Reviews, Technology

App Review: Piano Dust Buster

mzl.xunvpmji.175x175-75Piano Dust Buster by JoyTunes — FREE, but in-app purchases are required to attain additional song sets.

There are two games within this app: “Germ Attack” and “Staff Master.”  Each game has two playing modes: using your own real piano or using the on-screen keyboard.  If you use your piano, the app will “hear” the frequency of the sounds you play through the mic to check if you are playing correctly (so cool!).

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Each game also allows you to choose between a “Practice” mode (accurate rhythms are only loosely enforced) and a “Showtime” mode (the app will not wait for you to play correct rhythms).  Continue reading “App Review: Piano Dust Buster”

Technology

New Page: List of Music Apps for Teachers & Students

Screen shot 2013-05-30 at 12.12.30 PMI just wanted to let you know that I’ve added a new page to my website, where you can find a list of different music apps for piano teachers/students.  The apps are organized by category and contain links to the full reviews I’ve written.

I will be adding more apps to this list in the future, so stay tuned!  Let me know if you have any suggestions for apps to add to the list.

Click here to view the brand new “Music Apps” page!

P.S.:  Here is the direct link to my article about rhythm which was published in the 3-D Piano Method’s “Soundpoint #12” Newsletter yesterday!

Words of Wisdom

Wednesday’s Words of Wisdom

“In order to communicate to a young person the essence of the problem of performance, of projecting a musical work, it is not sufficient simply to say to the young person, this is the way it goes.  Do likewise.  Imitation is an obsolete method of teaching.”

— Irwin Freundlich

Every Wednesday brings Words of Wisdom here at the Color in my Piano blog in the form of a musical quote or joke, intended to bring inspiration or humor to the middle of your week. Have suggestions? Send me a message here.

Resources

Article in 3-D Piano Method Newsletter

303146_172051422869657_2286361_nI’ve recently written an article which will be published in the latest newsletter of the 3-D Piano Method, which should be sent out later today or tomorrow!

If you would like to read my article, you can sign up to receive the 3-D Piano Method’s newsletters (which are published no more than once-a-month) in your email inbox.  Visit 3-dpiano.com and enter your email address in the upper right-hand corner.

While you are on their website, take a moment to read more about 3-D Piano and browse the video previews.  I first heard about 3-D Piano DVD’s at an MTNA Convention, where I heard that it had won the MTNA Francis Clark Keyboard Pedagogy Award.  It looks like a great resource, particularly if you teach many advanced students — it’s something I’d definitely like to invest in someday.

UPDATE: Here is a direct link to where you can find the Soundpoint #12 newsletter, which contains my article about rhythm!

Early Childhood Music, Printables

Jumbo Note-Naming Flashcards

There are quite a few places you can download and print free music note-naming flashcards.  Anne Crosby’s website and Susan Paradis’ website come to mind, for example.  However, I recently realized that I wanted a set of jumbo-sized cards, to use with my Piano Readiness classes.

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I can hold up these jumbo-sized cards during class and my young students can still see the note on the staff.  Young beginners or students with disabilities may also benefit from having jumbo-sized flashcards.

I color-coded my flashcards according to the range of notes.  I printed the Middle C position notes on green paper, the next few notes up to Treble C and down to Bass C on yellow paper, and the next notes up to High C and Low C (ledger lines) on blue paper.

You can download this FREE pdf on the Printables > Other Resources page, under “Jumbo Note-Naming Flashcards.”

  Jumbo Note-Naming Flashcards (459.7 KiB, 26,110 hits)

Yesterday, I asked for your favorite game ideas involving note-naming flashcards.  I can’t wait to try out some of your ideas — keep ’em coming!

Forum Q&A's, Games

Forum Q&A: Games for Note-Naming Flashcards

Middle_CLast week, we had a Forum Q&A discussion about health insurance for self-employed individuals (such as piano teachers).  It has been great to hear all of your feedback about this important issue, and I have found it helpful with my research!

I have a new question for you today.  Your responses will be helpful when I post a new freebie printable later this week!  ;)

Please share any game ideas you have that involve note-naming flashcards.  The games can be for either solo lesson or group class settings.  

I can’t wait to hear about your game ideas!

Games, Group Classes, Printables, Rhythm, Teaching Piano

Rhythm Train Game

I love being able to print out rhythm cards for my students to practice at home.  I can give them just a few cards to start, and add more advanced rhythms and time signatures as needed.  My students store their cards in a zipper bag and bring them to their lessons each week.

At first, I assign students to randomly choose a few cards clap and count at home each day.  When that becomes easy, we are ready to play the Rhythm Train game.  :)

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Rhythm Train game

a music game for 1 or more students

Materials:

  • Rhythm flashcards.
  • Printed train cards of the engine and the caboose (download the FREE printable on the Printables > Games page, under “Rhythm Train game.”)

Gameplay:

Ask the student(s) to randomly choose 2 or 3 rhythm cards with the same time signature.  First, make sure that the student(s) are able to accurately clap each rhythm card separately.  As they master each card, they may add it to the train behind the engine, with the caboose at the end. When all the cards have been added to the train, ask the student(s) to clap the entire rhythm.  Challenge the student to see how many rhythm trains they can make, or assign the student to make a rhythm train every day at home.

Playing the Rhythm Train game makes clapping rhythms just a little bit more fun.  :)  It works well both in the private lesson (it can be played at the piano on the music rack, or off-the-bench on the floor) or in group classes.

You can download the free pdf of the train cards and instructions on the Printables > Games page, under “Rhythm Train game.”  Enjoy!

Note: If you don’t have any rhythm flashcards, you can find a pdf download to purchase at ColorInMyPiano.com/shop/.  Your purchase includes a license to be able to print the rhythm cards as many times as you wish, as long as you are using them with your own students.

Words of Wisdom

Wednesday’s Words of Wisdom

Young people can learn from my example that something can come from nothing. What I have become is the result of my hard efforts.”

— Franz Joseph Haydn

Every Wednesday brings Words of Wisdom here at the Color in my Piano blog in the form of a musical quote or joke, intended to bring inspiration or humor to the middle of your week. Have suggestions? Send me a message here.

Forum Q&A's, Studio Business

Forum Q&A: Health Insurance for Self-Employed Music Teachers

Our last Forum Q&A post was sharing about the first piano you learned on as a child.  It was fun hearing your piano stories!

pitr_First_aid_iconIt’s time for a new Forum Q&A topic.  This one is an important topic for any self-employed music teacher to consider: Health insurance!

Do you pay for your own health insurance out-of-pocket, or does your spouse’s job provide insurance for you?  If you are paying for health insurance out-of-pocket, did you find insurance through the services partnered with MTNA, or through another source?  Does your insurance only cover major medical, or does it cover annual check-ups, etc.?  Do you feel that your health insurance adequately covers what your needs?  Is the premium reasonable, and is the co-pay/co-insurance reasonable?  

I’ll admit that this topic is timely for me, because I am currently shopping for health insurance.  As I’ve been researching health insurance, I found it very interesting to learn how difficult it can be for self-employed individuals (of any career) in the United States to find both adequate and affordable coverage, especially for those who have “pre-existing conditions.”

This is a topic definitely worth discussing.  I hope you’ll all take a moment to leave a comment below to share your experience!

Music History

New Composer Lapbook: Amy Beach

I’m proud to announce that the first woman composer lapbook has been added to the Color In My Piano shop: Amy Beach!

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Studying Amy Beach gave us the opportunity to discuss the challenges of being a woman composer, especially during Beach’s day.  Among other things, we learned about the MacDowell Colony and how Beach’s perfect pitch allowed her to write down bird calls in musical notation.

The Color In My Piano Shop now has 16 different composer lapbooks to choose from!  Check them out here.

Games, Group Classes

May 2013 Piano Party

My “piano party” group lesson this month was a lot of fun.  We began with the Rhythm Name game — always a favorite.  :)  The Rhythm Name game is described in this post.

Next, I played a variety of short classical pieces and asked students to aurally identify the piece as AB form or ABA.  This was also a good way to expose my students to repertoire by various composers.

This led us right into a listening activity of Leroy Anderson’s The Syncopated Clock, using Jennifer Fink’s wonderful worksheets.

syncopated-clock

We listened to the piece a few times, filling in the information on the first worksheet about the three clocks in the piece.  Then, I passed out the worksheet showing the living room wall, and we listened again for the form of the piece and glued the clocks on the paper in the right order.  My students loved the music and enjoyed figuring out the order of the clocks!

After our listening activity, we played a couple of games: the Swat-A-Rhythm game and the Ice Cream Intervals game, as described in previous posts earlier this week.

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This was our last Piano Party of the year.  Over the summer, my students will have the opportunity to interact at the summer camps, and we will start up our monthly Piano Parties again in the Fall.

Planning monthly group classes does require extra time and planning, but I think it is so worth it!  It is valuable for students to make “piano friends,” and I love having the opportunity to reinforce old concepts, or focus on new concepts that don’t always receive the attention they deserve during weekly lessons.  I will definitely be continuing group classes again next year!