We are quickly approaching the time of year where students are under a LOT of pressure. From recitals, concerts, local performances, school activities, midterms and finals students have a ton of things that need their attention. A great way to lighten things up in piano lessons is to use fun apps that keep the learning going but without the pressure.
With this in mind, I did a search for music theory apps and found some very cool ones that were new to me. The first one is Staff Wars. This is a game that was originally available only on desktop. I used to use it all the time before we migrated to using the iPad. I was thrilled to learn that it is now available as an app in the iTunes store for both iPhone and iPad!
Cool Things About Staff Wars:
It is an arcade style game. Kids drill music notation on either treble, alto, or bass clef without even realizing they are learning!
It has awesome sound effects
A student played it yesterday at the end of his lesson and scored very high on treble clef, so I challenged him to beat that score at his next lesson. As I wrote the challenge in his notebook he played the game again…AND BEAT MY CHALLENGE! Then it was time for his sister’s lesson. He usually leaves during her lesson, but this time he stayed and continued to play the game until he even beat the challenge I gave him to replace the previous challenge that he beat!!!
If you want a game that motivates students – especially boys – hurry over to the iTunes app store and pay just $0.99 for Staff Wars!
Another promising app I found is –
This app is also presented in arcade style. The learning here is all about note values and their relation to each other. Whole notes appear huge and must be destroyed. The catch is that the whole notes break up into half notes and the half notes break up into quarter notes. You can get QAstronotes here.
Tried these apps already? Let me know in a comment how your students liked them.
Other posts you might want to read:
Quaver’s Marvelous World of Music
The people who made this video have a great website musicianswithapps.com
It has been very useful for me in finding apps kids love. They review apps for all kinds of instruments and give a rating. They make it easy to find out what the best apps are and even let you know how their kid testers voted and how the teacher voted. You’ve got to check it out! Oh and I use the featured app in my studio – all the kids love it!!!
Thanks to a post on Natalie Whickham’s Blog, my students have been enjoying this wonderful new app. It systematically teaches staff notation and rhythm while captivating the student in the story of a princess. Girly girls in my studio LOVE LOVE LOVE it. This app has some fun extras for kids also – as you move through the levels you unlock different fashion items for the princess and you can even take pictures of the princess!
I highly recommend this app for students who may be struggling with staff notation. It can be purchased in the itunes store.
Okay, this is not exactly a PIANO app, but it is the app that I use most often for my students during piano lessons. iPhone’s YouTube app is amazing! I have a few students who have very short attention spans. The YouTube app provides fun breaks during the lesson that extend the learning.
There are so many videos on YouTube of everything! There is usually at least one for any given song that we are learning. So, I just do a quick search for the song and find a listing that looks appropriate. Instantly my student has a “live” performance of the song he is working on. Of course with it being YouTube, some videos are better than others. This is yet another learning opportunity. I have the student critique the video and compare it to his own playing.
One very good thing about this app is that there is a FAVORITES tab. I add the videos that are most popular with my students such as the Beethoven’s Wig series.
I also use the app to demonstrate how other kids of similar ages play the song. Students who are struggling with a particular song are immediately motivated to keep trying when they see a kid younger than them in a video playing the song easily. While I do stress that usually a LOT of practice has taken place before they post this up on YouTube, it still motivates the student to keep trying.
I could go on and on about this app, but if you’re looking for a great way to spice up your piano lessons, use this app!
When I was a kid there was a saying that went like this: “An apple a day keeps the doctor away”. These days it seems that we need our apps just as much or even more than we needed those apples! So, for the next few days I’ll share my favorite apps for piano with kids.
At just $0.99 this app is awesome! Perfect for the 4-6 year old beginning piano student. It is part of Alfred Publishing’s Music For Little Mozarts method. Familiar graphics for the student who is using these books and so fun to play! I use it during the lessons and encourage parents to download it to their device as well. At $0.99 it’s an EASY way for parents to sneak in some extra practice time for their little one away from the piano.
I’ll be back tomorrow with another app suggestion. In the meantime, I’d love to hear about your favorite apps to use in the piano teaching studio.