Showing posts from October, 2020

Piano Dust Buster - App Review

We know that building sight reading confidence is a huge part of classical piano study, and we also know that gamifying a concept helps us engage in learning it so that we have more fun, stay motivated and ultimately retain what we've learned for longer. So today I am sharing another app that piano students can use to gamify their sight reading fluency practice: Piano Dust Buster ! This app was developed by Joytunes, which also brought us the studio favorite Piano Maestro , and in a lot of ways is similar to Piano Maestro in that it encourages the use of your real acoustic or electric piano, while scrolling music that students read and play in real time along with a backing track. It also has a fun animated theme in the form of a granny who is trying to dust the piano, she dusts the germs away from the notes that you play - and that's where the name Piano Dust Buster comes from.  Things I like about this app: It's intuitive, the graphics are engaging and funny, and it&#

Nate Holder book review

At the beginning of September a new book came out called Why is My Piano Black and White? by Nate Holder. I listened to an interview with the author on the Piano Parent Podcast discussing his earlier book I Wish I Didn't Quit as well as his upcoming release  Why Is My Piano Black & White , and I really liked what he had to say so I pre-ordered a copy of the book. Today's blog post is part book review and part practical application with a few simple recommendations to how I think this book could be used at home to supplement a piano kid's musical journey, to grow their understanding of the instrument and to learn more about the long history of those who have played and composed on it.  The book doesn't read so much as a single story, but as a collection of short stories about various composers and artists starting with Classical music and working up through the 20th century. Once the book gets to the contemporary music, it splits out into genres instead of moving pu

Shaping the Sound - Piano Parent Podcast Episode

A little while back Shelly over at the Piano Parent Podcast had an interview with a pretty big name in piano pedagogy, Marvin Blickenstaff, where he shared his 'Rules of Thumb' for shaping sound when playing the piano.  We all know on some level that music is so much more than a simple combination of notes. Expression, dynamics, articulation and even emotion all play a role in interpreting music so that it actually sounds musical. But even beyond those, there are ways to play that shape our sound into something truly beautiful, nuanced and textured. From the way we strike the keys to how we interpret phrasing, or even what to do with repeated notes to keep each one sounding fresh, there really is a lot going on under the surface when we hear well-played music. In this episode Marvin talks about some of those tricks. You can listen to the episode here, show notes available here  (including a free download of Marvin's Rules of Thumb!) For parents of piano students, I

My Favorite Musicians

We all know that 2020 has been A YEAR so far, but I just wanted to send out a huge Thank You and some extra encouragement to all my piano families, because as I am sitting down to start writing up our Fall Progress Updates, I am just amazed at all the growth that I'm seeing when I compare to this time last year. Piano students really are my favorite musicians because they are always growing, learning and thoroughly impressing me with their music. These piano kids have really adapted through the changes this year.  They've continued to engage in their learning process, take a little extra ownership where needed while things were online, and have carried that back into the studio with them this Fall. We are already seeing huge strides in confidence, sight reading fluency, forward growth and music theory understanding.  They have also done such an amazing job adjusting to the studio guidelines and caring for each other by creating a safe studio community for us all to learn and