Growing up my Dad always told me that “if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.” That truism has served me well, but there are always a few exceptions. And this is one of them. It’s been a while since I first wrote about my foray into Piano Safari (ok, so it’s been a while since I wrote about much of anything!), but I love this method even more now than when I began using it!
I believe it is accomplishing exactly what its creators (Julie Knerr and Katie Fisher) intended – a solid foundation in the fundamentals of reading music notation while simultaneously developing fluency at the piano, thus enabling students to experience more musically interesting pieces sooner and advance to more challenging repertoire more quickly. All of my students who began with Level 1 have now moved into Level 2, and are doing a fabulous job!
Engineering and drafting students at a Virginia private school are pushing the envelope by attempting a project that no one else is currently doing in a school setting: building a piano from scratch. The two teachers in charge of the project have both said that not even colleges are taking on such an ambitious task. With the help of a 3-D printer, students are designing and creating all the parts themselves.
The project is called STEAM, which stands for science, technology, engineering, art and math. The point is to teach the students to combine all the necessary skills and collaborate on the project with each other. They’re required to read blueprints and piano designs from other sources, use the printer to create scaled pieces of the piano and craft the pieces in their regular size by hand. (Read more…)
A few months ago, my wife hired a theater instructor, who specializes in improv, to come give a workshop for some legal mediators. One exercise he had them do has had a wonderful impact on my music students.
All students struggle, in fact all musicians do, if truth be told. Every musician at every level is trying to raise his or her own ceiling and get just a bit better than before. However, there are some students who regularly do better than they will admit. Their ambition to do well is great, but sometimes, if they demand too much perfection, they taint all their progress with a bad taste. Nothing is good enough. They simply get in their own way.
Jane, for example, would focus on getting all the notes right but her sound was meek and tentative. (Read more…)
Created by world-class musicians and instructors, Playground Sessions offers a 21st century approach to learning to play the piano and has received notoriety from celebrities, music cooperations, and people around the globe.
The drive behind Playground Sessions is to learn to play the piano by playing. So, the interactive software was designed with three specific components in mind to make learning to play as fun and enjoyable as possible. In David Sides’ (Playground’s co-creator & video teacher) own words during a TV interview, he said, “the idea behind it [Playground Sessions] is to combine gaming elements, social features, and popular songs…to teach them how to play…” With these three things, as well as the interactive aspect and the ability to learn right from the comfort of your own living room, I believe this product hit right on the money with all the 21st century pianist wannabes out there.
I haven’t tried PlaygroundSessions myself, but I think it’s a fantasti (Read more…)
Fixed 29 bugs and improvements reported by the Quality Assurance Team.
Added Barbados Dollars to currency options.
We removed the requirement for an email address when creating a student.
Let us know what improvements you’d like to see by giving your feedback here. And if you experience an issue while using the software, or just have general questions, please do not hesitate to contact firstname.lastname@example.org or 1-800-517-2811. (Read more…)
Learning and practicing scales at the keyboard can be relatively easy and enjoyable with the aid of some simple visual aids. Yet music students often feel daunted with the learning of scales, chords and arpeggios, thinking that they are either difficult, unnecessary, time-consuming or irrelevant.
Difficulties for students are most often seen when first trying to cross fingers over/under for piano scales and especially when playing both hands together, trying to remember which fingers to use and which white/black notes and more.
Practising scales plays an essential part in developing skills with the sense of key and pattern acquired through familiarity, speeding up the learning of new pieces, developing aural awareness and increasing familiarity with the geography of the instrument.
From my perspective and personal background, I have always felt that scales, chords and arpeggios are very important for finger dexterity and a better unde (Read more…)
This past week we migrated over to a new hosting provider. It required a bit of downtime for the site over the weekend, but now that the transition is through, you should be seeing a noticeable difference in loading speeds within your account and on your music studio websites.
I’m always attempting to find a way to incorporate my favorite tool (the iPad) and prefer to remain a paper-free studio as much as possible. Therefore, I’ve created a tutorial on how your students can complete Kristin’s activity as a digitally handcrafted musical Mother’s Day card with just the iPad and the help of a terrific app, of course!
Take a Peek at a Completed Composition
Here’s a finished project. You’ll notice some slight variations in what was notated and how it was played and sung–creativity can’t be stopped! (Read more…)
We all know recitals can build excitement for our studios. Could we get even more creative with them? Give folks a performance to remember. Families will talk about it to friends, friends will see clips or photos on Facebook or in emails, and word will spread about the teacher whose students know how to put on a show. Students will be excited to have been a part of it. You’ll probably add to your waiting list as a result. Here are the first five buzz-making recital ideas: