Tuesday, October 6, 2015

How to throw the perfect Halloween party and showcase your Disklavier

The perfect Halloween party can be a legendary event, just think back to your most memorable Halloween or look at the parties thrown by celebrities like Bette Midler or Neil Patrick Harris. Creepy costumes, frightening food, devilish decorations and macabre music are all necessities. Halloween is the ideal time to showcase your Disklavier and wow guests with your haunted piano. To ensure you throw a spectacular Halloween party, we’ve collected some party tips and recipes, as well as your must-have Disklavier set up guide.


As the host of the party, you’ll need a stand-out costume. Whether or you rent, buy or make a costume, the devil is in the details. Here are some great homemade Halloween costume ideas for adults and children. It’s also a great idea to have a costume chest for guests who have either not worn a costume or forgotten an accessory.

A professional make-up artist can put on the finishing touches on your costume. He or she will be able to create stunning cat eyes, realistic abrasions or completely transform your everyday look into something horrific or utterly glamorous! Here’s a collection of horrifying looks for inspiration.

Food & Drinks 

When it comes to Halloween party food, the first step is decide how extreme you are willing to go. It’s a good idea to balance themed food like severed fingers cookies, or oozing gelatin brains, with other foods that your guests will actually want to eat. We love these Halloween bites:

Halloween Party Appetizers

Classy Halloween Treats

Graveyard Dirt Cake

Whether you’re hosting a party for kids or adults a Halloween-themed drink will get all of your guests talking. For an added bonus serve your drink in a black cauldron, and if it's safe add dry ice for a smokey effect. Here are some ideas for kids drinks or adults-only beverages.


Whether you plan to hire someone to decorate your house or love getting down and dirty putting up cobwebs, you absolutely need to set the mood for any Halloween party. You can create totally immersive haunted party with some cotton, burlap table cloths and any host of Halloween adornments like these inspirational DIY Halloween decorations. Regardless of your level of décor, having your haunted Disklavier playing front and center will wow your guests. With piano keys and pedals that appear to play themselves, it's the perfect haunted accessory and all you have to do is set it up.

Photo Booth 

With your guests all dolled up consider setting up a photo area for people to get snaps of their costumes as a souvenir for the party. You can set up a red carpet style entrance, rent photo booths online, or go with a DIY photo booth.


You can't show off your Disklavier without the perfect Halloween soundtrack. With Piano Radio you can stream Halloween music directly to your instrument. There’s no need to change CDs and the piano will appear to be playing itself! Your guests will never know that the haunting music is your Disklavier playing unless you tell them. Piano Radio subscribers can stream our haunted Halloween playlist on channel 05. Subscribe to Piano Radio for $19.99/month or $199.99/year and showcase your Disklavier throughout the holidays!

You can also purchase Yamaha MusicSoft's PianoSoft Plus "Haunted Halloween" collection for your Disklavier.

Setting Up Your Disklavier

Don't ruin the spooky Halloween atmosphere with connectivity issues or finding the right channel while your guests are present. Set up your Disklavier now and make sure your piano is tuned correctly so can enjoy it for your party. This handy guide has everything you need to set up your Disklavier. Learn how to connect to Piano Radio. If you’re having any problems you can call Customer Support at 1-866-430-2652 (English only) or email us through our customer service page.

Friday, October 2, 2015

How To Find The Yamaha Song Book

Many Yamaha keyboard owner’s manuals mention a free downloadable PDF songbook. This book is provided after registering your instrument on Yamaha.com.

If you are looking for that item, we put together a handy guide to download it.  

Yamaha Song Book
Step One: Click the book to the right or this link to visit Member.Yamaha.com.  This is the only place on the web to find the Yamaha Song Book for your specific instrument.  

Step Two: Make sure that you are NOT at your own country’s website.  For example, do not go to ca.yamaha.com or de.yamaha.com or usa.yamaha.com.  You can’t get the book from there.  The website address must begin with member dot Yamaha dot com.

Step Three: You should be at a screen similar to this

Click on “See My Products”, and yes, login is required.  If you have never registered your instrument here, click the “Register New Products” link.

Step Four: Enter your Product Categories and Model Names, along with your Product ID and your Serial Number. 

Step Five: Once that is entered, you will find a screen like this:

Congratulations!  Under Registered Product, look for the gray “Download” button for your instrument.  Your songbook will be located there.  
Download and save in a safe place on your computer. 

Bonus Step: Bookmark the https://member.yamaha.com website, or this blog post, in case you might need it again. 

Feel free to leave a comment below if you have any questions or concerns. 

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Artist Spotlight On: Burt Bacharach

This week we begin a new series spotlighting an artist from our website.

You may not know his name but you have heard his songs. Burt Bacharach (along with frequent songwriting partner Hal David) wrote some of the most memorable music of the late 60’s, 70’s and 80's that have now become classics in their own right. Hit songs such as, “Raindrops Keep Falling On My Head”, “Do You Know The Way To San Jose?”, “What The World Needs Now”, “Alfie” and “I Say A Little Prayer” were all in heavy rotation during the 70’s. At 87 years old, he continues to write new songs, record and perform worldwide!

Bacharach has written songs for and collaborated with a diverse group of musical artists over the years including: Dionne Warwick, The Beatles, Elvis Presley, Tom Jones and Elvis Costello.

He has proven to be one of the most popular artists on the Yamaha MusicSoft website. This week, a brand new sheet music title from one of his many classics was released. This song, “Alfie” (from the hit motion picture of the same name), has been covered by a veritable “who’s who” of artists including: Stevie Wonder, Cher, Sonny Rollins, Dionne Warwick and what I believe is the definitive version by 60’s British songstress Cilla Black.

And, for our Disklavier owners, we also have a brand new Burt Bacharach Smart PianoSoft collection here.

This unique collection allows you to sync your Disklavier to the original recording of the album so it can play along. Great for entertaining at parties!

These are only a few of the many titles we have on our website. Be sure to check out all of the Burt Bacharach titles here.

We hope you enjoyed this introduction (or re-introduction) to a songwriting legend. Please keep the questions and blog post topics coming!

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

See why everyone is talking about Playground Sessions

Why choose Playground Sessions to learn piano online?

There are many different online piano learning options out there. You can choose one-on-one instructions, or group lessons like those offered Yamaha Music Schools, or online lessons. In a previous blog post we even talked about some different ways you can learn or practice piano with Yamaha MusicSoft products at your own pace. 

The bottom line is that learning piano should be as fun as playing piano. We’ve had several customers share testimonials about why they love Playground Sessions, so we wanted to share them with you. 

Playground Sessions brings an online piano lesson to life with instant feedback. You'll see what notes you've played wrong and what you need to work on to improve your music. This makes it easy to identify which parts of the song you need to practice and which ones you already know well. 
Really brings the lesson alive. Helps you feel the music. The instant feedback you get is fabulous. Identifies the missed notes and allows you to practice specific measures that are difficult. Best designed self-teaching method I’ve seen.  Chuck Carrick, 71 years old
Playground Sessions turns learning piano into the perfect escape, so learning piano isn't a chore. You'll learn fundamental piano skills like reading notes, and counting rhythms while you play. And with points, badges, leader boards and ways to track your progress, it will all feel like a game. 
 I have really enjoyed using the Playground lessons. I like the aspect of it being almost a video game. It takes me away from all other things in the “real” world and gives me some real fun peace! - Steve Reis, 57 years old
Playground Sessions gives you a dedicated, inspirational teacher who breaks down each song in easy to follow tutorials. Your personal teacher, David Sides, is not only available 24/7, he is an extremely talented pianist with over 176 million views on YouTube. Watch his covers of "Apologize" by One Republic, "Halo" by Beyoncé, or "All Of Me" by John Legend if you ever need inspiration. 
I very much enjoy using Playground Sessions with the video tutorial. I am a very hands-on learner and ideally wanted a real life teacher but knew that financially and [with] time constraints that just wouldn’t work. Dave is a great teacher and really breaks the songs down and makes it easy to follow along.  Joshua Watts, 29 years old
Playground Sessions scores you on each song so you're inspired to practice until your song is perfect. With a library full of popular songs, it's easy to find favorites from Beyoncé, Michael Jackson, Beethoven, The Beatles and more. Plus, all songs come with audio backing tracks, so you feel like a member of the band. 
I love being scored on each lesson, and seeing how well I’m doing. I like being able to play a song over and over until I get 100%.  Nyla, 62 years old

See for yourself what people are raving about, sign up for Playground Sessions today!

Thursday, September 17, 2015

What is the difference between Styles & MIDI songs?

In an on-going effort to respond to user questions, we’d like to talk today about the difference between “Styles” and “MIDI songs” available on the yamahamusicsoft.com website. First we must redefine “what” Styles and MIDI songs are and then we can explain the difference between the two.

Q. What, exactly, is a Style file?

A. Styles are found in the Accompaniment section of your keyboard, and can make you instantly sound like a one-man band! Just play a chord with your left hand, and you’ll hear drums, bass, guitars, and more all playing along to the same chord. Yamaha keyboards feature a variety of styles to play along with, from rock and pop to jazz and country. “Style Files” are at the heart of those exciting accompaniment patterns. 

A Style Files contains music (MIDI data) and system parameters that are played by the Style Engine. All Yamaha keyboards featuring Styles have a Style Engine built into their software. It smoothly and seamlessly recognizes and follows chord progressions played on the keyboard, then instantaneously plays the selected Style File to sound the correct chord and instruments to provide an interactive accompaniment to the melody you are playing with your right hand.

Q. What, exactly, is a MIDI song?

A. Yamaha designs Premium MIDI songs specifically to function with the learning features of Yamaha MIDI keyboard instruments. Unlike a basic “General MIDI file” you may find on the Internet, each MIDI song is optimized with additional features to work with the score, tempo and transpose features of Yamaha instruments, as well as the lesson features such as "follow the lights" and "song waiting". You can make custom mixes of MIDI songs on compatible Yamaha keyboards using the mixer feature and mute the instrument parts that you want to play on your keyboard!

These are only a few examples of the power and additional features a Yamaha Premium MIDI song provides.

Check out the latest Premium MIDI songs here:

Q. How is a Style file different from a MIDI song file?

A. A Style file reacts in real time to chords you play on the keyboard, producing an accompaniment or 'backing band' for the music you are playing. A MIDI song file is linear and plays a specific song.
From a producing point of view, you would either be making an arrangement of a song or a sound alike, in both cases no original composition is required. When making a song you don't take care if it sounds good when transposed into different keys, whereas this is hugely important when making a style.

As a user, for MIDI songs you can turn tracks on and off, adjust the tempo and transpose keys, but you don't have any real control over the song, it just plays. With Styles, you are in control of what the band actually plays, leaving you free to sporadically repeat a chorus or create a new verse.

So there you have it. Hopefully this clears up any differences between the two and shows the unique characteristics and power of each type of file.

Please keep the questions coming! You can add a comment or question below.