Monthly Archives: May 2011

Metronome Plus – an iPhone app review

 

Metronome Plus

The iTunes App Store has many metronomes, but until now I have not seen one that I think is really helpful for piano teachers and students. Recently I was introduced to Metronome Plus, and this elegantly designed iPhone metronome is the best I’ve seen. 

A metronome for educational use should be as easy to use as a conventional one. Metronome Plus accomplishes this with a clean, large interface. There are no messy, confusing buttons, and I don’t have to worry about the student waiting patiently while I try to remember how to set it.

The tempo can be changed by touching the large plus and minus signs, or by swiping to the left or right.  An animated graphic swings back and forth helping students stay on the beat. Swipe down from the top and the rest of the settings pop up.  There are just enough settings to be helpful, but not too many to make it hard to use. They are intuitive and can be changed with a touch  Accents, subdivisions, and different sounds can be added if you wish or deselected easily with a touch.  

Previously when I tried an iPhone metronome it was too soft to hear over my students’ playing.  This made me wonder if it was possible to have one that was loud enough for the piano. This metronome  is, and if you want it louder you can add accents to every beat.

Metronome Plus sells for 99 cents in the iTunes app store. I can tell a lot of work went into making it visually appealing and useful. This is the metronome I recommend to students who have an iPhone.  If you have given up hope for an excellent  iPhone  metronome, I suggest you try this one!

Full disclosure: As a piano resource blogger I was gifted this app by the developer.  I receive no compensation for my reviews.

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Filed under Teaching Business

Note-Go-Find

Note-Go-Find

I designed this game for my youngest age group, because they told me Quarter Note Hunt  was their favorite group lesson game. It is also a quick game at an individual lesson.

This black and white printable looks great printed on different colored cardstock. After printing both sides and cutting them out, score each card in the middle and fold like a tent card. It is better if you do not laminate it, because that makes it hard to fold.  If you’re worried about smearing, spray it with a fixative.  A few of my cards did get a little smeared, but it only slightly.

Hide the cards around the room. Now you can play several different games:

  • Play it like a scavenger hunt. Give students a list of the notes they should look for. I made a list for every student, and each one was  different.  There was a check off box on the sheet. If a student finished, I asked him to help a younger student.
  • Give each student one specific note to look for. This way a beginner can look for an easy note he knows, such as middle C.
  • Play it at an individual lesson when you introduce a new note. After introducing E, for example, tell the student to find all the E’s you have placed around the room.  Since there are other notes hidden as well, the student quickly learns that E is on the first line. There is nothing like a game to learn notes. It is much more effective than flash cards!
  • Use the blank card for you or a special student to draw and hide a challenge card.
  • If you have a student who doesn’t know the notes yet or has learning disabilities,  make up an answer sheet or give him some flash cards with the names on the back.  It might be good to have something on hand in case you see a student struggling in a group situation.
  • I found that I can’t hide the cards too well. They have to be easy to find! 

Thanks to Cecilly for giving me the tent card idea.

If you use this game in a creative way, consider leaving a comment here so we can share with other teachers.

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Filed under Games, Group lesson ideas, Note Identification

UK cards for Rhythm Round About

My students love this game. It is fast, and doesn’t take up very much time in the lesson.

Rhythm Round About Game Board

Until today I didn’t have a version of the cards for those of you in the UK who use those quaint rhythm terms that always seem such a mystery to those of us in the U.S.,  such as semi-demi-hemi-mini-quaver. (That’s a joke!) I made these cards to fit business card cardstock, but if your paper is a different size, (such as A4) you might need to draw lines and cut it out.  Don’t forget I made some colorful backs below that you can print out. This photo was a prototype, so the final version looks a little different.

UK Rhythm Cards

Colorful Backs for Cards

On another topic, Wendy, over at ComposeCreate posted a picture of one of my darling students who is learning Tangy Tango, an early elementary piece she wrote that I reviewed earlier this year. My student loves it, especially when I play the loads-of-fun teacher duet with her!

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Filed under Games, Music Vocabulary, Rhythm

One Is Write, One Is Rong

One Is Write, One Is Rong

Some of my younger students really liked my worksheet, Lots of Goofs, but it was too hard for them. I didn’t want to leave anyone out, so I made an easy version just for them. I plan to let the students pretend to be the teacher and tell me what is wrong with each one as they cross out the mistakes with a red pen. Maybe I’ll have some easy props I can quickly use to look like a student, like a baseball hat and t-shirt.  Have fun with this one!

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Filed under Texas State Theory Test, Theory