Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Piano Maestro

I'm a day late, but I'm linking up with "Tech Talk Tuesday" from Pitch Publications.



I'm so excited about this linky party because I've been wanting to get the news out about a fabulous free app. Yes, I said it - FREE! It's called Piano Maestro and it is from Joytunes. They also have a great note naming app called Dust Buster, but that is a whole other story. 


Anyways, I stumbled upon this app through a piano teacher's Facebook group. I was a bit skeptical about using an app in my piano studio, but it is a gem! It helps motivate students to practice, as well as learn notes, rhythms, technique, sight-reading and much more. Students unlock different chapters as they progress in their skills, racking up points with a maximum of 3 stars per song. 



You can also adjust things while practicing. This was super helpful for some of my students. You can slow down the tempo, put the letter names up and even freeze until the right note is played. This costs the student "points" but really, it's about their progress more than points. You can also choose to "test" out of a level if the student is more advanced to begin with. It also works with several piano method books. I haven't used this portion, but I'm sure it's really helpful. Finally, you can assign home challenges to your linked students. Again, I haven't tested this one out yet.





When playing, you can use the iPad keyboard screen or let the microphone pick up your accoustic piano. You don't need any cords or bluetooth technology. If there's a problem, you can re-sync it or send a ticket for help. The group is also awesome for ideas, suggestions, lessons, or just chatting about what's going on in your studio. 


Aside from the journey, you can also isolate skills or play familiar songs. If my student is struggling with an F Major scale, the app gives several exercises to practice and review it. They also just added several Christmas songs, as well as pop/rock/country/TV, etc. My students love the different levels of "Happy." 



So, how do I use this in the general music classroom? I'm just scratching the surface of this app, but I would really like to teach a unit on beginning piano. It is offered in high school, but I always have a ton of students who want to learn or just experience the piano. Our school doesn't do recorders (numerous reasons) and I am not certified or strong in Orff, so this seems like a way for me to bring note reading, rhythms, and so into the music classroom.


I'll be testing it out in the spring with my older students and see how it goes. We are very student-centered and project driven in my district, as well as putting an emphasis on technology. I really hope this app will touch on each of those, as well as allow the students to learn piano in a fun and educational way. 




Below are some great resources about Piano Maestro. Please check it out and share your thoughts. I'd love to hear if anyone has used it before or if you have recommendations.



I'll leave you with two videos that I watched before diving into this wonderful, FREE app. It's easier to understand probably than my rambling explanations. Happy teaching!










4 comments:

  1. I just nominated you for the Liebster Award. You can read more about it here: http://www.yellowbrickroadblog.com/2014/11/liebster-award.html

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    1. Thank you so much, Jennifer! I love reading your blog. It's an honor to be nominated by you :)

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  2. I love these apps and the other one by them - JoyTunes Recorder! Thanks for linking up!

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