On this page you will find
- Monthly newsletters
- Recommended articles
- Podcasts for piano parents
- Practice instrument information including tuners
- Miscellaneous resources
- Composing/staff paper and online notation software
- Local arts resources/events
Click here to access the Archive of past Studio Monthly Newsletters.
While digital keyboards of today are of much higher quality than those of the past, they will never be able to replace the feel and touch of an acoustic piano.
A healthy piano technique can only be truly developed through acoustic piano use. I understand parents don’t want to “spend too much money on an instrument until you’re sure they’re going to stick with it,” but poor practice instruments often contribute to students disinterest in continuing. Unlike digital keyboards, acoustic piano’s hold their value if well maintained.
There are plenty of acoustic pianos out there to be found. Check Craigslist to start! If you’re unsure, a piano technician can even look at a piano for you and give you an estimate/report on the condition it’s in and possible cost to get it in good working condition.
Keeping your piano in good condition means all the keys are in working order, the pedals are functioning, it is placed on an inside wall away from a fireplace and preferably not in the same room as a fireplace, and it is tuned twice a year.
Yamaha’s care instructions are: “Keep the keyboard clean: The keyboard should be wiped periodically with a soft, dry cloth. Never use cleaners containing alcohol, as the keys will become cracked. If the keyboard is very dirty, wipe it with a cloth dipped in a solution of soap and water and wrung out well. The same cloth should not be used for cleaning the surface of the piano, however. A good habit to cultivate is never to play the piano with dirty hands.”
Some analogies to help you understand the importance of having a real piano 🙂
- If your child wanted to learn to paint would you say to them, “we will buy you some paintbrushes, but only after you’ve mastered painting with finger paints.”
- Learning on a keyboard and expecting students to advance is like sending students to tennis lessons with a badminton racket with the same expectation of advancement.
- It’s like teaching someone to swim with a blow-up pool.
I know this might seem a little extreme, but it’s the truth. It takes a lot of time to undo unhealthy technique developed after months or years on a keyboard. Please choose to invest in an appropriate instrument!
94.1 Classical Music Station out of Fort Wayne, IN
Free notation software – Noteflight.com
Local Arts Events
If you have an iPad or iPhone there are so many apps out there to choose from. Below are some fun ones you might try out with students at home to reinforce what they learn during their lessons!
A fun app for preschool and kindergarten students especially. Students create their own song using a farmyard animal chorus.
Music Flash Class ($3.99)
Electronic flashcards. The app allows you to set what notes to drill and students can go at their own speed. Perfect for students just beginning to learn notes. Many note name apps have timers and can cause frustration if students are just learning.
Flash Note Derby ($0.99)
Note naming app in the form of a derby race! The speed of the race can be set to slower or fast timers to fit the ability level of the students.
Isle of Tune ($2.99)
Create your own unique musical journeys from street layouts. Roadside elements are your instruments and cars are the players.
Note Rush ($3.99)
One of my favorite note-naming apps because it gets right to the heart of the skill of note-naming: location on the piano. The interactive app “hears” your piano and students must play the correct pitch. Different theme settings like ladybugs or outer space available.
Note Works ($4.99) – *iPad only*
NoteWorks is a musical game, designed to teach note recognition and improve sight reading skills. Hungry Munchy is eager to swallow elusive blue notes. Your goal is to help Munchy catch each note as quickly as possible.
Rhythm Lab ($4.99) – *iPad only*
Customizable rhythm app.
Blob Chorus (FREE)
This ear training app is fun and silly, but really works! Each of the blobs in the chorus sing a note, and then the king blob sings his note. The aim of the game is for the student to identify the blob that sang the same note as the king blob.
Tune Train (FREE)
Great for students who are interested in composing. This app allows students to draw visual melodies then transcribes their melody into written notation.
A metronome is a device that helps students learn to play with a steady beat. Playing with a metronome can be a difficult task in itself and is an important part of the learning process. Because of this, I don’t recommend students even practice with a metronome on their own until they have done it with me. Otherwise, it can get very frustrating!
Below is a list of recommended metronomes. You have two options when looking for a metronome. You can purchase a separate metronome device, or you can get an app for your smartphone. The downside to having the app is, if it’s on YOUR phone, it may be tricky for the student to have access if you’re not around when they are practicing. To ensure a metronome is always readily available, I recommend you simply purchase a separate device. The Korg digital metronome is available on Amazon for $16 and is easy to use.
Korg Digital Metronome – $16 on Amazon
This is a great little digital metronome that’s not imposing in size, has all the basic functionality any student would need, and has a good price point for a digital metronome. I highly recommend this metronome.
Tap Metronome (App) – FREE
A simple to use and highly intuitive app. Even though the picture of the app looks like a mechanical metronome, the app does not visually function like one. With the metronome, students can also “tap in” a tempo to see how fast they are playing.
This metronome app is appealing for young students because they can choose their own “animal” that will meow/bark as a metronome. This makes playing with a steady beat a lot of fun. Free, or you can pay $0.99 to remove ads and have access to additional “pets”.
Metronome+ (App) – FREE
A nice metronome app that is free but may require in-app purchases for upgrades in the future. One nice function of this app is that it has a recording function for the student to record themselves playing.
Cherub Metronome – $25 on Amazon
If you prefer a more manual style, then a mechanical metronome is for you. Playing with one of these is fun and somewhat nostalgic as this style metronome has been replaced in popularity by digital and smartphone metronomes.