Piano Accents Winner…Drumroll….

Congratulations to…

Rebecca Hass Piano

Rebecca will be receiving a FREE download of Bollywood from Piano Accents by Neeki Bey and Gail Fischler.

Happy Friday, Kids & Keys readers! Thank you for reading this blog. Your comments and page visits make my day everyday! Please keep coming back for more piano teaching tips, ideas, and GIVEAWAYS!

Remember to check out Piano Teacher Giveaway from Piano Accents

at http://www.pianoaccents.com for great music from around the world!

Piano Accents Review & Giveaway!!!

The weather is changing and so should the sounds coming from your piano studio! If you’re tired of hearing the same pieces over and over again from the various method books, your students probably are as well. How about taking a trip around the world?! The above video is a song from the Latin America collection of songs arranged and composed by Neeki Bey and Gail Fischler. As a reader of the Kids and Keys blog you probably recognize Gail Fischler’s name. She is the creator of the Musical Words Game that I wrote about recently. Now Neeki and Gail have teamed up in an effort to publish “the finest music of cultures around the world”.

When you hear the term “world music” your first thought might be that it is not something you are interested in because it is so unfamiliar. Well, fear not and get ready to go on the musical journey of a lifetime with Piano Accents! Besides, due to the internet and smart devices today’s world is definitely global. We are communicating more and more with each other across oceans and continents. We know that music is a universal language, so why not try out some musical sounds from different parts of the world?

Right now on the website pianoaccents.com there are 3 collections available. Africa, Bollywood, and Latin America. Each book has popular music from the part of the world for which it is named.

Here are some features that I like about these books:

1. The songs are outstanding and well known in the given culture. This makes it easy to find YouTube videos of famous artists  performing it. I think YouTube is an invaluable tool to introduce new music to students because today’s students are so visual. Seeing someone perform the music professionally gets them excited about learning it.

2. There are YouTube videos of students playing the songs. This is also helpful when introducing the music to your students because it allows them to see that students just like them can and do play this material successfully. It gives them an “I can do it too” feeling.

3. There are brief 3-step teaching/learning tips throughout each book.

4. Each book includes info to help the student and teacher gain a little background knowledge about the music of that particular part of the world. This is in the form of bios of famous artists and pictures of traditional instruments.

5. Throughout the books, lyrics are translated to help you and the student better understand the song and thus perform the music with greater understanding and meaning.

6. A wide range of emotions is covered in the material. From the smooth groove Mas Que Nada to the “pulling at your heartstrings” Mi’ Tripon you will laugh, cry and dance your way around the globe with Piano Accents.

ABL-Bundle-Image-150x150

There are 3 different books which can be purchased separately or in a bundle.

As you use these books you will definitely want to make use of the pianoaccents.com website. There you will find complete tracks for the songs in the Latin America book and a track from the Africa book under the Audio tab. If you click on the purchase tab for the Africa book you will also be able to listen to more tracks. If you are still not sure after listening to the music (and I doubt it!) there are samples of the sheet music available as well on the same page.

An Important Benefit To Consider For Your Studio

More and more people from all various parts of the world are living in communities together. How cool would it be for people of different ethnicities to hear your students playing music from their home? This will help you stand out even more as a teacher in your area and can possibly bring you families that you otherwise would not attract. With Piano Accents, your studio can be a living example of how music brings us together!

You can watch more videos on the Piano Accents YouTube Channel.

Purchasing Is Easy:

Visit PianoAccents.Com and get all 3 books for only $33 or you can purchase each book separately for $13 each. Individual songs are also available with practice track for $3.

Win A FREE Copy of Bollywood:

Neeki Bey has generously agreed to give one lucky reader their very own copy of Bollywood ($13 value).

To enter, watch the video below of one of the pieces in this book and comment on it here (not on the youtube page).

The deadline to enter is Thursday, Nov. 6, 2014.   This contest has ended! Visit pianoaccents.com for great music!

2 New App Finds!

staffwars

 

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 –

qastronotesThis 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

Great Apps

Sight Read Minor Giveaway!

sight read minor

If you’ve been reading Kids and Keys this week, you already know about the Hanon Plus Giveaway and the Sight Read Plus Giveaway. Well, guess what? We have another one! Today’s giveaway contest is for the Sight Read Minor App. It works in much the same way as the Sight Read Plus app, but for minor keys. So, if you want to get in on this giveaway, leave a comment below telling me how you use apps during your lesson time. For example, I’d like to know if you use apps to begin a lesson, end a lesson, or if you use them for at home assignments or as rewards.

The deadline to enter is Sunday, Oct. 5th, 2014 at midnight.

Alrighty, on your mark, get ready, get set…GO!

app contest

Hanon Plus App Review and Giveaway!

Hanon

Hanon. Pianists hear the word and immediately visualize pages and pages of exercises that have fingers running up and down the piano keys. As a young student I looked at people who already “knew how to play” and wondered how in the world they got their fingers to move so quickly and so freely. Then one day I was introduced to the Hanon Exercises. From Hanon I learned to control my fingers and to will each one to move on command. Hanon set me free from finger positions and taught me how to look (and sound) like I “knew how to play” as well!

Your students should meet Hanon.

Today’s students are lucky. They can get the benefits of Hanon exercises without having to guess whether or not they are doing them right only to get to their next lesson and discover that their fingering was all off. Today’s students have the Hanon Plus app by mTA.

The first thing that makes the Hanon Plus app so appealing for learning to play the piano is that it works with an acoustic piano or keyboard. While there are many apps that require students to interact with an on-screen keyboard they cannot compare to apps that allow the student to practice on the instrument which they are trying to learn. This single capability makes Hanon Plus worth a try for any serious student.

With the Hanon Plus app students can develop their technical ability and dramatically improve their sense of where notes are on the piano keyboard. This is a major plus for those students who can’t seem to take their eyes off the keyboard while playing (one of my biggest pet peeves).

The app comes with 20 built in exercises from Hanon Book 1 which students can practice in ANY major or minor key! Each one is listed by the fingers that will be strengthened.Hanon Plus1

The exercises are also customizable! You or the student can select 1 of 3 rhythm levels from beginner to advanced when playing the exercises and there is an option for 1 octave or 2 octaves. The tempo is adjustable as well. If you look at the bottom of the screenshot below

you will see these features.HanonPlus Screen

And…wait for it… THERE ARE NO IN-APP PURCHASES. I am especially happy about this fact because I always find it disappointing to purchase an app only to find out that the features I thought I was purchasing are not included in the price. With this app you get it all.

Some of my other favorite features of Hanon Plus are the green tracking bar that moves along as the student plays. I find this to be extremely helpful for students who have difficulty tracking while playing from a score. This app also allows the student to practice playing and reading both treble and bass notes at the same time. Of course this helps improve coordination between the hands. If you like the Fingerpower Series, you will LOVE Hanon Plus.

Besides all the benefits for students, Hanon Plus is helpful for piano teachers because it is self-evaluating. In other words the student can use it independently and get feedback directly from the app. I have used the app at the start of lessons and I have also had students who are early or waiting on a sibling to use it while they wait. (If you choose to use the app with a waiting student while you are teaching another student you will need to have a separate room they can use due to the fact that the app is using your iPad’s mic to hear the student play.) You can also have students purchase the app to work with at home in between lessons. The app only costs $7.99 which is about the cost of a book but with all the added benefits of interactivity.

This app is so helpful that YOU as the teacher mApp Store Iconight want to use it to warm up your own fingers while your students aren’t looking. Go ahead…I won’t tell!

Now that you are sold out on this fabulous app and you know that you have to have it, one super fantastic teacher will win a FREE download of the Hanon Plus App. To enter, leave a comment below about how Hanon Exercises were introduced to you as a piano student.

The deadline to enter the contest is Sunday, October 5th at midnight EST. 

Supersonicspiano.com Review and Giveaway!

Supersonics.comLooking for new piano music that is fresh, easy to learn, fun to play and sounds more complicated than it is? Coming Right Up! Please allow me to present to you Daniel McFarlane’s Supersonicspiano.com. If you are already familiar with his work you will be happy to know that he has done a complete makeover of his website and has made it even easier to access ALL of his music. If this is your first time hearing about this Australian composer, get ready to be INSPIRED and to say goodbye to some of your worries about where to get cool music for your students!

If you have been following http://www.thefameschoolblog.com for awhile you probably already know that each year I do a special piano project with my students. Well this year we did music videos! One student’s video features a piece from Daniel McFarlane fittingly entitled “Pretty Piece.” Please enjoy the video to experience a sampling of our first music video projects and the music of this awesome composer.

Claudia learned this song at the beginning of her 2nd year of lessons and YOUR students from beginner to advanced can learn interesting pieces like this as well with ease. How is that for putting the fun back into piano for both the teacher and the student?!

Here are a few highlights of the new and improved SuperSonics site:

*Option to buy pieces individually

*All digital music – get your music on-demand without waiting for a hardcopy in the mail!

 *Option to purchase backing tracks

*Carefully graded pieces in Levels A,B, and C

*Backing Tracks (perfect for use in concerts)

*Duets and Trios

*Funky Solos

You will also find posts from Daniel’s twitter feed on the site. While visiting the site I saw in his twitter feed that he has also created FREE WORKSHEETS for his song “Off The Beat” and that more may be coming!

If you are using the Piano Maestro app by JoyTunes, there is an extra reason for you to try out Daniel McFarlane’s music. His pieces will be included in the app from late August to early September!

I bet you can’t wait to finish reading this post so you can hop on over to http://www.supersonicspiano.com! But before you do, leave a comment below for a chance to win an UNLIMITED REPRINT LICENSE for one of the books on http://www.supersonicspiano.com! One reader will be randomly chosen. The deadline for entering the giveaway is midnight on Friday, July 25th.

Piano Bench Mag Winners!

The Piano Bench Magazine

Subscribe Today!

 

Thank you to everyone who entered the Piano Bench Mag Subscription Giveaway contest. The winners are:

Rebecca U.

and

Leanne

The winners will receive 3 month subscriptions to The Piano Bench Mag.

Looking for more music giveaways? Check out the following blog:

CollaborativePiano is giving away a Free CD of Schubert’s Winterreise – deadline is April 27th

Happy Wednesday and please continue reading Kids & Keys for more piano teaching and creative piano parenting ideas!