And that finger verification (what was that OOP term?) forces finger
position reading nerves and finger position setting nerves to conflict
with each other often which,
COUPLING? was that it? which slows your fingers down. Quite noticably.
Wait, maybe finger position setting is coupled with eye input.
Probably that coupling adds finger position reading coupling automatically.
So that's bad. Yeah.
Seeing what you hit and if it's right or not on screen RIGHT next to
the input notes in real time is a much better way to practice.
Looking at notes flashing on the keyboard ONLY shows the current notes
you need to hit. You're not seeing the next set of notes coming up
(that your fingers need to move to to "cover") simultaneously like you
do on screen.
You also don't know how long to hold each note down, right?
You're waiting on each light to go out - that's the only way you know
duration, not ahead of time, but after the fact.
You're only looking at a tiny tiny slice of the song and that's bound
to frustrate you once you get to a song more complex than a "twinkle
twinkle little star" melody. Once you get carefully orchestrated
pedaled chords into the picture, those lights are useless.
Wooooooooooooo!! Who had too much caffiene this mornin?? That'd be me!!