January 14, 2009 US Music Corp., parent company of several music brands including Washburn Guitars, have partnered with Disney to create the Disney Star suite of applications - which unlike console-based music games, will teach children to play a real guitar or piano using familiar songs from Disney franchises like Hannah Montana and High School Musical.

Disney Star Guitarist comes with a 3/4 scale steel string guitar designed for small hands, and a special pickup that can tell which note is being played on each string, and communicate with the software via a USB cable. In the future, you'll be able to bring a pre-existing full-size guitar along, by buying a bundle including the software, colored strings and the pickup. As you're using a real guitar, it will need to be in tune for the software to work properly - luckily the software has a built-in tuner which teaches you how to tune a guitar. You'll start out with three note chords, which the initial testing has shown that kids can pick up almost instantly, and go through to playing complicated solos.

Disney Star Keyboard comes with a four-octave keyboard with color coded keys, much like Piano Wizard - however unlike Piano Wizard, there are no plans for a software-only version for households already equipped with MIDI keyboards. It's surely no surprise to you by now that Disney Star Vocals comes with a USB microphone.

The Star Suite will be available this Summer, with pricing as follows:

  • US$79.99 for Vocals
  • US$129.99 for Keyboard
  • US$199.99 for Guitarist

When you compare these prices to the value of Guitar Hero World Tour or Rock Band 2, which are only teaching kids to play scaled-down versions of real instruments, it's a no-brainer to buy them Disney Star instead. They might be annoyed at first, but once they're melting faces on stage, they'll thank you for it.

We greatly look forward to this technology reaching maturity and moving into adult-friendly forms.