There are times when within a parsha that there is a special tune for that particular piece, such as in Parshas Beshalach when we lain Oz Yashir. For instances like these, the program has an option that allows you to underline these texts in order to remind you of the different tune.
To listen to the laining, all you have to do is hit the play button. The program will start laining from the word the gray cursor is at. Want to stop? Just simply press the stop button. Not too hard if you ask me. I think even those who are scared of their computer will be able to handle this task.
As Trope Trainer starts laining, the cursor moves along and highlights each word that is being said. At the same time, on the bottom of the screen, it shows the translation of the verse, the transliteration, the particular musical note it is reading and the name of that musical note.
The more advanced playback features can make a real difference when learning and practicing how to lain. Many times a verse needs to be repeated over and over until it is perfected. This can become quite cumbersome if you need to constantly be hitting the play and stop button. With the repeat play option, you can get the program to constantly repeat a certain segment. Other options you have instead of listening to a continuous flow of text is to listen to a word, trope group, or until the end of the verse.
Aside from melody and pronunciation options, there is a feature that allows you to change the pitch from -12 all the way to 12. You also can change the voices (i.e. bass, baritone, tenor, alto, soprano and child).
One thing that students will love about the program is that it enables you to change the speed of the program’s laining. When students first learn how to lain, they need to hear the text slowly, but as they become more experienced, the pace can be picked up. Trope Trainer allows the student to change the speed from 1 (slow) to 15 (fast). By allowing the program to ‘grow’ with the student, Trop Trainer helps ensure that the student stay motivated and not become bored because they are not challenged.
Trope Trainer is a steal for the price you will pay for it. This program is the next best thing than a human teacher. If you want, you can buy different versions of the program such as the Standard, Single Parsha, and Deluxe. But to have the largest variety of resources, you will want the Deluxe Edition. With this version, you will be able to learn it all. In addition to the weekly parshiyos, you can also learn how to lain Megillas Esther, Shir Hashirim, Rus, Eichah and Koheles.
Trope Trainer requires a PC with at least a 120 MHz processor. Windows 98/ME/NT4/2000/XP. An SVGA display, 32 MB RAM, a sound card and, of course – last but not least – speakers.