GUITAR STARTER

Why is it that children all over the land seem to be taking guitar lessons now? Is it an effect of the successful video game Guitar Hero? Probably not. It’s a mystery, but with a catchy tune.

A lot of guitars will be gifted this season. And to go with these, we found a great I Play Musicset of guitar lessons: Beginning Guitar, available for $40 from IPlayMusic.com . They’re so good we wish they were available for piano, too.

If the disks are run on a Mac with the new Leopard operating system, the guitar lessons can be combined with iTunes, Garage Band and iChat in a four-panel view that lets you play along and then join others playing through the chat connection. The Windows version has the same great instruction but without the special Mac features.

The company also has a $30 program of guitar lessons, Play Music Together, aimed at children 10 and under who like a Muppet-type character to play along. Like Beginning Guitar, it has great video tutorials. The program is available for PC or Mac.

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