Tag Archives: apps for music

App Review “Blob Chorus” by Lumpty Learning – Piano Teacher in Wallsend, NSW

Aural training – or developing ‘a good ear’ – is such an important part of becoming a musician. It helps with everything from being able to harmonise through to simply recognising if you’ve made a mistake. But not everybody is born with a naturally good ear and even those who are can still learn to better refine it.

So how do we help our students develop their aural skills without the drudgery of drills and exercises? We use fun apps!

I initially reviewed this app nearly three years ago, but it has had a resurgence in my studio, with all current students really enjoying it, so it is worth revisiting it here.

Piano Teacher in Wallsend NSWBlob Chorus by Lumpty Learning is one such app, which introduces students to basic pitch recognition in a fun way. It is used in thousands of schools around the world because it also works well in a group setting, but its simplicity means it is also totally suitable for individual lessons.

The premise of the game is simple: a number of green blobs have formed a choir and they are singing for King Blob (who is purple and wears a crown). Each blob sings a note and then King Blob sings a note. The note sung by the king is the same as a note sung by one of the blobs. But which one? This is what you need to identify.

Piano Teacher in Wallsend NSWAlthough the game always opens with the default of three blobs, you can set the game to as little as two (which is the best place to start). As you improve, you can increase the number of blobs in the choir. The maximum is eight blobs, which is very difficult.

If the incorrect blob is selected, that blob will explode, but you are able to select another blob and continue doing this until the correct blob is selected. At any time you can click the ‘hear blobs again’ button at the bottom to hear the remaining blobs sing their notes again.

Piano Teacher in Wallsend NSWThe game is separated into groups of ten questions; after each set of ten you will receive a score and an overall rating.

$1.49 on the Apple app store (but not for Android), the Apple version can be found here.

If you don’t own or have access to an iPad or Android tablet, never fear! The game is also available in a web version here; it just requires an internet connection.

They not only look cute, but they sound really cute as well 🙂

If you are considering music lessons for your child or for yourself, please contact me to discuss the options. Piano lessons are conducted at my studio in Wallsend, NSW.

App Review – ‘The Most Addicting Sheep Game’ is Back! – Piano Teacher in Wallsend, NSW

In the middle of last year I reviewed a great iPad app called The Most Addicting Sheep Game. Not long after that, iOS 9 arrived and the app wasn’t compatible. The developer, Just So, is an individual developing these games in his spare time, so it has been a huge job for him to totally recode the game. I’m glad to say it is now back, better than ever, so the old blog post deserves a re-post.

Piano Teacher in Wallsend NSWThe Most Addicting Sheep Game is a seemingly simple rhythm app for the iPad where jumps and rolls must be perfectly timed to the music by tapping or swiping on the screen. It is easy to learn, but tricky to master.

On the surface, the connection to traditional music education could be considered faint, as it does not involve written rhythm and connecting that to an aural beat, but it is still definitely all about rhythm. The rhythms are very precise – a fraction of a second off and your sheep will fall through the cracks – and the higher levels are very difficult, so I feel it definitely has its place as a music education app. It is aural, rather than theoretical.

The premise is that you control a sheep that jumps to the beat, either with a single finger tap, two-finger tap, or swipe. The aim is to work through all the increasingly difficult levels, while also scoring maximum points. Plus, it has cute sheep!

Piano Teacher in Wallsend NSWThe sheep can jump at either one, two or four beats and can also jump two different height levels. An obstacle on the path – such as a tower of balancing sheep – requires a swipe to knock down. This means, as with most things to do with playing music, your brain is concentrating on multiple things at the same time. The picture above shows one beat and two beat lengths, a double jump and single jumps plus swipes. All of that would take less than five seconds to execute. Plus it all has to be done strictly in time with the music!

Piano Teacher in Wallsend NSWThe graphics are cute and the music is catchy. At first the music can be annoying – especially when you aren’t being successful – but all of a sudden you will find it’s an integral part of the mood and the fun.

While you can get through to the end of a level by ignoring the height of the jump and always using two fingers, you will be penalised and won’t obtain the full score possible. If you’re anything like me and always want to see three stars at the end of a level, this just won’t do the trick.

The game begins with a Training mode, which has six different rounds within it. This mode teaches the basics of the single jump, double jump and swipe and then combines them all together. The levels after that are titled:

  1. Mild;
  2. Tricky;
  3. Wicked; and
  4. Grim.

Each of these levels contains six rounds. All levels, including training, also have an ‘infinity bonus’ level that doesn’t have the usual pre-determined ending, but will continue until you miss a jump and lose your sheep.

Working my way through the updated version, I have discovered that extra modes can now be unlocked, including the Supersheep mode (extra-fast) and being able to slow down the speed to practise difficult parts.

Piano Teacher in Wallsend NSWYou can find it here in the Australian app store. It is not a free app, but costs only $1.49, a small cost for the amount of time it will keep you occupied.

If you are considering music lessons for your child or for yourself, please contact me to discuss the options. Piano lessons are conducted at my studio in Wallsend, NSW.

The Peak-End Rule and How it Makes Practising Less of a Chore – Piano Teacher in Wallsend, NSW

The street on which I lived as a child was on a moderate hill – not overly steep, but enough that you certainly knew you were walking up a hill. Our street fitted in with another to form a circle, so there were always two different ways to get home. The most direct way involved walking up the hill. The less direct way meant walking up more of the hill (in the other direction) and then turning and walking downhill for a while to reach the house. This was a bit of a no-brainer when walking, but riding a bike was a different story.

Which way to go? The shorter hill, right? Nope! Not for me. I needed to finish on that downhill run. I would choose to have a longer uphill ride just so I had that wonderful, free feeling of flying downhill at the end. As a bonus, I didn’t reach home tired and out of breath.

Piano Teacher in Wallsend NSW

Yummy dinner and vegetables. When you’re a child, those two things rarely go together. But we have to eat our veggies. So what do we do? My mother used to tell the story of being shut in the bathroom until she ate her peas. She would pop them one by one down the floor drain. At other times she would hide them under her mashed potatoes and on a really good night, she would manage to slide the potatoes (with hidden peas) onto her brother’s plate. The mashed potato story stayed with me and I quickly learnt that if I ate my veggies first – if I was lucky, covered with potato or gravy – then I could enjoy the rest of the meal without the vegetable concern hanging over my head. I still eat my veggies first.

So what does this have to do with playing the piano? More specifically, practising the piano?

The peak-end rule states that our evaluation of past experiences tend to be based on their most intense point (best or worst), and how they end. In a 1993 study, Nobel laureate Daniel Kahneman and colleagues asked a group of people to place their hands in uncomfortably cold water, but in two slightly different conditions. In one condition they had to keep their hand submerged in 14°C water for 60 seconds (which is not exactly comfortable). In another condition they were asked to place their hand in 14°C water for 60 seconds, but then leave it there for an additional 30 seconds while the temperature was gradually raised to 15°C. While 15°C is still unpleasant , is noticeably less painful than 14°C.

Given a choice, you would expect most people would choose the 60 seconds of pain rather than 60 seconds of pain + 30 more seconds of slightly reduced pain, right? But no. When given a choice of which trial to repeat, 69% of the participants chose to repeat the longer one – apparently perceiving that experience to be better overall, because of how the ending altered their perspective. Like riding up a longer hill just to experience the downhill run at the end.

Piano Teacher in Wallsend NSWWe can use this philosophy to make piano practise less of a chore and make it easier to get ourselves to practise again. Save the best for last. Have a piece that you enjoy playing sitting on the piano ready for you to turn to once the more challenging parts of practise are over. Or finish practise with the piece that requires the least work. Set yourself up so that you end practise on a positive note and you will feel much more inclined to practise again the next day.

If you are considering music lessons for your child or for yourself, please contact me to discuss the options. Piano lessons are conducted at my studio in Wallsend, NSW.

The Benefits of Duets – Piano Teacher in Wallsend, NSW

I was lucky when I was learning the piano – my sister was also learning. Plus my Mum played. That meant I always had a duet partner available. Duets certainly have their challenges, but most of my memories of playing duets involve lots of laughter. My only complaint at the time was I always had to play the bottom part, which was usually keeping the beat and not as melodically interesting. Nevertheless, duets formed a significant part of our performing, particularly in our teenage years and were always fun.

Piano teacher in Wallsend NSW

“Piano Duet” by Pamela Blaies (http://pamelablaies.com)

The method books I use to teach my beginners – and most method books on the market – have a teacher accompaniment that can be played along with the student. It not only ‘fills out’ the sound of their very basic piece for them and makes what they are playing sound much more impressive for them, but it also unknowingly begins to teach them the fundamentals of playing duets.

The benefits of playing piano duets are many and include:

  1. Developing listening skills – the only way your duet will be successful is if you are constantly listening to what the other person is playing to ensure you are staying together.
  2. Early accompanying skills – following on from developing listening skills, learning how to follow or catch-up to the other person can set up the quality skills of a good accompanist.
  3. Teaches good timing – good tempo needs to be kept by both parts or the piece won’t flow and will sound very disjointed. With a partner, you are more likely to maintain a steady pulse and keep going. Over time, you will gain more rhythmic constancy and learn to adapt to any tempo set by a partner.
  4. Teamwork and interaction – pianists usually spend a lot of time playing alone. Playing duets not only encourage interaction with others (as practising together is essential) but you also need to be working together as a team to ensure the piece flows beautifully.
  5.  Articulation and compromise – it’s not just about the correct notes and timing. Duet partners need to learn how to articulate their ideas for interpretation, and then learn to compromise these with the other person’s ideas. Duets teach students to listen carefully, ensuring the parts balance evenly and that articulation ideas passed between the two parts are precisely performed.
  6. Motivation and accountability – while the two players are working as a team, for kids playing duets, they usually want to make sure they don’t sound worse than their partner, so will try their hardest. If they don’t know their part, they may feel they are letting down their partner as they know both of them are accountable for the best result. This also encourages more focussed concentration.
  7. Increased confidence – for those students who are nervous about performing, having a performing buddy is often a much-needed confidence boost.
  8. Pedalling awareness – one person will be pedalling for the other, while the second person will be surrendering their pedal control. This needs to be negotiated and controlled.
  9. Duets are impressive –  audiences (particularly parents watching their children play a duet together) love duets; they sound full, rich and harmonious and watching two pianists play together in sync is entertaining.

Piano Teacher in Wallsend NSWI still enjoy the fullness of sound a duet provides and regularly play a duet ‘together with myself’, where I record the Secondo (bottom part) on my digital piano and then play it back while I play the Primo (top part). Duets are certainly a special experience :-)

If you are considering piano lessons for your child or for yourself, please contact me to discuss the options. Piano lessons are conducted at my studio in Wallsend, NSW.

App Review “Blob Chorus” by Lumpty Learning – Piano Teacher in Wallsend, NSW

Aural training – or developing ‘a good ear’ – is such an important part of becoming a musician. It helps with everything from being able to harmonise through to simply recognising if you’ve made a mistake. But not everybody is born with a naturally good ear and even those who are can still learn to better refine it.

So how do we help our students develop their aural skills without the drudgery of drills and exercises? We use fun apps!

Piano Teacher in Wallsend NSWBlob Chorus by Lumpty Learning is one such app, which introduces students to basic pitch recognition in a fun way. It is used in thousands of schools around the world because it also works well in a group setting, but its simplicity means it is also totally suitable for individual lessons.

The premise of the game is simple: a number of green blobs have formed a choir and they are singing for King Blob (who is purple and wears a crown). Each blob sings a note and then King Blob sings a note. The note sung by the king is the same as a note sung by one of the blobs. But which one? This is what you need to identify.

Piano Teacher in Wallsend NSWAlthough the game always opens with the default of three blobs, you can set the game to as little as two (which is the best place to start). As you improve, you can increase the number of blobs in the choir. The maximum is eight blobs, which is very difficult.

If the incorrect blob is selected, that blob will explode, but you are able to select another blob and continue doing this until the correct blob is selected. At any time you can click the ‘hear blobs again’ button at the bottom to hear the remaining blobs sing their notes again.

Piano Teacher in Wallsend NSWThe game is separated into groups of ten questions; after each set of ten you will receive a score and an overall rating.

Free on the Apple app store (but not for Android), the Apple version can be found here.

If you don’t own or have access to an iPad or Android tablet, never fear! The game is also available in a web version here; it just requires an internet connection.

They not only look cute, but they sound really cute as well 🙂

If you are considering music lessons for your child or for yourself, please contact me to discuss the options. Piano lessons are conducted at my studio in Wallsend, NSW.

App Review “Music for Little Mozarts” by Alfred – Piano Teacher in Wallsend, NSW

Can you tell whether sounds are a low or high pitch?

Is the music going up or going down?

Does what you see match what you hear?

Beethoven Bear and Mozart Mouse are here to help you out!

‘Music for Little Mozarts’ is an app that was conceived for preschool and kindergarten-aged students, but if you don’t mind the cuteness, it is helpful for beginners of all ages. I mostly use it with students to help develop aural awareness, but it also contains some basic note recognition  and rhythm games.

This app corresponds with the the Music For Little Mozarts piano method books (published by Alfred), but the activities are still extremely useful even if you aren’t using those method books.

The following image shows the range of activities available in the app:

Piano Teacher in Wallsend NSW

Piano Teacher in Wallsend NSWThe two I use most are the first two, as they are great early ear training activities asking only to tell the difference between two things. Is the note played a high note or a low note and are the notes going up or down? The interface is easy… just tap the red circle to hear the sound and then drag the same circle to either Beethoven Bear or Mozart Mouse, depending on your answer. For example, the image on the right shows the ‘Notes Going Up or Down’ activity. The student taps the red circle and hears a succession of notes. If they think the melody is moving from lower to higher notes, they drag the circle up to Mozart Mouse sitting at the top of the staircase. If the think the melody is moving downwards, they drag the circle to Beethoven Bear.

The app will not let the circle stay in the area of the wrong answer; it needs to be answered correctly before moving on to the next question.

Some of the activities don’t require the student to answer a question and act more as a teaching reinforcement. The child can play any note on the keyboard and the app will show them where it sits on the staff. After that, they can move on to the activity where they need to identify the keyboard location of a note after seeing it on the staff.

Piano Teacher in Wallsend NSWThe app also has a simple rhythm exercise, using the note values that are commonly learnt in their first few lessons. Beethoven Bear and Mozart Mouse are each standing under a different rhythm. The student taps the red circle to hear a rhythm and then drags the note to the character standing under the rhythm they think is correct. Once again, the question needs to be answered correctly before moving on.

Aural training is such an integral part of a complete music education, so it’s great to find an app that approaches it in such a simple way for beginners. The first two activities are also great for discovering the aural capabilities of a new student… but they don’t even know you’re testing them.

If you are considering music lessons for your child or for yourself, please contact me to discuss the options. Piano lessons are conducted at my studio in Wallsend, NSW.

 

 

App Review – “The Most Addicting Sheep Game” by Just So – Piano Teacher in Wallsend, NSW

Run. Jump. Roll.

Jump… double jump… swipe….

Ping!  Boing!  Whoosh!

Piano Teacher in Wallsend NSW

The Most Addicting Sheep Game is a seemingly simple rhythm app for the iPad where jumps and rolls must be perfectly timed to the music by tapping or swiping on the screen. It is easy to learn, but tricky to master.

On the surface, the connection to traditional music education could be considered faint, as it does not involve written rhythm and connecting that to an aural beat, but it is still definitely all about rhythm. The rhythms are very precise – a fraction of a second off and your sheep will fall through the cracks – and the higher levels are very difficult, so I feel it definitely has its place as a music education app. It is aural, rather than theoretical.

The premise is that you control a sheep that jumps to the beat, either with a single finger tap, two-finger tap, or swipe. The aim is to work through all the increasingly difficult levels, while also scoring maximum points. Plus, it has cute sheep!

Piano Teacher in Wallsend NSWThe sheep can jump at either one, two or four beats and can also jump two different height levels. An obstacle on the path – such as a tower of balancing sheep – requires a swipe to knock down. This means, as with most things to do with playing music, your brain is concentrating on multiple things at the same time. The picture above shows one beat and two beat lengths, a double jump and single jumps plus swipes. All of that would take less than five seconds to execute. Plus it all has to be done strictly in time with the music!

Piano Teacher in Wallsend NSWThe graphics are cute and the music is catchy. At first the music can be annoying – especially when you aren’t being successful – but all of a sudden you will find it’s an integral part of the mood and the fun.

While you can get through to the end of a level by ignoring the height of the jump and always using two fingers, you will be penalised and won’t obtain the full score possible. If you’re anything like me and always want to see three stars at the end of a level, this just won’t do the trick.

The game begins with a Training mode, which has six different rounds within it. This mode teaches the basics of the single jump, double jump and swipe and then combines them all together. The levels after that are titled:

  1. Mild;
  2. Tricky;
  3. Wicked; and
  4. Grim.

Each of these levels contains six rounds. All levels, including training, also have an ‘infinity bonus’ level that doesn’t have the usual pre-determined ending, but will continue until you miss a jump and lose your sheep.Piano Teacher in Wallsend NSW

You can find it here in the Australian app store. It is not a free app, but costs only $1.29, a small cost for the amount of time it will keep you occupied.

If you are considering music lessons for your child or for yourself, please contact me to discuss the options. Piano lessons are conducted at my studio in Wallsend, NSW.

App Review “Flashnote Derby” – Piano Teacher in Wallsend, NSW

Sometimes simple is best.

Piano Teacher in Wallsend NSWThese days we have so much technology at our disposal and it is always tempting to look for tools that are complex and multi-use because we feel the more they offer, the more useful they should be. But sometimes we are just making things harder for ourselves. It’s like trying to work out all the complexities of a smart phone, when all we really want to do is make a telephone call.

Flashnote Derby is an app that solves a single problem and solves it simply.

Learning notes is a necessary evil with playing any instrument, and they are best learnt with repetition, including drilling. Flashnote Derby is fun and straightforward and will help a student to increase their speed of note recognition.

From a teacher’s point of view, this app works well because it is totally customisable. You simply select the notes you want the student to drill with the range being as small as one note and as large as thirty-four. Most other note-recognition apps only allow you to select a range of pre-determined notes.

The simple interface is a horse race, with your horse moving according to how well you are identifying the notes and it is really easy to set up. Go to the settings screen (the icon has a spanner and screw driver) and tap on the notes you wish to practise. Then it’s off to the races!

Piano Teacher in Wallsend NSW

There are a few options for how you select your answer:

  • Letter names
  • Keyboard with letter names
  • Keyboard without letter names

For beginners, I prefer to use the keyboard. They are usually starting to learn treble clef notes at middle C, so find it confusing to have the A and B showing before the C. The keyboard starts at C and is more familiar to them. As an added bonus, it is then also reinforcing their keyboard recognition skills, not just note names.Piano Teacher in Wallsend NSW

Identifying notes correctly will move your jockey and horse ahead of their competitor; each time you answer correctly, he moves ahead a little bit more. If you can’t answer correctly or take too long, your opponent will move forward and you may lose the race.

Piano Teacher in Wallsend NSWThe difficulty can be increased by adding more notes and/or speeding up the race. The speed is determined by whether you choose to walk, trot, cantor or gallop during your race. Before you know it, you’re an expert at naming the notes of the treble clef, the bass clef, or both.

By starting with an easy race, beginners are likely to win; this then gives them the confidence to want to play more and new notes can be added gradually as they learn them in their method book.

There is also a small series of tutorial videos that can be accessed by tapping on the lightbulb icon at the bottom of the settings page.  These will teach you the basics about the notes and where they are placed on the staff.

The soundtrack is a questionable aspect and can go either way… some students find the sounds of the crowd cheering and clapping faster and faster quite annoying (as do I) while others feel it urges them on.

In summary, it is a concise app that does exactly what it promises, in an easy-to-navigate way. All my students have loved using it.

The app is available for iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch, Android phones and tablets and Kindle Fire tablets and can be found here in the App Store.

If you are considering music lessons for your child or for yourself, please contact me to discuss the options. Piano lessons are conducted at my studio in Wallsend, NSW.

What is Involved in Learning the Piano? – Piano Teacher in Wallsend, NSW

It’s a question – and the variants – that is asked quite often… what is involved in learning the piano? What is the commitment? How do we approach the early weeks and months? What will happen? So let’s have a look at what is required for a solid start.

These days there is an increasing trend to treat learning the piano the same way as any other extracurricular activity. On the surface, it’s another activity that ticks the educational box and it is “the done thing”. However, learning an instrument and particularly the piano, is a big commitment, even for the pupils who are just doing it for a bit of fun on the side. In fact, if piano is not practised regularly, pupils usually give up pretty quickly.

The reason for this is simple. Learning an instrument requires the use of three different types of memory:

  • visual;
  • auditory; and
  • kinetic (muscle/movement memory).

Piano lessons Wallsend NSWThe three must all be activated for a child to remember how a specific piece of music works. If a pupil doesn’t play or rarely plays during the week (for instance, just once at the weekend), the kinetic memory will not work and the student will not remember what to do. This usually results in them feeling discouraged. Chances are the lesson will be virtually the same as the previous one, the child will be disappointed and a vicious circle begins. A study determined that a pupil will forget 80% of the piano lesson if he/she does not practise within the following 48 hours. This is consistent with all types of research on learning and memory. A pupil who does not practise daily will not only feel bad, but will not play well at all and get frustrated. Think about how educators map out core lessons at school. In maths for example, if a child learned their times tables just on Monday morning they would struggle to remember them if they aren’t reinforced. Maths lessons are spread out throughout the week for a reason.

As you can see, practising regularly at home is crucial for the child’s enjoyment. It is absolutely necessary because a weekly half hour lesson will never be enough for them to make progress.

On the flip side of this is the good news… you don’t need to practise a lot if you practise every day. For a beginner, 5-10 minutes is fine. Of course this will increase with time, but it’s a good start and gets them into the habit. Children usually respond well to a routine so think about a fixed time such as just before dinner or straight after school. A little bit of patience and dedication is all it takes to both do well and get a real joy from their musical abilities.

Piano teacher Wallsend NSWThere are so many benefits to learning to play an instrument, but they aren’t all going to happen overnight. Because of this, it is not really appropriate to take the, “we’ll try it for a few months and see how it goes” approach. The commitment needs to be made for at least a couple of years. It’s about being realistic about what it takes to gain musical skills.

Besides, you have made a substantial investment in not only time, but tuition fees, music and possibly even an instrument. You want it to be worth it!

It is important to follow your child’s progress and help them to have a bit of fun and focus during their practise sessions. Most teachers write notes on the music and/or provide a practise sheet, so check them out and use those notes as a starting point. I have written a number of blog posts about making practise fun, using different incentives and mixing it up a bit and you can check them out by checking out past blog posts.

Finally, make sure your child brings their piano books to every lesson. While most teachers will have books that can be used during the lesson, no individual notes can be written in them and sent home with the child so the continuity is interrupted and the child will start their next practise session trying to remember what they were told.

Nobody wants piano practise to be a battlefield, so start out as you mean to carry on and establish the routine early. Then everybody can enjoy it.

If you are considering music lessons for your child or for yourself, please contact me to discuss the options. Piano lessons are conducted at my studio in Wallsend, NSW.

App Review “Rhythm Cat” by LMuse – Piano Teacher in Wallsend, NSW

Learning the fundamentals of reading music – rhythmic values and note names – is so vital to playing an instrument, but it can be boring and frustrating. Finding a way to make any part of it more interesting and fun is always a bonus. Rhythm Cat delivers.

Piano Teacher Wallsend NSW

 

The Rhythm Cat app (from the Melody Cats suite of apps by LMuse Limited) is a fun and effective way to improve rhythm skills. It is an engaging way for beginners to get past the challenging and often discouraging introduction to reading music but can also be a bit of fun for more experienced musicians to conquer the progressively more complex levels.

 

On each level, you are presented with a rhythm example. The levels progress in complexity, allowing you to move ahead as your skill increases.Piano Teacher Wallsend NSW

After hitting the Play button, the soundtrack begins and a countdown is shown (depending on the time signature – usually 1-2-3 or 1-2-3-4). You then need to tap the large green button to tap the rhythm of the example shown, in time with the soundtrack. As you move through the rhythm, correct taps will turn the corresponding note green, while incorrect notes stay black. The very first level is basic one-beat crotchet beats. A new rhythmic value is introduced at each level – minims, semibreves, rests etc but the first ten levels don’t move beyond these basic foundation-level rhythms, giving a beginner plenty to play with. This is an example of a rhythm near the end of this section:

Piano teacher Wallsend NSW

The app also has high-quality soundtracks.  Rather than being cheesy or childish,  there is a nice variety of musical styles and tempos, including classical themes, folk tunes, and pop-sounding tracks.  Something for everyone 🙂

As the examples get more difficult, students must tap two different buttons, and then three  The notes are color-coded with blue and red to match the notes.  (The cat illustrations also become more colourful).

The color-coding is a great idea, but is a little confusing.  The blue and red notes coordinate with the blue and red buttons, but the regular notes coordinating with the green button stay their original black.  These green-button-but-black notes still turn green if you tap them correctly and stay black if you miss them.  But it’s only a small annoyance and you’ll become accustomed to it fairly quickly.Piano teacher Wallsend NSW

The app is very sensitive about making sure you tap the rhythm exactly on the beat, which could potentially be frustrating at times, but also will help you learn to be precise as you listen to the beat of the soundtrack.  Each level is scored with one, two, or three stars. If too many notes were incorrect, you will fail the level and be unable to proceed to the next one.

The free version of this app has 15 levels to try out and can be found here.  The Pro version (here) has four “stages,” with 15 levels in each stage.  Stage 1 uses basic rhythms, including crotchet rests and paired quavers.  Stage 2 introduces the dotted crotchet paired with a single quaver and also ties, to create syncopated rhythms.  Stage 3 introduces the quaver rest and complex time signatures (e.g. 3-13 is a killer – it mixes 3/4 and 2/4 and goes pretty fast).  Stage 4 continues with more advanced rhythms using three buttons.

Piano teacher Wallsend NSW

Developed in collaboration with professional musicians and educators, Rhythm Cat is an excellent app to use at home and in the studio.  Students will learn to look ahead more as they tap these rhythms, and will learn the important skill of listening to themselves and others (in this case, the soundtrack) to stay together.

If you are considering music lessons for your child or for yourself, please contact me to discuss the options. Piano lessons are conducted at my studio in Wallsend, NSW.