Conferences, Technology

MTNA 2017: App-Laudable Uses of Apps in Music Lessons

It was an honor to have the opportunity to present a session at the 2017 MTNA conference this year! My topic was App-Laudable Uses of Apps in Music Lessons.

In my session, I addressed the responsible and effective incorporation of technology before launching into a demonstration of a variety of apps for music lessons.

If you would like to download the handout from my session, please click here. (Please note that the app information in the handout is current as of March 2017).

You can check out a list of app reviews I’ve written here on my blog here.

Games, Printables, Technology

Printable Chart for the Note Rush App

Ever since downloading Note Rush for iPhone/iPad (read my review here), my students and I have been having a blast using the app to improve fluency in corresponding pitches notated on the staff to the keyboard.

(By the way, did you know that Note Rush is now available for Android platforms?)

Just for fun, I started keeping track of each student’s best time for each Note Rush level using a clipboard and a blank sheet of paper. Pretty soon, I realized I needed a better chart. So, I decided to contact the developer to ask if I could create one that visually matches the user interface of the app. He agreed, and happily sent me the graphics and information I needed. (Thanks, Thomas!) Here is the result:

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Continue reading “Printable Chart for the Note Rush App”

Reviews, Technology

Review & Giveaway: Note Rush app

13246163_248194038873284_8983692676277542062_oToday, I am so excited to introduce to you a brand new app for music teachers called Note Rush. As I have been experimenting with this app during beta testing, I soon discovered just what a useful tool this app is for my students. Note Rush has become my favorite app for piano teaching.

Note Rush is a note reading app that is simple, intuitive, and fun. Unlike other note identification apps that present a note and require the user to name the note by letter name, Note Rush “listens” using the iPad’s microphone to identify whether the user is playing the correct piano key. It’s so important for students to learn to associate staff positions with the corresponding piano key in the correct octave, and Note Rush encourages this!

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The app automatically calibrates to the piano, allowing the app to be useable even if the piano may be slightly out-of-tune.

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Allowing you to choose from a variety of levels — covering various ranges of notes in treble clef, bass clef, or the entire grand staff — the app is customizable to the user’s ability.

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Because the rounds are timed, students are invited to repeat the rounds to try to improve their times.

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The three themes appeal to a wide range of students while not creating a distraction through too many options.

Note Rush collage

Tell your students to buy this app instead of a box of flashcards. Note Rush is available in the Apple App Store for $3.99 USD. Find it for Android here. Be sure to visit the Note Rush website and like their facebook page.

Note: I bought this app. As always, my reviews contain my honest opinion.

The Note Rush developer has kindly offered two promo codes for a giveaway! For a chance to win a free download of Note Rush, leave a comment below before Tuesday, June 28 at midnight (Eastern time) sharing your favorite aspect of Note Rush. Two winners will be randomly chosen and contacted the following day.

Announcements, Technology

New: Live Broadcast via Periscope on Monday

Periscope app iconGreetings, friends!

I’m excited to announce today a brand new experiment — read on.

Periscope is a platform (for iOS or Android) that allows users to broadcast a live video feed. Many bloggers and personalities are taking advantage of this relatively new platform to reach out and interact with their followers in a unique way.

Periscope broadcastBlogger and piano teacher Jennifer Foxx has already used Periscope a couple of times to talk about new products and giveaways.

Elizabeth Gutierrez is using Periscope for her Piano Play-Along series on her blog, PianoTeacherCamp.com. In her Piano Play-Alongs, teachers can learn and study repertoire together and talk about how to teach it.

So, I thought I’d jump on the bandwagon and try out Periscope as a way to create short, interactive talks about piano pedagogy. If it works out, I would love for this to become a weekly thing. If you have questions or ideas for what we could address in Periscope discussions, please submit those ideas here!

Interested? Here’s how to participate:

  1. First, download the Periscope app (for iOS or Android). You can either login using an existing Twitter account, or create a brand new login.
  2. Search for Joy Morin and click “follow.”
  3. You will receive a notification when I start a broadcast (I’m planning on Monday at noon Eastern time). During the broadcast, you can type to post comments or questions.
  4. If you aren’t available Monday at noon, the broadcast will be available for replay within Periscope for 24 hours. After that time, I’ll have the video available via YouTube here on the blog.

Hope to see you Monday at noon (Eastern time)!

Professional Development, Technology

Podcasts and Audiobooks for Piano Teachers

Earlier this week, I mentioned my guest appearance on Tim Topham’s podcast for piano teachers. Today, I wanted to tell you about a few other great podcasts and also talk about my latest indulgence: audiobooks!

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First, what is a podcast?

A podcast is a audio channel of sorts, often created by bloggers, with regular new episode updates. There are podcasts available on every topic imaginable, including piano teaching! Continue reading “Podcasts and Audiobooks for Piano Teachers”

Conferences, Technology

Harnessing the Power of the Internet: PDF and Podcast Appearance at TimTopham.com

I was honored to recently make a guest appearance on Tim Topham‘s podcast for piano teachers, to speak on the topic of Harnessing The Power of the Internet. You can take a listen here or watch the YouTube video version below.

Tim asked me to talk about a topic I had presented earlier this year at the 2015 MTNA conference in Las Vegas during the Young Professionals Track, called: Harnessing the Power of the Internet. We discussed ideas and strategies for using the internet well, forming an online presence, and using social media.

Screenshot Harnessing the Power of the Internet joy morinBy the way, I also decided to share a readable version of my MTNA presentation. If you would like to take a look, you can download the PDF below or on the Printables > Other Resources page.

  PDF Presentation: Harnessing the Power of the Internet (2.2 MiB, 1,371 hits)

Be sure to check out the rest of Tim’s blog here. There are many great resources to be found there!

Music History, Printables, Technology

Lesson Plan: The History of Audio Formats

As blogged yesterday, my husband and I recently acquired a 1929 Victor Victrola gramophone. Researching our new “toy” inspired me to create a lesson plan about the history of audio formats for this month’s group class “Piano Party” for my piano students. The lesson plan, craft activity, and slides are available as a single PDF freebie…so continue reading!

20150413_113402 NIKON wm Continue reading “Lesson Plan: The History of Audio Formats”

Announcements, Music History, Technology

My New Victor Victrola Gramophone

Last week, one of my adult students gave my husband and I an old Victor Victrola gramophone. Isn’t it lovely?!

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I knew very little about gramophones prior to this. Internet research revealed that our Victrola was manufactured in 1929. It isn’t a particularly valuable one, but it is a great historical piece and it has a great sound!

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I was able to find a scan of the manual for a similar model so that I could learn about how to properly operate our Victrola and maintain it. Learning about the history of the gramophone was fun, too!

Here is a video I made demonstrating my Victrola:

All of this research inspired me to create a lesson plan to teach my students about the history of audio formats. Stay tuned to hear more about it!

Announcements, Technology

Presentation on iPad Apps for ToledoPTA

This morning, I gave a presentation for our Toledo Piano Teachers Association meeting.  TPTA is a small, very friendly group of teachers who are interested in learning new things.  We meet once a month and generally we take turns giving the programs — although occasionally we bring in outside guest speakers.

My topic was “iPad Apps for Piano Teachers.”  I began with some important introductory comments about responsible incorporation of technology into education, and then I launched into some of my favorite apps and what roles they play in the education process.  Most of the apps I talked about are ones that I have reviewed before here on my blog.

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It was a fun morning!  I always look forward to our monthly TPTA meetings.

Tech specs, for those interested: I used a $13 piece of software called Reflector to turn my MacBook into an AirPlay receiver.  My MacBook was connected to my projector using HDMI. (There are simpler ways to connect an iPad to a projector, but this was the cheapest/easiest way for me at the moment.)  Using AirPlay from my iPad means that I could walk around wirelessly with my iPad, which was nice.  AirPlay/Reflector requires that both the Macbook and the iPad be connected to the same network and I didn’t have internet access at the church, so I brought along my AirPort Express to create a non-Wifi network.  This kind of network is actually much more reliable than a Wifi network is, so that was a bonus.  I had to haul along a lot of stuff with me to make this all happen, but fortunately it worked pretty smoothly!

I’ve added this iPad presentation to my list of workshops on my personal website.  My next scheduled presentation will be during the Young Professionals Track on Pedagogy Saturday of the 2015 MTNA National Conference in Las Vegas next month.  My topic: “Harnessing the Power of the Internet: Blogging and Social Media for the Musician.” Maybe I’ll see some of you there!

Reviews, Technology

Recommendation: Canva.com for Basic Graphic Work

Just a quick recommendation today:

For basic graphic design work, I highly recommend on website Canva.com.  Using a free account and the huge variety of templates available, you can create graphics for just about anything.  I’ve been using Canva as an inspirational starting point for many of my projects recently (Wednesday Words of Wisdom quotes, blog graphics, recital programs, etc) and I can’t say enough good about it!

Here is a screenshot:

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Within the site, you can use a large selection of graphics at no cost.  If you decide to use a piece of stock photograph/art within Canva, they each cost $1.  Very affordable, and the output looks great.

Happy creating!

Reviews, Technology

iPad App Review: Piano Maestro

App Review: piano_maestro_iconPiano Maestro for *iPad only.*  FREE and paid accounts available for teachers. Students who are connected to a teacher account have available to content for free.

I’ve been meaning to write this review for a long time.  I wouldn’t surprise me if you’ve already heard all about the Piano Maestro app for iPad!

If you are not already familiar with Piano Maestro, here’s how I would sum it up: Piano Maestro is an app for iPad that provides music for the student to play, listens to the student’s acoustic piano using the iPad’s microphone (no wires required, although if you prefer to hook it up to a keyboard with headphones, you can), and evaluates the student’s playing based on note accuracy and rhythm accuracy.  The student’s progress is saved over time and points are awarded, essentially “gamifying” the experience.  The developer, JoyTunes, is a team dedicated to piano education and listening to feedback from teachers.

Watch this 30-second video to see Piano Maestro in action:

When student accounts are connected to the teacher’s account, students have the flexibility of using their account via the teacher’s iPad during their weekly lessons or they can use their own iPad at home.

Piano Maestro has the potential to be a game-changer in your studio, depending on how you decide to incorporate it into your teaching.  Let’s first talk about the kinds of pieces available for students to learn in Piano Maestro.  Continue reading “iPad App Review: Piano Maestro”

Technology, Worksheets

Digital Worksheet: Matching Staff to Keyboard

Remember this set of worksheets (Matching Staff to Keyboard worksheets) I posted a couple of weeks ago?

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At the suggestion of a reader (thanks, Elaine!), I have created a new digital version.

Staff to Keyboard Matching - digital worksheet

Using an annotating app such as GoodNotes (my review here), you can upload the PDF to your iPad and have students complete the worksheets digitally.  It’s a great way to coach students through a concept while saving paper.

Goodnotes digital worksheets

The PDF contains 20 pages, each with 3 notes that must be matched to the keyboard.

Download link here: 

  Matching Staff to Keyboard -- Digital Worksheets (307.2 KiB, 3,955 hits)

You can find the other digital worksheets I have created for tablet here.