Keys don't light up & keyboard does not wait when using MIDI with learning mode


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Hello everyone,

I want to learn to play a piano piece that I have in MIDI format on my computer by using my Casio LK-215's learning (waiting) mode. The keyboard can play the MIDI file from the SD card, however the keys do not light up, as happens with other songs in its internal memory. Also, more importantly, upon pressing the lesson button, the keyboard does not wait for me to press the key for the first note of the piece, instead proceeds to just play the piece, as if I had just pressed the Play button.

All MIDIs that I tried have properly separated channels (for LH and RH), and worked fine with the learning/waiting mode of my previous (Yamaha) keyboard. This Casio keyboard expects all MIDIs to be in format 0, which they all were. I also tried converting the MIDIs to CM2 format (a Casio proprietary format), however the keyboard behaves in the same way with those files.

Has anyone had a more positive experience using MIDI files for learning on a Casio keyboard? Many thanks in advance for any replies!
 

happyrat1

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First of all I don't believe it's possible to do what you are trying to do with the Casio LK keyboards. They are limited to the built in songs for their teaching mode,.

However, it is possible to run a piano tutor program from your computer as long as your keyboard can connect to your machine.

The program I am referring to is a freeware called Piano Booster and it works quite well and it is available for Windows, Mac and even Linux.

Here's the URL.

http://pianobooster.sourceforge.net/

You may find you actually like this program better because it teaches you to sight read music notation while teaching you the song.

Gary
 
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Tudor

It looks like Gary and I were working on this at the same time. I have an old Radio Shack LK1261 (made by Casio) that I dug out of the closet and brought down. This thing is so old it still uses the 5 pin DIN MIDI IN/OUT connections instead of USB, and it doesn't even have an SD-RAM card slot, but all of these LK boards operate pretty much the same from model to model and across the years, so I gave it a try. As long as I was using the built-in songs, it was full featured as far as the key lighting and learning function. When I connected it to the PC and sent a song to it from Sonar, it played fine and the keys lit up just like they should, but as soon as I turned on the learn feature, it started playing the lowest numbered built-in song and waited for me to press a key. As soon as I turned of the learn feature, it went back to playing what Sonar was sending it. Obviously, I could not test the playing of a MIDI file from SD-RAM card, but I suspect that the keyboard will not monitor a song being played directly from the card for either key lighting or learning. Most "play from SD card" features are exactly that - MIDI players and nothing more. With this in mind, I completely agree with Gary. I think Piano Booster is just what you need. If your 215 works like my 1261, it will even light the keys for you, and since it is freeware, you can't go wrong. Just remember, if you need to slow down the tempo to make the song easier to learn, you would do that from the PC rather than from the keyboard.

Good luck !
 
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@Gary and Ted: many thanks for suggesting this software, I'll give it a try, although my previous attempts at establishing a data connection between the keyboard and PC have been unsuccessful, after trying several types of cable! My keyboard, however, does support using external MIDI files in Lesson Mode, this is actually why I bought it in the first palce, after checking that the manual says explicitly that this is possible, which it does on page E-41 (section "To use SMF data in a 3-step lesson"); the trouble is that it plays right through the entire file, as I explained, instead of waiting


@The Y-man: that's right, the fingering guide doesn't work for external files, but nor do I need it to - all I want is to have the keys light-up in Lesson Mode; I don't need the keybaord to also show me what finger to use, like it does for its built-in songs.
 
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Hey again Ted,

So I installed PianoBooster, and I tried using the "follow you" mode with a MIDI song. However, the keys don't light up, as you say happens with your keyboard. I didn't see any settings for that in the program's Options. I see from this thread on their forum that the software should be started from the command line as "pianobooster --lights" in order to have this added functionality, however doing that doesn't start the software for me at all.

Also, although the MIDIs I tried had the LH and RH parts in separate channels, Piano Booster for some reason only displays the notes for the RH :(

Any thoughts? Thanks again for your help!
 

happyrat1

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The --lights option may apply only to the Linux build. Try it with "pianobooster /lights"

Windows uses / as a program switch while Linux uses -- for optional switches. Also if that doesn't work try "pianobooster lights" with no switch.

And remember, you don't input quotes in any of these examples.

As for the left and right hand channels, on the left side of the window you can select which track you play and display. If the left and right hands are in separate tracks then there's no way you can get both to display at once in the software. You'll have to locate MIDI files which contain both left and right hand notes in the same track.
 
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Thanks Gary. I did try all those options to start the software with the lights option - none of them worked.

About the united/separate channels, how can the soft tell which notes to play when I select, e.g. to practice only the left hand, it it doesn't have LH and RH in separate tracks that can be played separately or together? All my MIDIs (that I used on my previous Yamaha keybaord) had LH and RH in separate tracks/channels, otherwise the learning mode could only be used to learn both parts at the same time but not separately
 

happyrat1

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Frankly you're limited by whatever the MIDI author put into a song. Track names are whatever he chose to call them and they are listed on the left side. Usually it's a lead track plus accompaniment plus percussion so you can actually use the program to learn any part of a song one track at a time.

Otherwise, the MID standard doesn't distinguish between left and right hands. Only individual tracks and note info.
 
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Tudor

Page 37 of your manual states that the LK215 defaults to MIDI Channel 4 as the "Navigational Channel". I am not sure what they mean by that, but if they mean it monitors Channel 4 for the melody notes that light the keys, and you are playing a MIDI file with notes on Channels 1 and 2 and nothing on 4, then that could be your problem. See Page 37 and try adjusting the Navigational Channel starting with Channel 1 and working up from there.
 
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Thanks Ted, I played around with (almost) all possible combinations of Keyboard Channel and Navigational Channel (16x16), but with all combinations I tried, the lesson mode still wizzes right through the external piano pieces. I wonder if there's a setting in the MIDI file that can be made to "suit" the keyboard, rather than the other way around. Below are the MIDIs I tried, in case you (or anyone else) thinks they have an idea. Thanks once again, I really appreciate it.

http://dl.dropbox.com/u/26769687/Chopin Prel op28-4_tip0.mid
http://dl.dropbox.com/u/26769687/Gymnopedie_waiting_mode'.mid
http://dl.dropbox.com/u/26769687/op28nr20_0.mid
 
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I contacted Casio, and they have no idea how to help with this, they just keep suggesting the things I've already told them I tried! I bet I'm more likely to be suggested a fix by another user on here than by Casio itself!
 

happyrat1

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You might want to post this problem over at http://www.casiomusicforums.com/ where they have factory reps answering technical questions about their products.

It might take a bit for them to get to you this week though with NAMM 2013 in full swing.
 
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Hi Tudor,

I'm having a similar problem, in that my keys do not light up at all.

I wonder if you can give a brief summary of how you got your problem fixed. Or, maybe provide
a link to the answer over at the Casio forum. (I did search the Casio forum but didn't find anything
relevant. I also created a new post there last week, but haven't had any responses that solve
the problem.)

Thanks!

Richie Rich
 
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This was solved at https://www.casiomusicforums.com/index.php?/topic/104-cannot-use-external-midi-files-in-learninglesson-mode-casio-lk215/


  • Jared Beaney
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Posted January 28, 2013
Hi Tudor
I've seen what you've posted over at keyboardforums.com as well, so hopefully I can help get this sorted for you.
Firstly - Navigation and Keyboard channels:
Keyboard Channel is simply choosing which channel a MIDI signal is output from the keyboard to another device - so in this instance it is irrelevant.
Navigation Channel - this is the one which matters here.
The Navigation channel lets the keyboard know which tracks you are interested in. The number you are choosing here is selecting which track will be assigned to the "Right" hand part, while one number below what you choose is automatically assigned to the "Left" hand part.
eg - Navigation channel set to 6
Track 6 = Right Hand
Track 5 = Left hand
I had a look at the Chopin file that you've been using which only has two tracks in it. Unfortunately the way this is set up with the two parts is going to put it back to front in the LK-215.
You'll need to set Navigation channel to 2, however this will end up having the Left Hand as the Right part, and the right hand as the left part due to how the original MIDI file has been put together....no great drama, just remember to choose the opposite part for which one you want to learn.
Another thing to try is instead of playing straight off the SD card, load the MIDI files into the keyboard memory via the SMF Converter software. You'll also need to make sure you have the most up to date driver installed to establish a connection between your computer and the LK-215. (see here: http://support.casio.com/download.php?cid=008&pid=340&rgn=5)
I unfortunately don't have access to an LK-215 to test this, however I think the file may need to be loaded into the keyboard memory itself to perform correctly.
Hope this helps!


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Posted February 1, 2013
Hi again Jared,
It worked! After setting the Nav channel to 2, the keyboard knows to light up the keys corresponding to the each hand, which means I can use my MIDIs in learning mode, which is why I got this keyboard in the first place. Such an under-rated method of learning to play the piano!
Thanks again very much for your help!
Tudor
 

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