Technology

My CD Project: Favorite Piano Classics for Students

Here is a peek at the project that has been occupying my spare time for the last two months:

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In November, I got the idea to record myself playing some classical pieces that I were my favorite to learn as I was growing up.  I thought it would make a nice Christmas gift for my family, friends, and piano students.  The project turned out to take MUCH more time than I had originally anticipated, but I am very pleased with the outcome!  Continue reading “My CD Project: Favorite Piano Classics for Students”

Reviews, Technology

iTalk app Review

iTalk app | Cost: Free (with ads) or Premium version: $1.99 (no ads), for iPhone and iPad.

This app is the perfect solution when recording audio of your or your students’ playing.  In many cases, I record video of my students playing during piano lessons; but sometimes I want only audio, so that I can get better quality or so I can more easily email it.

The iPhone/iPad comes pre-installed with a Voice Memos app, so you might be wondering about the advantages of iTalk.  There are two:

  1. Higher audio quality (AIFF files), and
  2. Convenience (transferring/syncing files).

The quality of the sound recording is far better using iTalk versus the Voice Memos app.  When you open the iTalk app, it allows you to name the recording and then select between Good, Better, or Best recording quality (11.025, 22.05, or 44.10 kHz sample rates).  On the iPhone 4 (and probably 5), there is an auto-noise cancellation feature (so you won’t get as much room noise).  Pushing the big red button starts the recording.  After recording, you can browse your list of recordings, play them back, or email a file.  Continue reading “iTalk app Review”

Announcements

As Promised: Master’s Recital Video Recordings

As promised, here are a few selections from my Master’s Recital in January!   I would have loved to be able to post the Gwyneth Walker piece for you to hear, but it is not old enough to be in the public domain yet so posting a recording online would not be legal (if I have my facts straight).  All the clips were edited with iMovie, a free video editing software that comes on all Apple computers.

Click here to view the post with the program notes for each piece.  Enjoy!

Haydn: Sonata No. 52 in E-flat Major, Hob. XVI:52 L. 62, Allegro.

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FpEDQNlKZw4 Continue reading “As Promised: Master’s Recital Video Recordings”

Resources, Technology

Tutorial: Using Audacity Software in the Piano Studio

Audacity is a piece of powerful sound editing software that is free to download.  It is available both for both Mac and Windows computers.

This tutorial will discuss the uses of Audacity software in the piano studio, and explain how to use Audacity to make basic edits to audio files.

NOTE: The correct site for finding and downloading the free Audacity software is audacity.soundforge.net, NOT audacity.com as one may expect.

Uses for Audacity for Piano Teachers

  • Recording students playing their pieces during the lesson for educational purposes; e.g., to prepare for an upcoming performance.
  • Recording student recitals to share with parents on a cd or on your website.
  • Making basic edits to your recordings before sharing them.
  • Assigning students to record and edit themselves in Audacity — or even assign them to create their own composition using Audacity (see the Ideas for Further Extensions section at the end of this post).
    Continue reading “Tutorial: Using Audacity Software in the Piano Studio”
Group Classes, improving as a teacher, Performances, Practice, Teaching Piano, Technology

Preparing for Student Recitals: Recording!

Many of us teachers are probably currently preparing our student for spring recitals, so today I thought it might be beneficial to discuss a way of preparing for performances: recording your students playing their pieces, and then listening to the playback together.

Benefits of Recording

  • The student practices performing. Playing for a recording device can be almost as nerve-wracking as playing for an audience!  There’s no better way to practice handling nerves than to perform often.
  • The student becomes the listener. When listening to the playback, the student is given the opportunity to hear what the piece sounds like from an audience member’s perspective.  The student is bound to aurally notice things that they had not realized they were doing (or NOT doing, as the case may be).  For example, the student may realize that the dynamic contrasts are not really coming through, or that the melody is not projecting over the accompaniment as well as s/he had thought.
  • The student becomes the teacher.  After listening to the playback, the student can evaluate piece and identify the areas that went well or could be improved, and then begin discuss ways to improve the piece. Continue reading “Preparing for Student Recitals: Recording!”