Yamaha Pianos, Wireless MIDI, Piano Maestro, AirTurn Pedal Wow!



Just returning home from the Ohio,  I want to share some things I discovered during my short stay. My Christmas list is growing!

Ohio is home to outstanding music institutions and teachers

It was fun sharing the joy of Piano Maestro and oodles of other apps this past weekend at the Ohio Music Teachers Association conference.

This association is loaded with highly esteemed teachers and professors 12227641_1520085918305009_7946332132038695363_nthanks in part to excellent institutions like Oberlin Conservatory, The Ohio State University, Ohio University, Cleveland Institute of Music, Cincinnati  College Conservatory and all the smaller yet strong schools interspersed throughout the state. In addition, MTNA (Music Teacher's National Association) is based in Cincinnati so Rebecca Johnson, MTNA president, was at the conference. Joy Morin of ColorInMyPiano fame resides in Ohio as well. Make sure to check out her blog if you have not done so already. Of course, I best not forget my colleague and friend Bradley Sowash and of course, Suzanne Newcomb who chaired the conference planning.

The level of playing at master classes and in-depth sessions demonstrated the dedication of Ohio teachers. In addition, I was so pleased to see groups of pedagogy students attending the conference. They are smart to take advantage of opportunities to learn, network and connect by attending conferences.

Thank you to those who joined me at the JoyTunes showcase as well as my session on mobile technology. If you forgot where to find my handouts for both sessions, here's the link found at leilaviss.com.

Ouch! Piano Maestro is HOT

It was fun sharing the good news of Piano Maestro. If you have not heard of 12108243_1520015068312094_2129708778248634593_nthis app that magically boosts reading and rhythm skills, get on it! As a workshop was previously held in Ohio this past January, many teachers attending the conference had already heard of Piano Maestro and were happily using the app.

I'd include testimonies of the teachers who chatted with me at the conference, but there's not enough room to share their boundless enthusiasm for the app!  Plus, they all pretty much said the same thing:

I LOVE this app and could not imagine teaching without it.

Make sure to purchase Becki Laurent's book The Insider's Guide to Piano Maestro here. It is THE best way to learn everything you need to know about the app.

A Yamaha hybrid piano is on my Christmas list


With a C6 Grand in my living room and a Clavinova 505 in my studio, it's fair to say I'm a Yamaha piano fan. Well thanks to the generosity of Tony Mastadonna of Classic Pianos Cleveland, I'm now an obsessed fan. Tony brought just about every model of hybrid and digital piano to the conference. I fell head over heels with the hybrid pianos: acoustic pianos with the tech-savvy features of digital pianos. Not sure which model will make my list yet, but the saving starts now! Well, that is, after I purchase my iPad Pro. :-)

Wireless MIDI rocks

While I showcased Piano Maestro on Yamaha's TransAcoustic piano in the OMTA exhibit hall, I made friends with Phil Buchwalter. Tremendously tech-savvy 71iPBB8laGL._SL1500_Phil travels to teacher's homes and helps them with tech-needs as they enjoy their Yamaha pianos.

Phil helped me make fast friends with wireless MIDI. I purchased this gadget soon after it came on the market quite some time ago and it sat in my Clavinova bench waiting for attention. Liz Atkinson and I (and many others) were completely sold when we witnessed how easy it was to use it with the iPad. Piano Maestro worked like a charm with  Wireless MIDI.

In a nut shell, Quicco Sound's Wireless MIDI interface mi.1 allows you to hook a MIDI keyboard to your iDevice or MAC with the magic of Bluetooth. Honestly, I was afraid that hooking this up would be too tricky and figured it wouldn't work any way. I found out how wrong I was when Phil got out his Quicco Sound device, attached it to a MIDI compatible keyboard, and hooked it up to my iPad in seconds.

When I returned home, I was determined to get my Quicco Sound device up and running, too. Of course, there are some steps that we didn't cover when I was in Ohio so I've included them here along with all the others so you can get your iPad hooked up to wireless MIDI.

  • Order the device here.
  • Advice: Before purchasing, refer to the mi.1 sizing information here and make sure that your instrument has the required space around the MIDI ports for installation.
  • Look for and follow the instructions that come with the device!
  • Turn OFF your MIDI keyboard.
  • Insert the mi.1 MIDI device into your MIDI ports on your keyboard, correctly!
  • Study the arrows on the device so you know which side to insert into IN and which one connects with OUT. Tip: get out your iPhone flash light to help you see all those small black letters and signs!
  • Download this free app on your iPad: mi.1  and open the app.
  • Turn on your keyboard.
  • Tap CONNECT on your iPad screen.
  • Tap on the wheel icon on the top RH corner of the iPad screen.
  • Tap on UPDATE to update the firmware. This means your MIDI device is programmed to work with any iDevice.
  • Turn the keyboard off and back on.
  • Open your Garage Band app and open any song that you've created
  • Tap on the wrench on the top RH side of the screen
  • Scroll down and tap Bluetooth MIDI devices
  • You'll see the mi.1 device is not connected so tap it to connect. A wheel will spin a little and then declare the keyboard and iPad are "connected."
  • Open Piano Maestro and it will let you know that a MIDI device has been connected.
  • Here's where you may need some trouble shooting tips:
    • Force close Garage Band and then open to reconnect your iPad to the MIDI device.
    • Force close Piano Maestro and reopen it.

This is a great deal of steps so if you drag your feet like I did for a while, I can't blame you. I can say with confidence that the convenience of wireless is worth it if you are interested in reducing cords and cables.

I made a new friend and found a new pedal to turn pages on my iPad

Lizbeth Atkinson introduced herself while I was hard at work playing Piano tn_PED_Straight_on__64878.1422118019.1280.1280Maestro.  Little did I know when we took the pic below that she received OMTA's Teacher of the Year award! Congratulations!

It was great meeting her and I appreciated her savvy tip: Lizbeth is a big fan of  the AirTurn Ped, the latest foot pedal for turning pages from Air Turn. The streamlined, slanted design makes it easier for the foot to tap the pedal. If you want to know more about the process of reading a score on your iPad, follow this link.

Another tip: use the code AirTurkey to get 20% off!


What's going on your Christmas list?