Reviews, Studio Business, Technology

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.

2014-11-19 15.30.57 (1) Continue reading “App Review & Giveaway: Bobclass for Studio Management”

Reviews, Technology

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. Continue reading “App Review & Giveaway: Music Flash Class”

improving as a teacher, Professional Development, Technology

Clavier Companion Nov/Dec issue: The Future of Piano Teaching

1622601_818136588208658_571019086351640113_nHave you seen the latest issue of Clavier Companion magazine?

The Nov/Dec 2014 issue marks the beginning of a series called “The Future of Piano Teaching.”  In this issue, you’ll find twelve short musings written by various pedagogues about their thoughts on the future of piano teaching.  These short musings will be followed by a series of longer, more in-depth articles in future issues.

I was proud to submit one of those short musings (you’ll find it on page 29) alongside my colleagues, including fellow bloggers Leila Viss, Mario Ajero, Jennifer Foxx, and Wendy Stevens.  My longer, follow-up article will be published in a future issue.

Not subscribed to Clavier Companion?  It is an outstanding, forward-thinking magazine for piano teachers.  Tell your family you would like to receive a subscription as a Christmas gift.  Request access to an issue free here.

Conferences, Technology

OhioMTA 2014 State Conference

Last weekend, I attended the state conference of Ohio Music Teachers Association (affiliated with MTNA).  Since moving to Ohio three years ago, I’ve attended the OhioMTA conference every year — and I have to say that this one was the most sensational!

The setting this year was Wilmington College, which has a small and beautiful campus with facilities that were perfect for our conference.  It was wonderful to be able to walk in the cool, Fall weather between sessions.  Around 120 teachers attended the conference this year.

Our conference schedule was chock full of great sessions!  Some highlights: “Music Alive! Sounds that Move, Pictures that Sing” by Clinton Pratt, “Creative Sightreading” by Dr. Cole Burger, “Developing Sound Expectations: Does the Sound Match the Picture” by Scott Donald, “Piano Music for Left Hand Alone” by Jerry Wong, and many others.

I was also extremely honored to have the opportunity to present a session: “Albums for the Young: A History & Overview of the Genre.”  I can’t tell you what it meant to me to be able to share my research for this distinguished organization. My topic explored the influence of Robert Schumann’s Album for the Young, Op. 68 and the wealth of children’s music that followed by other composers.

IMG_1914 Continue reading “OhioMTA 2014 State Conference”

Technology

Studio Trailer Video

If you are like me, you are beginning a new school year of teaching this week!  I enjoyed a two-week break prior to this week, which provided some much-needed time off as well as some time to focus on some fun side projects that have been on my to-do list.  Let me tell you about one of those projects.

One of my adult students has a background in video.  He sold me a used copy of Final Cut Pro, which is a program kind of like Photoshop except for video files.  There is a huge learning curve involved with learning how to use Final Cut Pro, as I discovered.  I decided to create a “studio trailer” video of sorts, showing various photos of my students to give a sense of what my studio is about.  It’s not a perfect video, but I am happy with the results and enjoyed learning the basics of video editing through this project.  I posted this video on my studio website and facebook page for my students/parents to enjoy.

Note: You might notice that this video shows my old house, before our recent move twenty minutes away.  I still need to collect more photos that show the new house/studio.  Maybe I’ll make another video a year from now.  I decided to think of this video as celebrating the past three years living and teaching in Ohio.  End of one era, beginning of the next! 

Interested in creating your own studio trailer?  You don’t have to learn Final Cut Pro.  Here are the steps:  Continue reading “Studio Trailer Video”

Technology

Google Hangout Episode #6

Before I talk about the Google Hangouts, I want to update you about the last giveaway:

Piano-Pronto-Prelude-book-300x300A couple of weeks ago, we had a giveaway for Jennifer Eklund’s Piano Pronto method and had a HUGE response of 138 entries!  I loved reading all your responses about the Piano Pronto method, and I know Jennifer did, too.  Here are the two randomly chosen winners: Lu and Anola.  Congrats, winners!  You will be hearing from Jennifer soon.

If you didn’t win, you can still get a great deal on the Piano Pronto books because Jennifer has extended her 20% off sale through the end of the month.  Now is the time to stock up for the next school year!  Visit PianoPronto.com and enter the “school20” promo code.

Last Friday, I held Google Hangout Episode #5 (I decided to start calling them episodes so I can keep them straight!), which was about choosing student repertoire.  Jennifer Eklund was a guest in the discussion as was Dr. Jason Sifford.  This discussion was so fun.  The topic is so appropriate, too, as we prepare for the next school year.

Jason, by the way, is one of the teachers behind the University of Iowa Piano Pedagogy Project: a project to record over 9000 piece of piano literature for students following the Iowa Music Teachers Association’s repertoire list for their events.  This project is so great because it provides teachers and students with a variety of excellent reference videos.  You can view and subscribe to the Piano Pedagogy Project’s YouTube channel here and visit their Facebook page here.

Below, I’ve embedded the video recording of Episode #5.

I have scheduled Google Hangout Episode #6 for this Friday at 11am Eastern time.  Check out the event page here on Google+ and add it to your calendar.  Please join us live or watch the recording afterwards!

Here is a link to all of the Google Hangouts so far.

Technology

Google Hangout and other Internet Happenings

Hello, readers!  A few random updates:

Over the weekend, I made a brief appearance at MTNA’s GP3 2014 conference via Skype.  (Thanks to Courtney Crappel and Andrea McAlister for asking me to share my thoughts about using apps in the piano lesson!)  GP3 is a conference geared towards group piano professors and piano pedagogy professors.

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The main message I shared was this: Apps are just another helpful teaching tool for our toolkit.  In order to be able to use the tools properly and effectively, we have to first figure out exactly what that tool can accomplish for us and what role we want it to play in our lessons with our students.  Some apps make my life easier as a teacher, some apps are useful during the lessons, and other apps are strictly for students’ at-home use.

On Friday, I’m hosting another Google Hangout at 10am Eastern.  This time, the topic is choosing repertoire for students.  As usual, you can feel free to watch it LIVE or afterwards on YouTube.  I’ve embedded the player below.

I’m looking for another teacher interested in participating in the video chat — if you are interested, please contact me directly!

Here is a link to all of the previous Google Hangouts so far.

There is another (now past) Google Hangout (not sponsored by me) that you may be interested in watching: Irina Gorin (if you haven’t seen her YouTube channel‘s teaching videos, you HAVE to check it out) gave a presentation as part of conference held by Michigan State University and the Capital Area Music Teachers Association in Lansing, Michigan.  Here is the link.

Professional Development, repertoire / methods, Technology

Watch this Google Hangout Discussion about Piano Methods

Whew!  I feel like I have so much to share, but not enough time to share it!  ;)

Last week, I held a summer camp for my piano students called “Practice Tips & Tricks.”  It was a fun week.  For my birthday last month, my husband gave me a projector.  (Yes, I’m a techno-geek!)  It was wonderful to be able to have a large visual to use during camp!  I hope to share more details about all this later.

On Friday, I held another Google Hangout this time talking about piano methods.  You can watch the video here.  We did encounter some technical difficulties unfortunately — I apologize about that!  Thanks for bearing with us during this experiment.  :)

I have another Google Hangout scheduled for this Friday at 11am Eastern time.  Please visit the event page here to get all the details and feel free to submit questions for us to discuss in advance.

More later!  :)

Reviews, Technology

App Review: SproutBeat for iPad

sproutbeatlogoA fantastic new iPad app was recently released.  I am so pumped about this one!

I am a huge fan of Eik Siang Mar’s website, FunAndLearnMusic.com.  She has a huge variety of free music worksheets that are both visually attractive and educationally effective.  I have some of my favorite worksheets downloaded on my iPad.  I like to be able to print them from my iPad during the lesson to send home with students, targeting a new concept we just learned.  And, once in a while, I ask students to complete the worksheet digitally during the lesson on my iPad by “writing” on the worksheet.

Now, this process is about to get a whole lot easier!  FunAndLearnMusic has released a companion iPad app called SproutBeat.  The app allows view to all the worksheets from FunAndLearnMusic, organized by category.

The free version of the app allows you to download 25 of the worksheets.  Purchasing the full version of the app for $19.99 gives you access to ALL of the worksheets, plus any worksheets released in the future.  Eik generally adds new worksheets every Tuesday.

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Continue reading “App Review: SproutBeat for iPad”

Reviews, Technology

iPad App Review & Giveaway: MMF Piano Primer

app MFF piano primerMaking Music Fun’s Piano Primer — $1.99 for iPad only.

Many of you are perhaps familiar with the Making Music Fun website, which contains a variety of free worksheets and sheet music.  MMF created Andrew Fling has recently released his first iPad app, which is essentially a digital version of his Piano Primer PDF.

From within the app, students can read from the 19 pieces of sheet music, listen to recordings of each piece, and easily view a “Note Name/Keyboard Chart.”

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A note about the pedagogy of this primer:  It uses the Middle C Reading Approach.  It begins with on-staff note reading with the thumb on C.  In all of the pieces, students play in C position.  Keyboard layout, rhythmic elements (rhythm values and time signatures), staff/keyboard correlation, and fingering are briefly taught during the four-page introduction.

Although I would not use this app as a core method book with a beginner student (due to its pedagogical approach), I do think the pieces from the app have practical use as supplemental pieces.  My only complaints about the app itself is that (1) one cannot print the music from the app, and (2) page numbers are missing.  I plan to download the PDF to my GoodNotes app so that I can conveniently print during the lesson.

I love the idea of having music available for students to play within an app, especially with recordings of the music so readily available within the app.

Disclosure: I received a free download of the MFF app but I was under to obligation to write a positive review.  I always write my honest opinions!  

Andy has offered two promo codes for a giveaway.  Leave a comment on this post to enter — tell me about your Spring Recital plans if you have them!  (My Spring Recital is tomorrow!)  The winner will be randomly drawn on Wednesday, March 19, 2014.