Got an iPad? Got Piano Students? Now What?
Here are tips on how to turn your piano studio into a dynamic iPad piano studio.
Tip #1: Get to know your iPad.
The iPad Piano Studio will give you a broad overview of the device, a list of top apps, tips on how to integrate them into your teaching and encouragement to stay current with the latest technology.
David Love's iPad 101 video will acquaint you with the buttons, bells and whistles of your shiny, new tablet.
Tip #2 Make Time to Use the iPad
If you wish to integrate this tool into your teaching, then carve out the time to do so. Suggestions:
Begin each lesson with 5 minutes of Music Tech Time that is pre-planned and appropriately reinforces concepts.
End each lesson with 5 minutes of Music Tech Time that is based on what occurred during the lesson that may need reinforcement before the student goes home.
Ask students to arrive 15 minutes before or after their scheduled lessons to complete assignments on the iPad.
Design Music Tech Time into your studio schedule and curriculum and change 30 minute lessons into 60 minute lessons. Instead of students arriving every 30 minutes, schedule two students at the top of the hour, one works with you at the piano for 30 minutes, while the other one completes pre-planned assignments on the iPad that reinforces what is covered in lessons. Students then exchange places--one sits with you at the piano, the other works on the iPad. More details are provided in The iPad Piano Studio.
Note: if at all possible, charge for any Music Tech Time you offer students. Avoid the temptation to offer it for free.
Tip #3 Secure a few top apps and get to know them.
The app world is overwhelming and the temptation may be to accumulate as many as possible. Instead, heed the advice of app hoarders like me and download only tried and true apps first. So now you are wondering, what are the tried and true, must-have apps? That's a good question and a tough one to answer but here are the apps I would suggest to anyone looking to integrate apps into daily lessons.
Camera for instant feedback. This is THE easiest app for you to find and use as it came with your iPad! Shoot pictures and take videos of students to help them shape up hand positions and build performance skills. Stay tuned for a series of blogs about using your camera at 88PianoKeys.me.
Piano Maestro for sight-reading. There's WAY too much good stuff about this app to include in this post. The first step is to download Piano Maestro which is free for all verified teachers and their students and become familiar with the concept and the environment. Then make sure to plug into the following resources and visit them on a regular basis:
Online Support: A special resource for teachers brought to you by the developers of Piano Maestro--JoyTunes--which provides continual updates as the app develops new features.
Instant Support: The JoyTunes Teachers Facebook Group offers oodles of advice, tips AND troubleshooting. As the group is administered by the JoyTunes crew, you'll have access to those in-the-know who can offer top-notch help along with many devoted Piano Maestro teachers. No question is too insignificant!
Sproutbeat to reinforce early to mid level theory concepts. Tired of worksheets thrown in the trash and neglected theory books? Sproutbeat has a growing library of worksheets that students can complete on the iPad--no paper needed and relatively inexpensive.
Flashnote Derby for mastering pitch names on the grand staff. There are plenty of other note name apps that are suitable but this one is my personal favorite. You can isolate drills down to TWO pitch names and it's SO much more fun for students than flash cards.
Tenuto for review of early to upper level theory and eartraining. If I had to choose one theory app for students, this no-nonsense one would win hands down. With the ability to customize exercises, this one covers just about every theory concept and ear training drill you can imagine.
Rhythm Lab for rhythm reading mastery. When students need review on reading rhythms within a steady beat, this app is my top preference. It even includes advanced rhythmic excerpts found in Beethoven and Debussy!
Believe me, that wasn't easy but these apps are highly qualified to assist you in your teaching and will immediately build an array of student-pleasing, level-appropriate activities for your Music Tech Time.
Tip #4 Devise appropriate app assignments for Music Tech time.
This is where your creativity as a lesson planner comes in. Once you see the power of an app, the sky is the limit! However, it takes work to design assignments and keep track of student progress. Here are some ideas.
Design a unit or theme in which all of your students participate to some extent. Last semester I focused on sharps and flats and key signatures. After making a sequential list of concepts and app activities to suit my goals, each student completed assignments up to their level of understanding. While beginners learned how to find F sharps on the keyboard, other students learned why the key of G major needs an F sharp and how to write sharps on the staff.
As I write all my lesson in Pages on my laptop, every student has a Music Tech Time assignment list in their Dropbox assignment file. After each lesson, I highlight the assignment completed in bold. Here are two posts that I wrote specifically about this topic:
I enjoy making my own units and assignments and although I use method books I don't stick to them as diligently as some. If you desire more structured assignments around your favorite method, you may be interested in Keys To Imagination updated Double Click Curriculum which correlates iPad and Android apps to Alfred and Faber methods.
Best wishes on your new iPad piano studio. Visit 88pianokeys.me often AND don't forget the Music App Directory when you need more apps. Make sure to LIKE The iPad Piano Studio Facebook Page where I offer specific ideas on lesson plans and favorite apps. And remember...