InTune App Review

I do believe that InTune is one of the simplest apps I have ever reviewed, but the effectiveness of this simple ear training app has apparently earned it an almost 5 star rating on iTunes. In addition to its iTunes rating, it has been ranked among the top 25 music apps in more than 50 countries, and in the USA it stands at #11.

So what’s this app all about? Well, there’s honestly not much to it. Using the concept of pitch discrimination (differentiating pitches that are close together), award-winning and highly acclaimed app developer, Ben Kazez, has gone to task with basically just this concept and a gaming element to create InTune.

Screen Shot 2015-09-03 at 8.24.18 PM-You open up InTune.

-You select New Game or compete with your friends in Apple’s Game Center. (The Game Center icon pops up in the top left corner)

-You can select what mode you want to play.

-Once the game has started, you hear two pitches, distinguish if the second was higher or lower than the first, and then slide the second dot accordingly (up-higher; down-lower).

-If you get three strikes the game is over.

-If you slide correctly, you continue on and the pitches get closer together/harder to distinguish-testing to see just how good you are at pitch discrimination! :) Once you’ve completed Level 5 (the highest level you can attain) you can either Play Again, Share Score, or Change Mode.

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It’s just that simple.

I don’t know if the sound they chose for the game has significance or not, but it definitely reminds me of the sound you would hear when getting your ears checked at the doctor, which to me, is unlike any other sound I typically hear. Just a side note!

Dr. Dan Kazez, producer of InTune, is a cellist and professor at Wittenberg University, who discovered through studies that students who played InTune (regularly practicing pitch discrimination) improved their listening at 3 times the rate of those who did not.

I haven’t played InTune very regularly to know if it’s been improving my ear or not, but it has caused me to be more conscientious of pitch and it’s apparent world success is quite intriguing to me!

InTune Info Page on the Wittenberg Website

iTunes – keep in mind this app is only available for iPhone or iPod Touch

InTune on Youtube (the version on the video is a little older but still very similar)

One Week and Counting!

In one week from today we’ll be having our September Surprise! to kickoff a new year of piano lessons! In addition to getting all the finishing touches put on our practice incentive theme for the year – Jungle Expedition – I’ve also been collecting student repertoire and resources for group classes throughout the year. It’s motivating for me to spend time playing through a lot of great music, and it’s fun trying to figure out just which ones to use for each student that I hope will capture their imagination and inspire them to work hard!

Here’s a snapshot of some of the great music and resources we’ll be using this year! I’m especially excited about a unique find that I came across at our state music teachers conference this summer – 4 Afro-Caribbean Songs for 5 Right Hands at 1 Piano. This should be a fun way to work on rhythm in an ensemble setting! I’ll keep you posted (and hopefully share some videos!) along the way.

Giveaway of C2 Practice Incentive Theme Studio Decor

If you are looking for a fun, simple to implement, practice incentive theme for your studio that emphasizes character and competence then you’ve come to the right place!

C2: Igniting the Power Within! is the theme we used in our studio last year and I have all of our studio decor, plus a handful of extra student worksheets that I am giving away to one special Music Matters Blog reader! Just leave a comment below to be entered in the drawing to win this package of materials for your studio! I’ll draw a random number winner at noon (CST) this Friday, September 4.


Free Notation Software Deal & Giveaway

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To celebrate the 500,000th download of FORTE 6 Notation Software (a WINDOWS operating system software), starting right now (exclusively for MMB readers) until September 14th, you can download FORTE 6 Basic for free! (a $24 value) FORTE 6 Basic free download page

If you’re not familiar with FORTE check out their website! I’ve never used it, but from watching their introductory video it appears very user friendly and quite similar to Finale, a notation software I used to use.

Also, Music Matters Blog has been given the opportunity to giveaway to its readers 1 FORTE 6 Premium license (FORTE Premium a $200+ value!), so let me know in the comments if you’re interested in being entered and you might just win!

Blog Maintenance

We are gearing up for our much-anticipated September Surprise here at the studio, our family’s journey into Classical Conversations for this next year of homeschooling, and a few other projects in the works as well. Definitely a busy time of year!

There is also some back end maintenance that we need to do on Music Matters Blog, so the site will be down for a few days at the end of this week. We should be back up and running next week, though! Watch for a giveaway to launch the new teaching year!

Coming this Fall…

After much brainstorming about goals and ideas I want my students to pursue this year, I’m excited to give you a sneak peek at this coming year’s studio practice incentive theme

It’s always an exciting moment to introduce the new theme to my students and see them get pumped for the year ahead and the opportunities to grow as musicians! Not to mention that it helps renew my enthusiasm for teaching as we all work toward new and relevant goals. Plans are still in development, so stay tuned for more in the coming weeks…

Practice Tips from The Musician’s Way

Gerald Klickstein’s newsletter is always a treasure trove of helpful links and resources. In his Summer 2015 issue he links to a couple of posts on his blog that I thought were particularly insightful, especially as I prepare for another year of teaching and consider what areas to emphasize with my students.

5 Tips for Successful Practice gives some great practical suggestions that teachers and students alike can implement to maximize their time at the piano! For some reason, I also had never come across his page of Downloads with a variety of helpful documents you can download and utilize for free. I’m especially drawing inspiration from his Practice Sheet with a specific breakdown of different kinds of assignments and succinct practice objectives that correlate with each one.

If you’re not already, I highly recommend subscribing to the fabulous quarterly newsletter from The Musician’s Way!

Special Introductory Offer on Carnival of the Animals Music Camp!

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For all of you who have been anxiously awaiting (probably me most of all!), I’m excited to announce that the Carnival of the Animals Classical Christian Music Camp curriculum package is finally complete and ready for delivery! This extensive curriculum has been in the works for many years at a conceptual level, so it’s been thrilling to watch it fully come together this week as we’ve given it a trial run in the studio. And from now through the end of July, you can get your downloadable package for only $20 (that’s $10 off the regular price of $30)!

I’m amazed at how much the students grasped as we incorporated history, geography, rhythm, technique, music vocabulary, composition, science, art, and performance into our camp activities each day. It will also be exciting to see how the seeds sown this week continue to bear fruit in the years to come as the students draw on the knowledge and understanding they’ve gained through this experience.

The curriculum is designed as a 5-day music camp curriculum, but could easily be adapted for almost any setting and schedule. It has enough material to last for weeks! Creative music teachers could even use it as a springboard to delve into many other areas of musical study more extensively. Read a full description and view sample pages on this page.

I hope that this Carnival of the Animals music camp curriculum will be a valuable resource to help teachers and students around the world experience the enjoyment and enrichment of learning more about God and the world in which we live through the study of music!

Check out photo highlights from each day of the camp:

Day One:

Day Two:

Day Three:

Day Four:

Day Five: