Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Highlights of 2014

As Sinatra once sang, “It was a very good year.”

2014 gave us lots to be excited about here at Yamaha MusicSoft. We added several new product lines, and continued to enhance our existing ones, as more and more music lovers discovered all that we offer to help them achieve musical fulfillment. Here’s some of the highlights:

Printable Sheet MusicPrintable Sheet Music

We added over 50,000 instantly printable sheet music titles! This development project was one of our prime goals for 2014, and we now have a continuously updated library of sheet music for our customers, giving them a one stop shop for everything they need to make music. 

Synth Voice Libraries

In 2014, we invited owners of Yamaha synthesizers, like the Motif, to the Yamaha MusicSoft family. Over 40 voice libraries have been added to expand the sound capabilities of these amazing instruments. We instantly found musicians around the world downloading new sounds ranging from vintage 80s keyboard libraries to ethereal string banks. 

Custom Audio Backing Tracks

We had offered these amazing audio multi-track songs in the past, but in 2014 we revived the library with hundreds of new listings. If you haven’t experience them yet, you really need to check them out! Become an instant mixing engineer and remix audio tracks of popular songs performed by Nashville studio musicians and singers, then download the mix as an MP3 file. They are a must-have for drummers, singers, and anyone who wants to play along with great musicians.

Playground Sessions

This groundbreaking method to learning piano was co-created by Quincy Jones, and it gives Yamaha keyboard owners an incredible way to learn to play at home. With interactive features, hours of videos, and a large library of popular songs to learn and master, we are excited to have the opportunity to partner with Playground Sessions and offer their amazing product. 

There’s much more to come in 2015, but we can’t reveal our secrets just yet! Thanks for your support in the past year, and from all of us at Yamaha MusicSoft to all of you, we wish you a happy and healthy New Year!

Thursday, December 25, 2014

25 Days of Christmas - Christmas Day!

It's finally here! We've had a wonderful time counting down the 25 Days of Christmas with daily holiday staff picks. Now our Christmas tree is decorated with all our favorite musical ornaments - MIDI Songs, PianoSoft Albums, Style Files, and more.

We hope you've enjoyed the songs and sounds of the season and look forward to sharing more music with you in the new year! You can check out all of our staff picks and more during our holiday sale at http://4wrd.it/HolidaySale14Blog

25 Days of Christmas

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Happy Holidays from Our Family to Yours

We're excited to wish all of you a happy holiday season. Here's the staff from Yamaha MusicSoft sending you musical wishes for a wonderful holiday and a happy new year!

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Christmas Is Coming - More Staff-Selected Holiday Favorites

Christmas is nearly hear and we're counting down the days with daily staff picks for the holiday. Check out more hand-selected seasonal favorites below!

25 Days of Christmas 

Christmas Swing Style File

This swinging Style will put your audience in the mood for a festive dance around the Christmas tree. Featuring swung percussion and bells, this style is perfect for playing classic and modern holiday songs.

Take an instant trip do the emerald isle when you print the Piano/Vocal/Guitar sheet music for "Christmas In Killarney". We're handing you no blarney, this holiday favorite makes a charming addition to any repertoire.

A Christmas Long Long Ago (Jingle Jingle)

This song became an instant hit when it as debuted by the New Jersey a capella group The Echelons in 1987. Now you can mix your own custom backing track featuring full band instrumentation and vocals.

No Christmas count down would be complete without this holiday staple. Instantly print an easy-to-play version for your next caroling event.

Sleighbell Swing

Put a little ragtime flare on your next holiday performance with this fun seasonal Style File. Enjoy a jazzy rhythm section, headed up by a smooth swinging keyboard.

Learning your favorite Christmas songs has never been easier. With songs from the Follow Lights catalog you can play any song on your first try. Just follow the guide lamps above the keys of your CVP Clavinova to learn the melody one note at a time. 

Michael Bublé brought his unique flare to this holiday classic, and now you can bring that flare to your next performance with this MIDI Song inspired by Michael Bublé's rendition of the song. 

Monday, December 22, 2014

Review of “Playground Sessions” Piano Learning Software

Yamaha has partnered with Playground Sessions to provide Yamaha's customers the opportunity to subscribe to Playground's educational program, co-created by legendary music producer and composer Quincy Jones. Jason Nyberg, Marketing Manager for Yamaha Music Interactive, tested and reviewed the program.

It’s Amazing What You Can Learn On The Playground
By Jason Nyberg

Just hearing the name “Quincy Jones” in any conversation always gets my attention, so hearing that he had co-created a new music course naturally piqued my curiosity. After all, who wouldn’t want to learn from the grand master of music production and composition?

Expecting a nice series of piano course books or a set of DVDs, I was completely surprised to find that it was neither, but instead an integration of video, dynamic on-screen sheet music, and interactivity with a keyboard, all nicely wrapped in a downloadable application.

The program is aptly named “Playground Sessions,” as underscored by their tag line, “Play to Learn.” Rather than working through lengthy course books containing exercises and unknown compositions, it takes the user to “Bootcamp” to learn musical skills using elements of popular songs. The goal is to make music right away, and Playground does a fantastic job of making that a reality.

It is a remarkable program, both in functionality and in style. I especially like the iTunes-like music store, where users can learn to play songs from a library that spans everything from Beethoven to Beyoncé. I also like that beauty is more than skin deep, seen in the intuitive interface that leads the user through effective and entertaining music lessons at a beginner, intermediate, and advanced level.

Playground’s interactivity is engaged when the user plugs in a MIDI or USB keyboard to their home computer (both Mac and PC versions are available), yet the program is still enhanced enough to teach those that have the traditional acoustic piano.  In fact, there are over 30 hours of video tutorials, along with a variety of printable arrangements; more than enough to engage the acoustic user.

The graphical presentation of song titles is inspiring enough, but it’s the content that sets it apart from the competition. David Sides, the program’s on-screen teacher, offers instruction in a captivating and comforting tone, drawing the user in with a perfectly-paced delivery. This is the guy that you’d like
to have as a personal teacher, and apparently the YouTube community agrees, having given Sides over 175 million views of his online videos. And while it might be tempting to allow the YouTube title to strip the program of its credibility, rest assured this is not another online flash-in-the-pan series of video clips. Playground is devoted to teaching music theory. This is evident across the board, from lessons on keyboard skills and rhythm to notation and ear training. There’s also the time-honored traditions of playing to a metronome and learning songs in “chunks,” one hand at a time.

From there, however, it brings those traditional concepts into the present by using popular songs and exciting background tracks, offering the satisfaction of being “in the band” right from the start. This added layer of fun provides even more reasons to succeed.
There are also elements of “gamification” - something traditional music methods overlook. Much like online video games, Playground includes real-time feedback, scores, badges, leaderboards, as well as progress-tracking visualizations. And to top it off, users can share scores, progress, and messages on Facebook and Twitter. 

Longevity of relevant content is another quality I appreciate in the program. While Bootcamp provides plenty of learning material to chew on, the song library is what will give years of enjoyment and continued musical development. Kudos to the creators for consequently offering up a “Lifetime” membership – sure to be an instant win.

Playground Sessions is the program many people have been waiting for. Satisfying, reliable, entertaining. It’s the best way to learn piano from the convenience of your own home.

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Six Days Until Christmas - Daily Staff Picks

As we count down the 25 days of Christmas, we've been picking special holiday songs and more to share the spirit of the season. Here are this week's staff picks for the holidays.

25 Days of Christmas

Yamaha MusicSoft Holiday Sale

 Traditional Christmas "Sing-Along" PianoSoft

This Christmas collection features sixteen, easy to follow traditional carols and classical holiday melodies, beautifully arranged to accompany singing.

A MIDI Song Pack of some of your favorite Christmas Songs. The Super Articulation Voices and Vocal Harmony Tracks give the very best sounds in compatible Yamaha Instruments.

Here are some of the popular classics, presented in fresh interpretations, by pianist Ed Vodicka along with holiday bells. Take a listen and get in the spirit!

The "Holiday Classics" pack features three PianoSoft titles that show the diversity of the holiday season. Tchaikovsky's "Nutcracker Suite" shows the classical majesty of the season, while "New Age Christmas" brings the holidays into to the jazz age, and "Eight Days and Nights" sums it all up with a multicultural tour of Christmas through traditional and not so traditional songs.

A fun and poppy holiday song from female artists Norah Jones and Cyndi Lauper. Enjoy this one at home with your family Christmas Eve or Christmas Day!

This is a mixture of popular Czech Christmas songs. If you happen to be in Europe for the holidays, you could have your family and friends singing to some Czech Christmas songs they really love!

Saturday, December 13, 2014

Twelve Days Until Christmas - Daily Staff Picks

As we count down the 25 days of Christmas, we've been picking special holiday songs and more to share the spirit of the season. Here are this week's staff picks for the holidays.

25 Days of Christmas

Wonderful Christmastime

Enjoy a Custom Audio Backing Track of this Christmas favorite made famous by the one and only Paul McCartney. Using our intuitive online mixing tool you can create an unlimited number of different mixes for practice and performance.

Tap into the magic of this playful Christmas classic when you instantly print sheet music for "Snoopy's Christmas". You can even transpose and change the lead voice of the music before printing directly from your computer.

Elvis Presley often said "Blue Christmas" was his favorite holiday song. Now you can sing in the season like the King of Rock with this MIDI Song from MIDI Spot.

Perry Como was famous for crooning this holiday favorite. This year "Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas" Perry Como style when you perform with this Yamaha Premium Song.

Christmas Time is Here Again

Bring home the magic of Vince Geraldi's Christmas with the Peanuts when you instantly print sheet music for "Christmas Time is Here Again" from the classic Peanut's Christmas Special.

This Style File pack includes five versatile Styles featuring Christmas bells, choral sounds, and more. Play a huge range of holiday songs using this adaptable pack.

A Serene Christmas

Take a break from the hectic rush of the holiday season and listen to the peaceful Christmas music on our newest PianoSoft album, "A Serene Christmas". Your Disklavier or compatible keyboard will bring a moment of quiet to your home with this performance from Robert Thies.

Friday, December 5, 2014

25 Days of Christmas - Daily Staff Selections for the Holidays

Every day from now until Christmas our staff is hand selecting their favorite holiday MIDI Songs, Style Files, and more to share the music of the season with you! Here on the blog we'll add a new ornament to our musical Christmas tree for each new song we choose. Help us decorate our tree with all the sounds of the season!

Here are the staff selections for this week. Follow us on Twitter to check out each daily suggestion as we pick it.

25 Days to Trim our Musical Christmas Tree!

This swingin' rendition of Holly Jolly Christmas in inspired by the version made famous by contemporary crooner, Michael Bublé. With a strumming swing guitar and backing vocals, this Yamaha Premium Song will help you sing your way through the holly jolly season ahead. Like all of our Yamaha Premium Songs, this MIDI Song includes lyrics for instruments that feature viewing screens. PLUS: Check out Printable Sheet Music inspired by the same song!

This compilation features thirteen contemporary Christmas hits. From "Silver Bells" to "Santa Baby" PianoSoft Solo album has everything you need to make spirits merry and bright. Popular PianoSoft artist Bryan Pezzone brings these holiday favorites to life with smooth, jazzy arrangements that will have the keys of your Disklavier tinkling away in a twinkling.

Put a Cuban flare on your Christmas tree with this fun holiday tune inspired by international sensation Gloria Estefan. Complete with finger-plucked guitars, this Yamaha Premium Song brings the flavor of Latin American music to your keyboard. Sing along with friends or bring a little something new to your next holiday gig!

This comprehensive pack blends church and Christmas sounds to provide an exciting mix of Voices and Styles, perfect for the holiday season and beyond! Classical instruments including Organ, Strings, Flutes and Choirs are complimented by modern grooves for gospel and pop songs. For the holidays, this pack contains Sleigh Bells, Church Bells, orchestral instruments, and bell-type synth voices.  

 Irving Berlin - White Christmas

Made famous by artists from Bing Crosby to The Beach Boys, Irving Berlin's Christmas classic has become an integral part of the season. Instantly print a copy of this holiday favorite with Printable Sheet Music from Hal Leonard. This edition features two hand piano and vocals, as well as guitar tab and chords. You can transpose the song and change the lead voice in the sheet music to create the perfect sheet music for any performance!

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Happy Thanksgiving! From us at Yamaha MusicSoft

All of us at Yamaha MusicSoft wish you a Happy Thanksgiving! In the video below, some of the staff share what they are thankful for. 

We hope your holiday is full of joy and good food!

- JG
Yamaha MusicSoft

Friday, November 21, 2014

Frozen! Watch a demo of how to use the new Smart PianoSoft album to Disney's Frozen

One of the most innovative products available to Yamaha Disklaviers is Smart PianoSoft. This is a downloadable album of companion MIDI data that goes along with some of your favorite albums.

Speaking of favorite albums, what kid (and yes, adult) doesn't love the enduring soundtrack from Disney's Frozen? In this video post, we'll use this popular (and compatible) soundtrack to demonstrate the magic that a Disklavier paired with Smart PianoSoft can make.

Selections from Frozen, available on YamahaMusicSoft.com!
This soundtrack pairs with Selections from Frozen, the Smart PianoSoft album that serves as its companion.

With your Disklavier, you can entertain and create fond memories for your friends, family, and loved ones this holiday season, using Smart PianoSoft albums and compatible CDs.

Watch the video below and see how easy it is to get Smart PianoSoft up and running!

Friday, November 14, 2014

Sing This Season!

Did you know your keyboard has a built in karaoke machine? With a lyric-enabled instrument such as a Yamaha Clavinova CVP-series or DGX digital piano, Tyros, or PSR-S arranger workstation, you can enjoy singing along with your favorite songs. If you love singing then you’ll love Yamaha’s catalog of thousands of downloadable MIDI Song files that contain lyrics.  Read on for a quick how-to guide that will get you started. 

How to search for songs with lyrics on YamahaMusicSoft.com:

All of our Yamaha Premium Songs offer lyrics for karaoke. To locate these titles, select MIDI Songs from the “Play” menu on YamahamusicSoft.com, then open the filter labeled "Brand" on the left hand side of the page. Select  “Yamaha Premium Songs” to see songs with lyrics. 

How to turn on the lyrics function on your keyboard: 

Once downloaded into your instrument, you can press the lyric button on the panel to see the words to the song on your screen. 

Now you're ready to sing along while your instrument plays the MIDI Song! The pages of lyrics will turn in time with the music, just like a real karaoke machine. Happy singing!

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Yamaha CVP Series: How to use the Guide and Score functions on your Clavinova

One of the best features of the CVP Series Clavinovas is the ability to learn any MIDI Song using the Guide and Score functions. 

Guide Function: When you have a song selected and press "Guide", the Clavinova will play the intro of the song, then wait for you to play the first note. The note will be highlighted by either a red or green light.

Score Function: You can display the musical notation of the MIDI song on the Clavinova screen. You'll see every note of the right hand part, so you'll be able to play the melody and follow the notes in no time!

When played together, these two functions provide a powerful learning tool, and instantaneous results! In the video below, listen to the beautiful orchestration of the "Let It Go" Follow Lights song, while the Clavinova waits for the next note!

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

It's a Grand Slam! Little-Known Facts About Our Triple Play Artists

To celebrate the upcoming WorldSeries, we selected nine iconic artists who knock it out of the park. Then we picked three hit songs from each artist to create collectible MIDI Triple Play bundles. If you missed any of these bundles during the first nine innings of our Take Me Out to the Ball Game promotion, you can now purchase all of these bundles during our Grand Slam week http://4wrd.it/GrandSlam

While you’re browsing, check out these fun facts about our featured artists:

Avicii – Fighting Hunger with Music

This 25 year old superstar DJ has certainly seen his fair share of success. In 2012 he made history as the first DJ to headline the Radio City Music Hall in New York City and his first breakout hit, “Levels” was played on Shazam over 3.5 million times that same year. But Avicii is trying to share his success with the world through House for Hunger, a non-profit charity the artist founded with his manager Ash Pournouri. http://4wrd.it/AviciiTriplePlay

Elton John – A Life of Performance

Like many great piano prodigies, Sir Elton Hercules John started his performance career at a young age, attending the Royal Academy of Music at age 11 and performing in local pubs by age 15. Since then he has played over 3,000 concerts in 75 countries. He was even the first Western pop star to tour the Soviet Union in 1979. In 2013 Sir Elton collaborated with Yamaha on a limited movie theater release of his current Las Vegas show, “The Million Dollar Piano”.

Helene Fischer – International Talent

German pop icon Helene Fischer was actually born in the Siberian city of Krasnoyarsk, Russia. She immigrated with her family to Germany at the age of four. Following her graduation from school she attended the Frankfurt Stage and Musical School to study singing and acting. The vocal training certainly paid off and she has since achieved international fame, winning eight Echo awards as well as four “Krone der Volksmusik” awards, and a Bambi accolade.

Adele – Songwriting Powerhouse

International sensation Adele thinks of herself as a singer first and foremost. Citing Ella Fitzgerald, Etta James, and Mary J. Blige as inspirations, she has crafted two award winning albums, “19” and “21”, named after her respective ages when she began work on those records. Adele is also another record breaking artist as the first female singer to take the top the artist, album, and singles spots on the US Billboard charts in the same year.http://4wrd.it/AdeleTriplePlay

ABBA – Breaking Records Around the World

2010 inductees to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, ABBAs famous foursome has smashed musical records all over the world. In fact, their greatest hits album, “Gold”, is one of the best-selling records in music history. Though the group has vowed to never reunite, from their 1974 Eurovision Song Contest victory to their hit singles and popular records, ABBA remains a formidable force in the music industry. http://4wrd.it/ABBATriplePlay

Andrea Berg – Award Winning German Songstress

Talented artist Andrea Berg has a well storied history of success in her homeland. With fourteen popular albums and several singles at the top of German charts, this vivacious singer has won over twelve awards for her music, including the Echo award and Germany’s Goldene Stimmgabel. http://4wrd.it/AndreaTriplePlay

Coldplay – The Statesmen of Rock

While many of the anecdotes surrounding Coldplay’s rise to fame are humorous – their first official song was called “Ode to Deodorant” and the band at one point had their headquarters in a London bakery – the success of this group is no laughing matter. The group started when all four members attended University College London in 1996. Since their formation the band has won numerous awards, including eight Brit Awards, five MTV Video Music awards, and seven Grammy Awards. http://4wrd.it/ColdplayTriplePlay

The Beatles – Defining Iconic

No list of iconic artists would be complete without a nod to the legendary Fab Four. Widely accepted as the most influential group in the rock era, all four band members were appointed as Members of the Order of the British Empire by Queen Elizabeth II. In addition to this honor, the band holds the title of best-selling band in history with over 600 million sold worldwide.

Jürgen Drews – Singer and Actor

Popular Schlager musician Jürgen Drews received his first award for Best Banjo-Player of Schleswig-Holstein, the province of his hometown in Germany. He rose to celebrity as a member of the 1970s pop group “Les Humphries Singers” before launching a successful solo career. In addition to his musical pursuits, Drews has also prospered on the silver screen with multiple appearances in German films and television.