If you have ever harboured a desire to learn how to play the piano, then now is the time to conquer your fear of failure and allow technology to smooth your path.

Ken Ihara, the New York based inventor of the PianoMaestro, has cleverly utilised MIDI (Musical Instrument Digital Interface) files to create a system that can help the slowest learner to attain a decent level of piano proficiency.

Frustrated that his attempts to master Chopin frequently sounded more like Chopsticks, Ken Ihara created a system that should help future generations to master the art of tickling the ivories. Channelling the power of Windows by using standard PC software that is capable of reading piano MIDI files and therefore to transcribe the notes into manuscript form on a computer screen, PianoMaestro is linked to a strip of LED lights that illuminate to show the learner which note to play next.

It might not require the same number of backbreaking years devoted to the dark arts of musical theory and practise that previous piano learners had to endure, but this new user-friendly system has the distinct advantage of being easy to use. All that is needed to turn your laptop into a fully qualified piano teacher is a piano with an octave span of exactly 164mm and a suitably positioned PC screen or laptop.

Ihara has commented that anyone who believes that PianoMaestro will make the role of the traditional piano teacher obsolete is missing the point. In his view, a good (and patient) piano teacher can work wonders on important matters such as posture and hand position, not to mention more complex issues such as phrasing and musicality, but PianoMaestro will certainly help learners to maintain a steady level of progress between classes.

As generations of piano teachers will tell you, there is also no substitute for learning musical theory at the earliest possible opportunity. Still, for aspirant Lang Langs and Elton Johns, PianoMaestro dramatically outperforms other similar systems.