Some music apps I recommend for piano students

1. Note Rush – $3.99 on iOS App store

This app is a great app for training students to quickly connect notes displayed on the staff with the actual key that it connotes. The app works by calibrating first to middle C. After that, the app listens to what you play in response to the”questions” which are the notes on the staff. The app can be adjusted to select specific note ranges or levels, so it works for any student who have started to read notes on the staff.

This app in my experience has been enjoyable for students of all ages and is a MUST in teaching.

2. Multirhythms Rhythm Trainer

This app is available for iOS devices. $4.99

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This is what the app does according to the app developers:

Multirhythms’ features are designed to help you master tricky rhythms and limb independence:

Metronome:

• Practice along with an endless variety of multirhythms

• Includes common metronomes, polyrhythms, Afro-Cuban claves, and clap-and-wave patterns for Carnatic and Hindustani talas

• Easily create additional multirhythms with the built-in editor

• Program the tempo to automatically speed up and slow down

• Precise timekeeping with 22.7 microsecond accuracy

Sequencer

• Hear complicated multirhythms you want to learn through the built-in editor

• Input and play back up to 16 simultaneous rhythms

• Supports odd meters (e.g., dividing every 17 beats into 7 subdivisions)

• Choose from dozens of real percussion sound samples

• Includes example Afro-Brazilian, Afro-Cuban, and popular drumset multirhythms

Trainer

• Practice multirhythms while away from your instrument

• Tap notes as they scroll across the screen

• Get immediate feedback on your accuracy

• Accelerate your mastery with tempo that adjusts to your skill level

• Focus on specific parts by setting individual rhythm volumes

The great thing I like about this app is the metronome. You can pick pre-built multirhythms OR you can enter the specific challenge you are faced with. For example, I was looking at Chopin Prelude Op. 28, No. 1 recently. It has the following notation:

Notice the notation has a rhythm of 5 against 6 over 2 beats

In the app, you go to polyrhythms, select 5 against 6 first.

Voila, you have a polyrhythm metronome

I’ll be writing about more app recommendations in subsequent posts, so stay tuned!

New Google Doc Add-on Vex-Tab Music Notation + Free Worksheet

I was browsing on reddit as I am sometimes wont to do, and I learned about the new and exciting music notation tool for Google Docs.  For those of you not familiar with Google Docs, think of it as basically a free version of Microsoft Office provided by Google.  One significant difference between Google Docs and Office though is that Docs automatically backs up your documents online (not saved on your computer).

Anyway, enough about Docs.  The important news is that you can now use an add-on with Docs to notate music (for free!)  VexTab enables you to code music into your document and seems pretty easy to learn.  I spent about 15 minutes using it to create this worksheet (available in full on PianoTeacherNOLA’s Facebook page):

Music theory worksheet

Here’s an image of the editing window for the first line of music, so you can see how un-scary it is to use.  The green box shows what you type (and the music that results appears above it).

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It’s actually pretty intuitive.  You get to divide up your music into measures and type the notes thru note + octave notation.  I haven’t messed with different note values other than the quarter note yet, but it was very easy to change time signatures – all you do is change the value in “time=?” spot.

This is going to come in handy, I can tell.

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