Bang out tunes with Baby Computer Piano

Turn your keyboard into a baby-diverting piano with this parent-friendly freeware.

If you've ever tried to use the computer while babysitting, you know that the keyboard is essentially a busy box to babies, who love to mash it until they get a reaction, which you provide when they close the app you were using. Baby Computer Piano is a fun bit of freeware that offers a partial solution to the problem at hand (or two hands, even if they're tiny). It disables normal keyboard function, replacing it with a realistic piano sound. The mouse is unaffected, letting you surf the Web and perform other tasks while the wee one has a blast wailing away at your keyboard instead of your inner ears. You can quickly resume normal keyboard function when you need to type something. Baby Computer Piano has some interesting extras, such recording/playback and a child-friendly screensaver for further distractions.

Baby Piano Computer's piano keyboard window displays key sequences as you enter them. Only the white keys are active; the black ones are for show, but their shading gives a realistic look. It works like a piano, with keys coded for letters and numbers. The piano tones are realistic. We quickly picked out some simple tunes, though just pressing keys randomly produced some nice sounds, too. Pressing Left Ctrl + Del restored normal keyboard function; Left Ctrl + Right Ctrl toggled Baby Computer Piano back on again. The Help file offers not just instructions and contacts but also a link to user-shared scores of favorite tunes like "Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star" that are easy to play on the keyboard. We could also loop playback, import and export scores, and change the keymap, among other options.

It's easy to see how this free app can bring a big smile to the faces of babies and ex-babies alike. What could make Baby Computer Piano better? More audio options, maybe, such as different keyboard sounds: organ, harpsichord, and especially toy piano (for "Jingle Bells") or maybe silly sounds. Parents and other users can share their program recommendations, too. Our recommendation is, if you think you need Baby Computer Piano, just ask your "co-worker" there!

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