PRACTICIA: An app that guarantees progress between lessons
Fellow teacher Lou Ann Pope graciously offered to share her experience with an app called PRACTICIA. The highly respected and successful teacher weaves her story as a fairy tale because of her passion for Irina Gorin's method Tales of a Musical Journey.
Take it away, Lou Ann...
Let me tell you A Tale of Transformation...
Once Upon a Time, in an enchanted tower far, far away…(Ok maybe it’s not THAT far away) at the University of Michigan, there was a much younger peasant girl, who found piano teaching to be a rather lonely art, with just the piano student, the music and the piano.
The peasant girl had a wonderful education with some of the most respected pedagogues in the land, including Joanne Smith at Bowling Green State University, (and later at the University of Michigan,) and Louise Bianchi at Southern Methodist University in Dallas.
She loved her little princes and princesses dearly. At each lesson, she would carefully write out a detailed assignment, (gruff voice) encourage her students to practice (oops, excuse me)…encourage her lovely, precious little darlings to practice. (“kiss kiss!”) And she placed the assignment into a notebook…but it was often eaten by a dragon, or perhaps it floated into a moat, never to be gazed upon again.
According to her antiquated calculations, she spent 87 hours a year on this one unproductive task! That’s 3 minutes per student per lesson.
The peasant girl prided herself on creating clever worksheets and festival games to make the piano lessons interesting and engaging to her little darlings. However, she never knew HOW the inhabitants of the land practiced, once they went back to their castles, or for some…even IF they practiced at all!
Hark!! Along came the INTERNET! Soon the peasant girl began conversing with other amazing teachers and composers on Piano Teacher Central, and other pedagogy pages, which led to her attending the fair maiden, Irina Gorin’s workshop last year in Carmel, Indiana.
The peasant girl became fascinated with the fair maiden’s captivating teaching style and informative videos. She wanted to devour as much information as she could from the fair maiden! Her books were delightful, with fairytale characters and creative ways to teach beginning pianistic technique and reading. There were so many videos of Irina showing how to teach a relaxed hand position, arm weight, two note slurs with a beautiful tone, and more! But alas! The lass wasn’t as organized as she would like to be, and found that she was as slow as a snail in remembering which video correlated to the Tales of a Musical Journey piece.
Here’s where the story gets really good… One fine day, a knight in shining armor came galloping into the land on his white steed! Sam Rao, was searching the Land of Music Teachers far and wide to find beta testers for his Practice Platform: PRACTICIA, a Cloud-based delivery system for assignments, found in the Apple App store and soon to be available for Android. According to its founders, PRACTICIA is not just an app, it’s an organization that is committed to engaging teachers, parents and students in practicing at a whole new level!
This sounded appealing, so the peasant girl jumped at the chance to try it out! Now, when the she assigns Gypsy Dance, (Tales Book 2, p.16) she has attached a picture of an old-fashioned gypsy, a text describing 2 note slurs, an audio of Irina’s accompaniment backing track, a video of a student playing two note slurs that was recorded during the lesson, and a YouTube video of Irina teaching the piece! And she never has to re-invent the wagon wheel: just reassign it to the next little princess!
Organization, creativity, joy, and effective practicing enveloped the land! Now the dear ones record their practice in an audio or video onto their iPhone or iPad, upload it, and the newly, self-appointed queen can listen and comment during the week!
The very fact the students record their practice makes them practice smarter. They ask questions, listen, critique and are fully ENGAGED! This former peasant girl’s lowly studio went from practicing approximately 200 pieces a month to close to 1000!
When a student walks into the queen’s domain to play Gypsy Dance, she has a clear picture of the student and knows exactly what to address in the lesson! No more asking to hear several pieces just to assess the situation. And with a domain of 46 students, this is a real time-saver!!
The parental inhabitants of the realm have noticed a significant improvement in their progeny’s performing abilities! They love the fact that their children can touch base with their teacher and can ask questions if they have any confusion about a piece. So the Knight-in-Shining Armor and the Queen (formerly known as peasant girl) could see that this technology would be legendary and they decided to share it with all of the royalty of the Musical Kingdom, commencing with you!
So now teachers ALL across the land are zealously using PRACTICIA to enhance any piece or method they teach! This Queen praises the musicality that Tales of a Musical Journey addresses and is forever grateful to the fair maiden Irina, King Meter, Princess Melody Grace, Prince Rhythm Frederic, FairyMusicalina, Sam Rao and PRACTICIA for the transformation that has transpired!
And I’m not jesting when I say…And they ALL lived happily ever after!
Lou Ann Pope is a private piano teacher in Dalton, GA, who has found Tales of a Musical Journey to be a game changer. Visit Irina Gorin’s website, www.irinagorin.com to find out more about her studio and to purchase her books. You may also visit her YouTube channel for videos of her teaching.
Lou Ann Pope has successfully become a PRACTICIA studio, exclusively, implementing the technology with her entire studio. As she gains new students, she has the parents sign up on the website, www.PRACTICIA.com during the first lesson.
Likewise, teachers can visit the website, sign themselves up and then sign up their parents and students. Then they can download the app to their Apple device.
Finally, teachers can join the FB page, “PRACTICIA Users Group” to ask questions, learn about new developments and to connect with other innovative teachers!
PRACTICIA teachers are riding the wave into the future. Come join us!
Contact Sam Rao or visit the website to learn more and to get started with the app.
Back to Leila...
A big thank you to Lou Ann and Sam for this tale!
I'm very intrigued with this system and am seriously considering PRACTICIA for my studio this fall. I discovered that a good deal of information can be found at PRACTICIA's YouTube-- here.
Some questions that come immediately to mind which Lou Ann answers:
How much is a subscription of PRACTICIA?
Right now PRACTICIA is free. Sam said there will be discussions with piano teachers to decide how much to charge for a subscription each month.
Do you have a script for teachers to give to parents to sway them to sign up?