January 10, 2009 While it's awfully easy to sit in front of Guitar Hero or Rock Band for hours on end, having the discipline to practise a real instrument for the long hours required to reach proficiency (and mastery) is much harder. Roland's Drum Tutorial DT-HD1 is the first of many products we've seen at CES 2009 that will help change this.
While the software is designed to go hand in hand with Roland's entry-level HD-1 electronic drum kit, it will talk to any electronic drum kit with a MIDI output using the included USB-MIDI interface.
The software starts off at a beginners pace, teaching you basic drum patterns and following the whole way through to playing full length songs with a backing track. What's really cool is the ability to load your own MIDI files into the software to play along with, so your track selection will never grow stale and you're not stuck paying $2 a pop for additional songs.
The Game Screen will be familiar to anyone who has played drums in Guitar Hero World Tour or Rock Band, with sequenced blocks falling down the screen that correspond to the different drums, and will give you a score at the end of the song.
Once you're comfortable here, you can move to the Notation Screen which will teach you to read real drum notation by visually displaying which pads to hit and which hands to use for fills. This mode has the advantage of showing you whether you're late, early, or on time for each note, so you can identify which sections you're having trouble with - and with the ability to set your own tempo, loop difficult sections, and learn difficult beats one pad at a time, you have everything you need to turn the trickiest beat into something you can play without breaking a sweat.
Roland DT-HD1 will be available in February 2009 with an MSRP of US$99 for Windows XP and Vista platforms. Needless to say, we're quite eager to get our hands on this one - stay tuned for a full review.