Giveaways, Reviews, Rhythm, Technology

Review & Giveaway: SpeakBeat app

SpeakBeat – Cost: $1.99.  View it in the iTunes store here.

SpeakBeat is a metronome app, but with a twist: it “speaks” the beats!  Just choose the time signature and choose whether you’d like sub beats counted (the “and’s,” “one-and-a’s,” and the “one-e-and-a’s”) or not.   The tempo can be adjusted from 20-240 bpm.  There are also 8 different voices to choose from in the settings: a variety of male and female voices, as well as a few fun ones like Darth Vader and Kermit the Frog!  The app’s interface is easy to navigate and quite nice-looking.

We all know the value of having students count aloud as they play, right?  Counting aloud does more than self-correct the student’s rhythm — it also teaches students to be play in awareness of the meter.  (See more about my thoughts regarding teaching rhythm here.)   Continue reading “Review & Giveaway: SpeakBeat app”

Words of Wisdom

Wednesday’s Words of Wisdom

“Paint pictures with sound. First, find your white—the deepest, roundest sound you can play on the guitar. Then, find your black—which is the most extreme tonal difference from white you can play. Now, just pick the note where you’ve got white, pick it where you’ve got black, and then find all those colors in between. Get those colors down, and you’ll be able to express almost any emotion on the guitar.”

— Les Paul

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.


Using the iPhone/iPad in Piano Teaching

I’ve been enjoying the wonders of my iPod Touch 4g for nearly two years now.  However, recently, my hubby and I upgraded our cell phones to the glorious iPhone 4.  There isn’t really much difference between the two, other than that now I don’t have to carry both a phone and the iPod around with me everywhere (my iPod had my calendar with teaching schedule, so I tried to keep it with me always), and now I can access the internet anywhere I go.

I know many piano teachers are using iPads in their teaching.  The iPhone is no different from the iPad, other than the larger screen and the fact that there are certain apps designed only to work on the iPad (because they require a larger screen).  My hubby has an iPad 1, which he allows me to use occasionally.  Someday, I’ll get my own iPad, but there are too many more urgent things on my studio wishlist right now!  :)

Here are the most frequent ways I use my iPod/iPhone in my teaching:  Continue reading “Using the iPhone/iPad in Piano Teaching”

Music History, Reviews

Review: How To Listen To Great Music by Robert Greenberg

I was kindly sent a copy of a book by Robert Greenberg to review called “How to Listen to Great Music: A Guide to Its History, Culture, and Heart.”  The book has about 330 pages and is organized into 33 chapters.

The content of this book is mostly about its subtitle than about its title.  It reads like a history book — which is, of course, important to understanding “how to listen to great music.”

I often find history books (music or otherwise) dry and uninteresting; however, Greenberg’s book is more than tolerable — it is a very enjoyable read!  From my years as a college student, I remember that my music history textbooks from college that it was easy to get bogged down in the details and fail to recognize over-arching themes and changes across the centuries.  Greenberg, however, got it right!  He has a knack for indentifying and bringing out those bigger themes to give the reader a better understanding of the historical and musical developments across the time periods.  Continue reading “Review: How To Listen To Great Music by Robert Greenberg”


50 Piano Classics Album

EMI Classics send me an email informing me about a special promotion going on right now.  They are currently offering an album of 50 classical piano pieces for just $0.99 (USD) on  The artists include Martha Argerich, Andre Watts, Alexis Weissenberg, and many others!

I just downloaded the album and am looking forward to using it to introduce my students to the classics.  I like using various classical pieces with my preschool aged students and with my homeschool music class, for various movement and listening activities.

Check out this deal now by clicking here.

Studio Business

Updated: Record of Attendance & Payment Printable

Just a quick post today to those of you’ve who’ve asked if I planned to update the dates of the Record of Attendance & Payment printable for 2012-13.  The answer is YES, and here it is!  Visit the Printables > Studio Business page and scroll down to the R’s.

The “Student Information Form” has also been updated.  Previously, it said “2011-2012,” and I’ve decided to remove the years so that I won’t have to re-upload it here each year.

Hope you are all having a great week!

P.S.: Don’t forget to check out the responses about our current Forum Q&A about keeping teenager students motivated!

Words of Wisdom

Wednesday’s Words of Wisdom

“Music is the art…which most completely realizes the artistic idea and is the condition to which all the other arts are constantly aspiring.”

— Oscar Wilde

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.

Motivation, Practice, Teaching Piano

Forum Q&A | Keeping Teenagers Engaged

Our last Q&A Forum topic was about organization.  I loved reading your ideas — thank you all for your responses!

I had a great topic idea from a reader (thanks, Amy!) who asked:

How do you keep teenagers engaged?  As we know, sometimes they are taking lessons only because their parents want them to.  Or, sometimes they are over-scheduled.

Please take a moment to share your thoughts in the comments below — we would love to hear your ideas!

Photo Credit: easylocum