Posted in Apps and Games, Different styles

Online Learning?

One of the things that has happened because of Covid…..but was already happening before Covid, is the opportunity for students to learn online. In today’s post, I’m going to talk about two specific kinds of online learning, having lessons online, and learning via apps or YouTube tutorials.


So, let’s start with online lessons. I personally was extremely hesitant to jump to it, but with Covid, I had to. And I went from grudgingly doing it, to learning how to improve and excel. During Covid, I ended up teaching recorder to a friend’s son who lives in Washington state. They had just started recorder in school and he was really want to work at it. Now, at the moment, I only have 2 students. One local, but her schedule is challenging to get to me, so we have her lesson online. The other one is a voice student in Nebraska! There are entire studios that are run online. I don’t personally think I could ever get there, because I do feel like I excel at in person lessons. So, what are the benefits of online lessons? For students, the travel (or lack of travel) works great. Especially if there are younger siblings. Mom or dad can get the student logged in (or they can log in themselves) and then go entertain the younger siblings. One of the biggest challenges is internet quality as well as video quality. So there are challenges to it, but it’s definitely doable.


But I want to spend some time with learning via app or YouTube tutorial. These can be awesome for learning specific songs, because some students are visual learners, and seeing someone else play it, along with the music, can be a huge help. But one of the big challenges that exist from my perspective on this, is are you getting feedback on proper technique? Is that really the goal? I would hope that it would be, because correct technique makes things quite easy in the long term. But if you’re not getting feedback on your technique, this can lead to serious long term problems. But in the short term, you’re learning the song or songs you want, so I guess that’s a win? There are some pretty cool apps out there that will help you learn the song correctly, but again, doesn’t give you the feedback on technique. So how do you fix that? Well, tomorrow, I’ll have a pretty exciting announcement on my YouTube channel about something I’m working on to fix that challenge.


I think using technology is a great tool. I do think it should be used as a complement to instruction, however, with online lessons, I think it can be used quite well to give that feedback. One of the things I regularly instruct online students with is that, if they’re having piano lessons, while I like seeing their smiling, happy face, I want to see their hands. That’s how I can give them feedback on their technique. One of the awesome technological resources that I use for my students, even as an online lesson platform, is Muzie. Muzie is a platform that not only serves as a digital assignment book, but also an awesome platform for online lessons. With my schedule being what it is, if a student misses a lesson, I create a video lesson for them in Muzie, and ask them to send me a video in response. Students can share videos in Muzie, just as I can! It’s a fantastic way to go!


What are your thoughts on using apps and YouTube? Or online lessons? Comment with your experiences and feedback!

Also, check out tomorrow YouTube video and blog post with a BIG announcement about a new and exciting offering from Harmanny Music Education!

Posted in Apps and Games, Music literacy, Music theory

Flashnote Derby

Back in the 80’s when I was taking piano lessons, the most advanced part of my lessons were the color drawings in my method books. Now, there are so many tools that help in learning. Today, I’m going to share a great resource that has helped my students.

Flashnote Derby is an app that helps students with note identification. You can choose what notes to focus in on, choose how many notes are asked (the default is 10) and you have the choice of a horse race, a Pegasus race and a space battle! Students can either choose the letter on the screen or play on the piano or keyboard.

The game is lots of fun and my students have enjoyed it. I’ve noticed that it’s helped them really improve their note identifying skills, which is a very essential skill to have as a musician!

Check it out at:

Posted in Apps and Games

Note Rush

One of the great things about the technological world we live in is that we can gamify pretty much everything. Back in the olden days when I was taking lessons, the only games were on paper or whatever the teacher made up. There wasn’t many really interactive games to help you learn music.

But now there are! Last year, during our time of staying home, I really honed in on finding apps and creative things for students to do while at home, and still learn about music. Note Rush was one of them.

The thing I find so beneficial about Note Rush is that you can set it to specific parameters. So, if you have a beginning student learning note names and where they are found on the piano, you can focus there. From Bass F to Treble G. And then you can get incrementally more challenging. Or even, design your own notes!

From there, it’s a matter of allowing the iPad/Tablet microphone to pick up your students’ playing. This is where the app shines. A note shows up and the student has to physically play the key. It’s connecting visual placement of the note with playing the key! This is building hand-eye coordination and speed of note identification in the form of a game! And of course, it’s timed, so when a wrong note is played, a time penalty is assessed.

Note Rush is $4.99 either on the App Store for Apple or Android. It’s money well spent to give your learner a leg up and help in note identification, a key skill for playing excellently! Go get it!