How do you motivate teen beginners?
We all know that video games are pretty popular with teens, particularly boys. So trying to convince them to do their piano practice when there are far more fun things to be doing online can be a real challenge.
Enter PianoMaestro – a really handy app that basically turns learning piano and piano practice in general into a video game.
If you’ve ever taken on a teenage beginner and found that they quickly lose interest learning to read music because it seems such a slow and boring process, then stay tuned for this! Motivating teens just got a whole lot easier.
What’s PianoMaestro about?
Use can use this app as a whole starting curriculum for students or just as an extra bonus in lessons. You can use it to learn classical music, pop music or to practise sight-reading. I’ve found it’s incredibly versatile and really popular with students.
It will appeal to pretty much all ages as well. While it’s probably designed for around ages 8-12, I’ve found it works equally well with teens and even adults.
While I’ve only just begun exploring the app, I’ve been using it most with my male beginner students aged about 13-15. Used in this way, it’s a bit like an interactive version of a method book, but with heaps of advantages, including:
- The video-game like interface providing increasing challenge and unlocking new levels,
- Instant feedback and online scoring providing motivational reasons to keep practising,
- Great backing tracks means that simple one or two note melodies are far more exciting to learn, and
- The app is constantly updated with new music so it’s far more relevant than any printed method could ever be.
Here’s a quick 8-minute introduction of how I use PianoMaestro to get my students motivated. Please be aware that this is just a small introduction to how this app works.
Links referred to in the video:
- Facebook Group: JoyTunes Teachers (closed group – ask for access)
As I said, these are just the basics. There are heaps more things to explore in this app, including:
- Library – Piano Pronto and Alfred method books digitised and incorporated into the app. Supersonics Piano to come!
- Summer Camp – Songs that progressively unlock and allow students to teach themselves in a guided multi-step practice process.
- Exercises – scales, warmups, etc.
- Song library – search by name, genre, etc. Lots of great pop music and songs/pieces of all styles and levels of difficulty.
- Sight-reading – Students will find it extra fun because not only do they get to use their iPad, they also get a backing track to play along with. Best of all: students have to keep going when they sight-read to a backing track, so no stopping and fixing errors!
Check out more how-to videos on the JoyTunes YouTube Channel.
Download it and get started today – it’s totally free for teachers and students.
Disclaimer: I received a complimentary download of this app for review purposes. I was not required to write a favourable review, nor was I compensated in any other way. All opinions expressed are my own.
I’ve been following you a bit, thank you for your commitment and input, it’s been really helpful!
I have a boy student how loves messing around with different keyboard sounds. He’s creative and has a great sense of rhythm. I’d like him to be able to come up with little stories (creating a (drum/percussion) beat that could be looped), putting creative licks on top made up with different sounds). Is there a tool you could recommend (that is easy to handle and not too expensive and not that doesn’t require much technical preparation? I’m sure I’d use this for my other students and myself too! Thank you and keep up the great work! Noemi from Australia
Hi Noemi. Sounds like a fun student! Will be great to capture that creative enthusiasm. There’s a perfect solution for you and that’s GarageBand. Are you familiar with it? You’ll ideally need an iPad (although it does work on iPhone). I have a full step-by-step training course about it with downloadable workbook available to my members: dev.topmusic.co/community. Definitely check it out.
You can get a feel for what’s involved with these free resources too: https://dev.topmusic.co/my-new-garageband-course-for-piano-teachers/
Hi nick. I don’t think offline is an option I’m afraid, however I have heard a few people ask about it on Facebook so it might be something they add in the future. If you’re a Facebook user, search for the group called joy tunes. They are the software developers. Great place to post requests and questions. Enjoy – it’s a great application 🙂
Hey Tim, thanks so much for your advice, will check out the facebook group now -nick
Hi Tim, I have started using PianoMaestro and have also been impressed by its abilities. Just wondering if you would know if it could work offline? I often don’t have internet access, so it would be ideal to sync occasionally to get new songs.