Category Archives: Teaching Aids

G. Henle Verlag iPad App Review

G. Henle Verlag is one of the highest quality music publishing companies in the world for urtext classical music. I have Henle editions in my library, and they are excellent.

Recently the company announced an app for the iPad and coming soon, Android.

Since I have experience with Henle editions, I downloaded the app to take a look. I thought that either the app would cost a fortune or it would have high-priced in-app purchases. I was pleasantly surprised to discover the app is free and the music is quite reasonably priced.

First of all, it is obvious that Henle has spent a lot of time and money on this app. True to the German way, it is very well done and elegant in its simplicity. I am not the most intuitive person when it comes to technology, but, honestly, this app is easy to use.

When you open the app, you are offered a free score and I chose a Beethoven Sonata. The app allowed me to:

  • Write annotations on the score.
  • Move annotations around on the score.
  • Print or email my annotated version.
  • Delete the fingerings in the score and even change them. You need to watch the video because this is an amazing feature!
  • Change the layout, making it bigger or smaller, and move the staves further apart. The music will wrap around to the next page automatically.
  • Use a Blue Tooth pedal page turner.
  • Turn on the metronome.
  • Use the built-in recorder.
  • Use the Apple pencil or inexpensive stylus.

You can check out the videos here that show what the app can do.

You are probably wondering how much these magic scores will cost. They are purchased with credits and the price starts at 10 credits for $.99, 20 credits for $1.99, 100 credits for $8.99  and on up.  [Prices are US dollars.] I decided this is very reasonable so I bought a favorite Chopin Nocturne for $.99. One Henle print edition Nocturne is about $7.00. The complete book of Chopin Nocturnes is 220 credits and the complete book of Bach Inventions is 94 credits. The purchases are through the Apple store, so Apple is getting 30% of the purchase price.

There are a few things that will improve the app. First, it really needs an eraser or undo in annotation mode. I tried the suggestion on their website of using the white pen tool to erase, and if your annotation is on top of a stave, the score is covered also. This was a real problem for me even though the original is not changed.  Also, the screen enlarges too much in annotation mode and it would be nice if that was adjustable.

I think most musicians from my generation love our print music books and I’m no exception. But it is nice having a digital library, and this is a great addition to my collection of apps.

[Disclosure: This is an un-solicited, non-commercial review. I have not been in contact with Henle in any way and received no compensation.]

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Filed under iPad Ideas, Teaching Aids

Picture Scales in All Keys

Click on each picture to download the files.

 

I’ve finally finished remaking all of the Picture Scales. I needed to update some things under the hood, so I took the opportunity to make some more changes including remaking the one octave and two-octave scales.

They aren’t easy to make, so I was really dreading it.  Then there is the problem of not knowing my left hand from my right. Plus, I constantly mix up the 4th and 2nd finger. And the 1 and 5. Now that I think about it, how did I ever learn to read music! 🙂

However, over the years they have been well worth it.  I use regular scale books, too, but there are times when picture scales come in handy. My theory is, use what works! These picture scales are excellent for:

  • Visual learners
  • Memorizing scales
  • Teaching scales by ear
  • Students with learning disabilities

To find these in the future, go to the top menu and select Free > Newer Free Resources > Teaching Aids. Or just do a Google search for “Susan Paradis picture scales”.

If you like the idea of picture scales but don’t like my fingering,  I have posted some sheets where you can write your own. Go to the following link and scroll down until you see the thumbnail graphic for Write Your Own Fingering.

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Filed under Picture Scales, Teaching Aids

Shamrock Keyboard Race

Shamrock Keyboard Race

Shamrock Keyboard Race

This is a game I made up to learn piano keys. I got the idea from my friend Cecilly who told me about her similar game to learn sharps and flats. I changed it around for learning piano keys, made some cards, and it kind of took on a life of its own!  It has become a staple for piano teachers all around the world.

Keyboard Race is played on the piano keys. It’s fast and it works!  As a matter of fact, I like it so much that I’ve made a lot of different variations for each season and even baseball cards! I’ve even made cards with an H instead of a B for German teachers.  Check out the links at the bottom of this page.

Since these cards are not particularly cutesy, they are good for older beginners.

Objective

  • To quickly identify piano keys
  • To identify middle C
  • Optional: To identify B flat and F sharp

Materials

  • Piano keyboard
  • Keyboard Race Cards, one color for each player
  • Two tokens • Collectable erasers will not damage your keyboard and I have an extensive collection of cute erasers.

Directions

  • This is a two-player game, usually the teacher and student.
  • The teacher sits on the right side and the students sits on the left side of the piano bench, at each end of the piano.
  • Each player has one set of cards and one token, and places the their cards on the piano book rack. Shuffle the cards well.
  • The first player turns a card and moves his token to that piano key, the closest to his end of the piano.  The second player does the same.
  • Play continues with each player drawing a card and moving his token toward the middle of the keyboard.
  • The game is over when one player passes the middle of the keyboard. I like to use middle C with my young students.
  • Note: The player on the right side (treble end) usually loses, so that’s where I sit. Games are more fun for students if they win.

Why I like this game

  • My students love it and want to play it over and over.
  • It is the fastest and most fun way to learn keyboard names.

Here are links to the game using different cards:

Baseball Keyboard Race

Pumpkin or Leaves Keyboard Race

Snowflake Keyboard Race

Reindeer and Elves Keyboard Race

German Shamrock Keyboard Race

If any of these links don’t work in the future, use the search engine on the right. A Google search will produce results, also.

 

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Filed under Note Identification, St. Patrick's Day, Teaching Aids

One Minute Club 2016

OneMInuteClubPP2016

One Minute Club 2016

It’s time to post the 2016 One Minute Club Cards! Thanks to the teachers who reminded me! Included in the file are cards and certificates for both the Junior One Minute Club and the regular One Minute Club.  There is also a chart where you can keep a record of their weekly scores. Just remember to keep it lighthearted and fun!

I’m not much of a video maker, but I made this about 4 years ago showing students of all ages practicing.

One Minute Club from Susan Paradis on Vimeo.

These cards are formatted for 2 x 3.5  perforated blank business cards. The (blue and green) borders around the cards extend past the cutting lines to aid in printer alignment problems. Make sure your PDF printer window is set to “actual size,” and you are using the latest version of Adobe Reader.

In case you don’t have any blank business cards,  I added short cutting lines for you to use a ruler and draw cutting lines.

After students earn the cards,  I put them in clear plastic ID holders and attach them to their  book bag with a small chain. The next year all I have to do is insert the new card.

Some students know all their notes on paper, but have no idea where they are on the piano. This activity actually helps sight reading because the student must physically find the note.

Unfortunately, it can easily turn into drudgery if the teacher doesn’t have the right attitude or plows into all the cards at once.  So I always start with just a few cards and I supplement with games, including note games on the iPad.

If  students learn they can play just two or three cards successfully, then we can gradually add cards so that they don’t get overwhelmed. Because if they do, they just shut down.

Usually I start with the treble spaces, because those are the easiest to learn.

If you’re reading this and have no idea what the One Minute Club is, well, I’ve written about it extensively. For more information, use the search tab on the right, and type in One Minute Club. I also have some mini flash cards for you to print. Why not challenge your older students with mini ledger line cards! These are all free downloads because I like to share.

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Filed under Note Identification, Teaching Aids