App Review & Giveaway: Bobclass for Studio Management

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Note: As you can tell, this week I’ve been playing catch-up with a few apps I’ve been wanting to share!  Hope you don’t mind all of the reviews/giveaways this week.  :)

Bobclass ($19.99) — iPad only.

I’m so excited to share my review of this studio management app with you today!  Let me begin by sharing Bobclass’ description:

“Bobclass is an all-in-one productivity app for instructors, tutors, trainers, coaches and other independent professionals. It offers appointment scheduling, client tracking, progress monitoring and payment tracking from your iPad so you can get rid of separate agendas, clipboards and spreadsheets. With a fast & friendly user interface and a fully functional offline database you can do your client administration in the gym, class room, studio or park.”

I think Bobclass it is an outstanding studio management option for independent music teachers.  Here’s how it works:

First, visit the settings to set-up your basic information for you and your teaching.

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Wednesday’s Words of Wisdom

dewey quote

“Education is not preparation for life; education is life itself.”

– John Dewey

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App Review & Giveaway: Music Flash Class

Screen Shot 2014-12-16 at 12.44.33 PMMusic Flash Class ($3.99) — for iPhone/iPad.

Music Flash Class is an app developed by a piano teacher Henry Flurry.  It has been around for a couple of years now, but an update for iOS 8 was recently released.  The new layout looks good!

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Music Flash Class is an interactive note identification app.  The settings offer a myriad of options to customize the experience.  I love that you can chose to show or hide the timer.  And that you to choose a particular range of notes to practice.  Teachers can even customize and save their own “decks” of notes. Read More »

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App Review — MusicNotes Deck: Music Flash Cards

Screen Shot 2014-12-14 at 9.18.56 PMMusicNotes Deck: Music Flash Cards (FREE) — for iPad or iPhone.

This free app comes from the folks behind MusicNotes.com, which by the way, is an excellent website for purchasing arrangements of pop music at various levels for students.

The MusicNotes Deck app provides three decks of flash cards: (1) 50 music symbols/terms, (2) two octaves of treble clef note identification, and (3) two octaves of bass clef note identification.

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Please note that this app is NOT a game nor does it automatically correct answers in any way.  Instead, the app shows flashcard and allows the user to “turn over the flashcard” to see the answer on the back.  The app also can pronounce each term with either American or British pronunciation.

MusicNotes Deck

The flashcards are shuffled into a random order each time the app is loaded.

This app is a great way to study musical terms and symbols as well as practice note identification.  The graphics are gorgeous, too!

View it in the iTunes store here.

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Wednesday’s Words of Wisdom

goethe quote

“Instruction does much, but instruction does everything.”

– Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

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Worksheets: Matching Staff to Keyboard

Have you ever had students correctly identify a note on the staff, but proceed to play the note in the wrong octave on the keyboard?  I think piano teachers all around the world can raise their hands on that one.  :)

Being able to identify note names on the staff by letter name is important, but not as important as being able to instantly connect a note on the the staff to a particular piano key.  This is why, during flashcard drills or note-naming games, I require students to play the corresponding piano key as they give a verbal answer of the letter name.

With all of this in mind, I created a new set of worksheets that require students to draw a line to match notes on the staff to the corresponding piano key.  Although students may decide to figure out the letter names of the notes as they solve each problem, it is not the end goal — they must go a step further and connect the note to the keyboard.

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By arranging a series of notes on each staff (instead of just one note), my hope was that students would develop a stronger understanding of how intervals on the keyboard look when placed on the staff.  Read more about interval reading here.

Download the free PDF by visiting the Printables > Worksheets page and scrolling down to “Matching Staff to Keyboard Worksheets.”  There are five worksheets within the PDF, arranged in progressive order by difficulty.  The first worksheet uses only the landmark notes Bass F, Middle C, and Treble G.  The following worksheets each gradually increase the range of the notes on the staff.

  Matching Staff to Keyboard Worksheets (327.4 KiB, 305 hits)

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Winter Course Offering: Intro to Piano Teaching

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I just sent out an email today to my mailing list for the Piano Teacher Institute online courses.  Below are the details to announce that I am preparing another session of the “Intro To Piano Teaching” course.  The dates for this online course will be January 5 through February 16.

This 6-week course is intended for piano teachers seeking to learn more about business topics, piano methods, pedagogy, and much more.  The ideal registrant is an individual with the willingness to spend at least 4-5 hours each week reading/studying the weekly topics and interacting with other registrants in forums and videochat discussions.  This highly intensive course is the perfect crash course for the new piano teacher or a great refresher for the experienced piano teacher.

Here are the weekly topics covered during the course:

  1. Business Sense — business structures, bookkeeping, taxes, marketing, and more. 
  2. On Teaching and Learning — teaching objectives, learning styles, and developmental stages. 
  3. Developing Music Literacy in Students — music literacy, music education philosophies, a history and overview of current piano methods. 
  4. Piano Technique for Beginners — developing posture, hand shape, fingering, pedaling, and more. 
  5. Finding and Choosing Repertoire — leveling, publishers, anthologies, editions and more. 
  6. Lesson/Curriculum Planning — leading the lesson, making assignment sheets, effective practicing, and planning long-term for students.

You can learn more about the course and read testimonials by visiting institute.joymorin.com.

Registration will open on Monday, December 15 at 9am Eastern time, one week from today.  Registration will automatically close after the first ten teachers have registered.  Registration usually fills within 24 hours, so if you are determined to take the course I would advise that you mark your calendar and be timely about watching the registration page.

After the Winter 2015 offering, I anticipate that the next course offering will occur Summer 2015.

Thanks for your interest, friends!

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Studio Project: Musical Christmas Paper Chain

I love Christmastime for many reasons.

As a piano teacher, I love that it gives students the opportunity to play a variety of familiar tunes.  Playing tunes that are already in their ears really helps build their music reading skills.

I keep a lending library of Christmas books and loan them out to students each year.  I give students a book that is at or slightly below their current playing level so that they can quickly and easily learn a few selections from their book.

This year, I added a new tradition: When students complete a piece, they get to sign their autograph and write “2014” in the Christmas book.  It will be fun for students to see the names of students who learned the pieces in previous years.

Last year, we started a different tradition: a studio-wide project to build a paper chain to decorate the studio.  The idea is that when a student learns a Christmas piece, they get to add a paper strip to the chain.  It is a fun collaborative, inclusive project that allows the entire studio to participate.

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[Credit: I gained both of these ideas from a Facebook forum for piano teachers.]

This year, I created this simple PDF sign to explain the project.

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Feel free to download this PDF on the Printables > Other Resources page.  You’ll find it near the M’s as “Musical Christmas Chain project.”

Learning all those Christmas pieces during December will be useful for the January Piano Party, when students will each perform a holiday piece.  As students perform for each other, we will play “Name That Tune.”  Students keep track of their guesses on this worksheet and mark the stars for each correct answer at the end.

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Click here to read more about the January Piano Party from 2013.

You can download the Name-That-Tune worksheet by visiting the Printables > Games page and scrolling down to “Name-That-Tune – Christmas Edition.”

I hope you and your students are enjoying the holiday season!

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Wednesday’s Words of Wisdom

edwards quote

“To awaken interest and kindle enthusiasm is the sure way to teach easily and successfully.”

– Tryon Edwards

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Wednesday’s Words of Wisdom

anon teacher loves teaching

“Teachers who love teaching teach students to love learning.”

– anonymous

Feel free to download and share this quote or image.

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Visit to the Cleveland Piano Teachers Organization

On Friday, I drove to the Cleveland area to speak for a meeting of the Cleveland Piano Teachers Organization.  It was just an hour-and-a-half drive and the roads were clear of any snow until I neared Cleveland.  I presented my “Albums for the Young: A History and Overview of the Genre” program, sharing the history of children’s music and some well-known and lesser-known teaching gems.

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CD Lending Library

This is my CD collection.  It is not particularly large or impressive, but I realized that it was a shame that these CD’s are sitting around barely being used.  I have my favorite ones ripped onto my computer’s iTunes library.

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