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Motivating teens with PianoMaestro

By Tim Topham | Technology

Aug 03 2014

How do you motivate teen beginners?piano maestro

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.

Advantages

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:

Added benefits

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!

ipad piano teachingCheck 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. 

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Tim Topham

About the Author

Tim Topham is the founder and director of TopMusic. Tim hosts the popular TopCast show, blogs regularly at topmusic.co and speaks at local and international conferences on topics such as pedagogy, business, marketing and entrepreneurship. Tim has been featured in American Music Teacher, The Piano Teacher Magazine, California Music Teacher and EPTA Piano Professional. Tim holds an MBA in Educational Leadership, BMus, DipEd and AMusA.

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