Leila Veiss has written a wonderful post about the “Apps I Use at Every Lesson” that relate to the business side of studio operations. One of the listed apps is Evernote, but she also includes with it a Sample Lesson Note Template that is fabulous!
I love the Glossary of Terms section, especially the brief explanation of what “Learn” and “Master” mean (I guess my students aren’t the only ones that seem confused by what I really meant when I told them to learn a particular piece or portion thereof… ). I also really like her Progress Score numbers and explanations. What a great tool for maintaining consistency and providing tangible instruction and feedback for each lesson!
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.
In the November/December 2012 issue of Clavier Companion magazine, Penny Lazarus wrote a fascinating article called, “Silent Movie Music in the Piano Studio.” This was fresh on my mind when our family was invited to participate in a special talent-sharing night at a local church, so we decided to give the silent movie idea a try. Instead of just finding a silent movie, though, we opted to create our own. We wrote our script/storyboard (not sure you can call it a script if it’s for a silent movie!), gathered our costumes and props, filmed each scene over a weekend, and then showed the movie on an overhead screen while providing the music live at the event. It turned out to be a ton of fun and was a huge hit with the audience!
Here’s the original silent movie (I recommend turning the sound on this video all the way off and using the sound from the following video so you can hear the music selections from the live performance):
Also, anyone want to take a guess as to what part I play in the film? …
Here’s the video from the live performance (I recommend playing this simultaneously with the above video so you can listen to the music selections while watching the silent movie):
Theme from The Patriot (we opted to play an excerpt from the soundtrack rather than play a live version of this one)
The entire November/December 2012 issue of Clavier Companion is one of the most interesting magazines I’ve read! I highly recommend subscribing to and reading it. Here’s one other practical, imaginative idea from an article by Donald Sosin called, “Sound and Silents” that I want to try with my students at our next group class:
“…ask for two volunteers from the audience and have them walk in a neutral way towards each other onstage a few times, exchanging a letter as they pass. The pianists take turns creating different moods. I caution the actors never to alter what they are doing. The only thing that changes is the music, which informs the audience as to what is going on. Depending upon what is played, the scene might look like a teenage romance, a spy film, a horror flick, or an announcement of a tragic death. I often have to keep reminding the actors to ignore the music, so strong is their impulse to react to what they’re hearing.”
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!
Ever since I started teaching almost 15 years ago I feel like I’ve been searching for ways to organize and streamline lesson planning. From endless lists, to spreadsheets, to binders, to paper files, I’ve tried dozens of different ideas. None of them have accomplished what I really want in the way of planning repertoire and collecting ideas specific to each student. Nothing, that is, until I spent some time over Christmas break exploring the fabulous (and free!) Evernote app!
This is one more reason why I can’t imagine teaching without my iPod Touch at my fingertips. Evernote is optimal for lesson planning purposes because you can create a folder for each student and then create notes within the folder. Notes can include text, photos, links, audio clips, etc. This is a super cool way to record different repertoire excerpts for students that you can play back for them when they’re at the lesson. You can also e-mail the notes, so you could easily use this to record lesson assignments and then send it to the student. There is also a version that you can use on a desktop/laptop computer and sync with your mobile version.
Another cool feature is the ability to create tags. For example, I can create a tag called “music to buy.” Then, whenever I create a note that includes a book or resource that I need to buy for a particular student, I just assign it that tag. On the home screen of Evernote I can select the “Tag” area and all the tags will be sorted alphabetically, quickly allowing me to access the “music to buy” category and see an overview of all the notes containing purchases I need to make. Isn’t that cool? I’m sure there are even more capabilities that I haven’t discovered yet. There are so many possibilities! Is anyone else using the Evernote app for lesson planning? I’d love to hear your ideas on how you’ve used it!
I recently came across another blog (with a super cool header graphic!) that has lots of info about apps: 88 Piano Keys. Even though I have an iPod Touch that I use all the time in my teaching, I’ve been pondering the possibility of getting an iPad at some point, too. Is there anyone out there who has both an iPod Touch/iPhone and iPad that they use for teaching? Are there any advantages to having an iPad specifically? Any things you really love about the iPad that can’t be done on an iPod Touch/iPhone?
Are you trying to keep up with the mobile technology age, but drowning in the virtual sea of all-things-apps? I’m raising my hand! Well, now you can cast your fears aside because there is a fabulous website that promises to be a sanity-preserver for teachers like us: Musicians With Apps.
All the apps are organized by category, including: Rhythm Apps, Note Reading Apps, Composition Apps, Gadget Apps, and Explore Music Apps. Each review is extensive, with an assigned score, what the reviewers liked best, what they wish it had, and a summary of how the app functions. I just subscribed to the blog feed, and you can also sign up for an e-newsletter that will send you the latest reviews. I am so excited to find this “one-stop shop” for figuring out what music education apps are out there and which ones are worth purchasing and using or recommending to students!
In keeping with our studio practice incentive theme this year, Project 28, our group classes this year are called Project Symposiums. We held Project Symposium #1 last night and had a ton of fun!
Another new dimension to the group classes this year is that for each one I’m having one of the Pursuit of Music students help brainstorm, plan, and conduct the class. I suggested a topic to each of the students based on an area of strength for them and then they can develop it however they’d like for the group class. Last night’s theme, planned and conducted by Joey, was “Performance Enhancing Tips for the Learning Student.”
After beginning with a couple of performance demonstrations (by Joey and me) in which students were asked to note on white boards “The Good”, “The Bad”, and “The Ugly”, we discussed the 3 Parts of Performance. Each student was then assigned a partner and the two of them worked together to produce a segment for our evening news broadcast on the topic of performance. It’s always fun to see the creative juices come alive with these sorts of projects, and also watch the students develop a deeper understanding of some aspect of music. Here’s the report they put together using the Splice Video Editor App (for some reason the sound at the beginning is almost completely mute, but it gets better!):
We concluded the class with each student sharing how they decided upon their performance pieces and then having each of them take a turn performing for the rest of us. A delightful evening of musical fun!
For Travel Tour (a.k.a. Group Class) #5 last night, one of our activities was what I dubbed, “The 1-Minute Documentary Project.” The idea was inspired by the fabulous Videolicious App, and it turned out to be a lot of fun!
I started by coming up with a handful of music-related topics, like a composer or a musical element. The students were grouped in pairs and each pair drew one of the topics. Here’s a rundown of the step-by-step process from that point on:
1. Read/study material about the topic (students were permitted to use any resource in the studio).
2. Select key information to include.
3. Write a 50 second narration.
4. Select and take 4-8 pictures to correlate with the narration.
5. Open Videolicious App.
6. Select General Video.
7. Select previously taken pictures in the order you want them to appear in the video.
8. Film one student saying the narration.
9. Select an excerpt from your music library to play in the background (if the students have time during their research they can find and download a piece of music for this purpose).
10. Preview and publish the video.
In addition to being a lot of fun, the process was educational and provided a great opportunity for the students to work together. There is still plenty of room for improvement in a variety of aspects (especially the direction of some of the pictures!), but I thought they did a good job in a limited time. And we all enjoyed watching the finished documentaries at the end of the class:
EasyEarTraining.com says, “It has always been our goal to be a valuable online resource that meets the needs of musicians, audio professionals and anybody who is passionate about music.” Their website is choc-full of great articles and resources pertaining to ear-training and many other music topics. Be sure to check out their special free Valentine’s Day rhythm activities that you can download and use with your students!
I am really excited to use this app with my students and even sneak some time in on my own to help improve my recognition of chords by ear! And…if you’d like the chance to win this app for use in your studio, just leave a comment below. A winner will be selected using a random number generator at noon (CST) on Thursday, February 23, 2012.