Free Giveaway of Piano Safari!

If you read yesterday’s post, you know that I’m a huge fan of Piano Safari! So, I’m thrilled to announce that Julie and Katie have generously agreed to giveaway a free set of the Level 1 Pack (a $35.50 value!)! That includes the Repertoire Book, Sight Reading and Rhythm Cards, and Listening CD. All you have to do is leave a comment below to be entered in a drawing to win a Level 1 Pack of Piano Safari for yourself! The winner will be selected on Friday, February 28, at noon (CST) using a random number generator. I know you’ll love it!

Review and Giveaway of Jumpin Jazz Kids

If the vivid colors of the website aren’t enough to draw you in, then surely the energetic music by renowned Jazz musicians will do the trick! This fun, high quality CD could easily be considered the modern day Jazz equivalent of Saint-Saens’ imaginative Carnival of the Animals.

Grammy Nominee for Best Children’s Album of the Year, Jumpin Jazz Kids: A Swinging Jungle Tale is a fun collection of narration and music as seven-year old Claire and her animal friends search for her Grandpa’s “lost” story. Kids of all ages will enjoy listening to the story unfold, and I could even see using it as a basis for a fun music camp curriculum!

Now, for the best part, the producers of Jumpin Jazz Kids: A Swinging Jungle Tale, have offered to giveaway five copies of the CD to Music Matters Blog readers! Just leave a comment below to be entered in the drawing. The winners will be chosen at noon (CST) Thursday, July 11, using a random number generator.

Review and Giveaway of Be Still by James Koerts

When James Koerts contacted me about his new collection of hymn arrangements titled, Be Still, I jumped at the chance to play through them! After having such a satisfying experience with his new book of Christmas piano arrangements a couple of years ago, I had high expectations for this latest release. And I was not disappointed. :-)

The book of piano solos was just as advertised, “A reflective collection of 10 piano solos designed to encourage and inspire. Ideal for the late intermediate to early advanced pianist.” Since it’s sold exclusively as digital music, if you’re not into the e-music reader world yet (I confess, I haven’t yet crossed over into the new era of digital sheet music yet…), you’ll have to print the sheet music yourself, but I decided to just “bite the bullet” and print the whole book at once and then put the pages in plastic sheet protectors. This worked out nicely and Be Still was quickly added to my repertoire of prelude music.

In fact, funny story…I was in the process of selecting prelude music for a local homeschool graduation ceremony and decided to use several of these arrangements in the mix. When I was at the rehearsal for the ceremony, all the parents were being lined up outside the entry doors, so I decided to get a feel for the piano with some of the prelude music. I began playing James’ arrangement of “A Mighty Fortress is Our God.” Unbeknownst to me, the parents started filing in, and by the time I realized what was happening it was too late to transition over to the piece I had intended to play for the parents’ processional. In the end, the “A Mighty Fortress is Our God” worked out so well that I decided to keep it there and use it for the actual ceremony. The style was perfect for the occasion and many people commented on how much they enjoyed the music.

Now…for the exciting news! James has generously offered to giveaway three copies of Be Still to a Music Matters Blog reader! Just leave a comment below to be entered in a drawing to win your copy of this collection of lovely piano solo arrangements of favorite hymns. The winners will be chosen using a random number generator at noon (CST) on Thursday, June 27.

The Inaugural World Pianist Invitational

Destined to take its place among the world’s premier international classical music challenge events, the World Pianist Invitational is a two-part competition.

Phase I – which officially launches this week – is an online entry activity through which aspiring competitors, aged 5-29,will submit a video recording of their classical piano performance to a blue chip panel of international judges. From those submissions – and we are capping the entries at 2,500 – five finalists across five age groups (25 performers total) will be invited to participate in Phase II – a live concert performance at the world renowned Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in downtown Washington, D.C.

Sounds like a pretty exciting new event for pianists! You can find out more on the World Pianist Invitational website.

Giveaway of New Moosic Studio Management App – a $39.99 Value!

Check out the latest studio management app – Moosic Studio! Compatible with iPad ios 5.0 and later, this app is designed to make student information, billing, and other studio management issues a breeze. Check out the full list of features at the iTunes store.

Now for the best news…you can win a free download of this brand new app! Just leave a comment below to be entered in a drawing to win a coupon code for a free download. The winner will be chosen using a random number generator at noon (CST) on Thursday, March 7, 2013.

Win a $25 iTunes Gift Card from Sight Reader App!

A Guest Post by Michael Lerner of Sight Reader App


We’re really excited to announce the latest version of our innovative iPad app that helps musicians of all levels read music! It’s called Sight Reader and n honor of the New Year and to commence our resolution to become better sight readers, we’re giving away a $25 iTunes gift card to one lucky (sight) reader.

While there are a number of mobile and tablet apps that teach and allow you to practice your reading, the end result is that you become very good at touching a screen. That’s because touching a screen is how you interact with these apps and not by playing your instrument.

What makes Sight Reader different is that you practice reading music by reading on your instrument and Sight Reader has many ways in which you interact with your music. For the very beginner there are animated lessons introducing the basic notes on one of 12 supported instruments. There are then simple exercises to read and play followed by challenges that offer newly generated music with each use to prevent memorization. In addition, students can use flashcards to test how quickly they can identify then play a random note shown on screen.

For the more serious reader, there are Rhythm Only exercises that are a single pitch with infinite rhythm combinations, Note Only exercises which are steady streams of notes at particular rhythms to increase speed and dexterity, Intervals which allow you to practice recognizing intervals more quickly, and Scales so you can practice your scales in all 12 keys.

What’s also important is that everything you play is graded objectively and students can monitor their results. This makes it great for practicing without a teacher present.

Tell us what’s most important in your sight reading practice routine in the comments below. The $25 iTunes gift card winner will be drawn using a random number generator at noon (CST) on Thursday, January 31, 2013. Happy reading!