Reviews, Studio Business, Technology

App Review & Giveaway: Bobclass for Studio Management

Screen Shot 2014-12-16 at 2.54.34 PM

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!

screen480x480 (3)

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”

Reviews

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.

screen480x480

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.

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.

10464321_334893306662030_8417393669183818694_n

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.”

MFF piano primer screenshots

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.

Reviews, Technology

iPad App Review: Piano Carnival

Check out this awesome, recently-released iPad app:

app Piano CarnivalPiano Carnival Interactive E-Book – FREE for iPad only.

This app was created by Sonya (a friend of mine) and her sister Elizabeth Schumann.  Piano Carnival is an interactive eBook that contains delightful illustrations, reads the poetry aloud to the view, and plays videos of the Schumann sisters playing Saint-Saens’ music “Carnival of the Animals.”

screen480x480

Here is a quick video that demonstrates what this delightful app can do:

This trailer video gives some background into the app’s creation.  Sonya and Elizabeth have also created a companion page on their website that contains lesson plans and more resources related to Carnival of the Animals.  Be sure to take a look at all of the resources offered there!

It is exciting to see more apps released that take advantage of the full capabilities of the iPad!

Giveaways, Technology

NoteWorks app Giveaway and News: Now Available for iPhone as well as iPad

Screen Shot 2013-11-04 at 9.18.48 AMAbout a year ago, I wrote a review for the NoteWorks app for iPad (read it here).  The developers of NoteWorks have notified me that they have recently released an iPhone version of NoteWorks.  This is great news for any of your students/parents who own iPhones but do not own an iPad!

The iPhone version works very much like the iPad version.  The only possible downside I perceived is that because of the smaller screen, the size of the staff and notes is smaller.  The game still works very well, though.  With young beginners, I would opt to use NoteWorks on the iPad, though, for the sake of the larger staff size.

screen568x568

The new iPhone version introduces a new way for students to select the range of notes on the staff they would like to practice.

screen568x568 (1)

Here are links to all of the versions available:

GIVEAWAY: NoteWorks has generously offered promo codes for FIVE lucky winners to be able to download this app for free.  To enter the giveaway, leave a comment below before midnight EST on Monday, November 11, 2013 with a fun tip for teaching note names to your students.  (Note: the giveaway is for the iPhone version of this app.  However, the developer let me know that it is possible to use the iPhone version of NoteWorks on your iPad.)

Reviews, Technology

App Review: NotateMe

Screen shot 2013-10-22 at 1.07.21 PMNotateMe (this public beta release is currently half off: $13.99) — for iPad/iPhone (also available for Android).

NotateMe is a music notation app that allows users to enter music by finger or using a stylus.  As the notes are drawn, the app interprets your handwriting and creates printed notation.  This technology is impressive!

Here is a screenshot taken from the app store:

screen480x480 Continue reading “App Review: NotateMe”

Reviews, Rhythm, Technology

Review: Rhythm Lab app

11397_492880264102613_200460320_nRhythm Lab app — $2.99  *for iPad only*

Rhythm Lab is an app created by Jon Ensminger (a piano teacher in Michigan) that is designed to help students improve their sense of rhythm.  The app provides a series of graded rhythm examples for students to tap using the large, on-screen buttons.  The app even evaluates the accuracy of the students’ performances.

I frequently use printed rhythm cards with my students during their lessons, but I have also been using this app recently with a few of my older students who really need help with rhythm and who have their own iPads at home.  During the lesson, we practice a few rhythms and discuss strategies for accurate and musical rhythm performance (e.g., helping the student feel the meter beforehand).  Then I can ask students to practice certain rhythms on their own at home.  For students to use at home, Rhythm Lab is better than printed rhythm cards because the app can provide students with instant feedback.

There are a variety of one- and two-handed rhythms available, divided into 10 levels.  The simplest rhythms feature basic rhythms and time signatures (2/3, 3/4, and 4/4).  The more advanced rhythms feature mixed meter (5/4, 7/8, etc) and various tuplets.  Continue reading “Review: Rhythm Lab app”

Technology

App Review: Treble Cat & Bass Cat

imagesTreble512-300x300 (1)Treble Cat & Bass Cat ($2.99 each for the iPhone versions and $3.99 each for the HD iPad versions)

These two apps are excellent for students to practice identifying notes on the staff.  It is a great pair of apps to recommend to parents/students to use at home.   I love how simple the concept of the game is — even young piano students will be able to independently use this app.

In each level, the player is given sixty seconds to find all of a given note(s) as a variety of different notes scroll across the screen.  If the player misses more than 3 notes, they must re-try that level.

treble cat

The graphics and the background music in these apps are fantastic! Continue reading “App Review: Treble Cat & Bass Cat”

Reading Notation, Technology

App Review & Giveaway: SightReadPlus

bg-1-273140SightReadPlus — $7.99 *for iPad only*

Update: also check out my short review of SightReadMinor ($4.99).

SightReadPlus is an app for iPad for piano students.  The app not only contains thousands of sight-reading exercises, but it also “listens” to the student play on their piano and evaluates their performance based on accuracy of pitch and rhythm.  I love this technology!  SightReadPlus is a great tool to improve students’ sight-reading abilities, especially in preparation for examinations or adjudications that require sight-reading.

The 4800 sight-reading examples in this app are appropriate for beginning and elementary students.  The range of notes in each exercise is limited to major five-finger patterns, and all exercises are either for RH or LH (never together).

The exercises are divided into 10 levels.  Level 1 begins with half note and whole note rhythms in 4/4 time, with intervals limited to 2nds.  The more advanced levels contain intervals up to a 5th, rhythm values such as dotted quarter notes and eighth rests, and a variety of time signatures (2/4, 3/4, 4/4, and 6/8).  The exercises can be played in any key.  Continue reading “App Review & Giveaway: SightReadPlus”

Technology

Annotation Apps for iPad / GoodNotes Pro Review

IPadminiWhite screenshotOne of the cool teaching tools the iPad provides the piano teacher is the possibility of completing worksheets digitally during the lesson — or using the iPad like a music whiteboard with a custom background.  A few of my favorite piano teaching blogs have shared some great resources for using the iPad in this way:

  • Anne Crosby — Check out her colorful whiteboard backgrounds by searching “iPad” on her blog, and be sure to see her Music Discoveries digital method book, too (pictured at right).
  • Wendy’s Piano Escapades offers a few different types of colorful whiteboard backgrounds.
  • Susan Paradis has a variety of colorful worksheets/games that would work well on the iPad. 
  • Jennifer Fink from Pianimation has some sight-reading cards (sets of jpg files) that are fantastic.

To use these wonderful resources on your iPad, you will need some kind of whiteboard or annotator app that allows you to upload custom “papers” or “backgrounds” upon which you can draw and erase.  There are many different options available.  Over the weekend, I spent some time researching and testing apps until I found my favorite.  Here are the features I was looking for:  Continue reading “Annotation Apps for iPad / GoodNotes Pro Review”