music education

Music Education Apps for Android - 2014 edition

Back in September, I shared some music education apps for iPad, iPhone and iPod Touch. Now, it’s Android’s turn. Here are some great music education apps for Android that I've come across.

Music Group Classes Musings

Although summer has just begun, my mind is already focusing on the upcoming teaching year. I've made a few changes to my studio, which are both exciting and scary. Some of the ideas are inspired by music teacher, author and savvy entrepreneur Kristin Yost.
  1. Moving to a year-round curriculum: My colleagues in the US have taught year-round for many years and have found that it really works. I know I'm not the only Canadian music teacher to hear, "I didn't practice at all this summer," from a student. It takes them months before they get back to where they were the previous June. Truly, what a waste.Summer-flex lessons make it easier for families to work around their summer activities but still provide the students with that needed consistency at their instrument.
  2. Teaming up with another studio to provide more: It pays to have another music teacher in the family. I shall be teaming up with my brother's studio, To the Wind, to offer our students a wider range in their music studies. He has sound engineering and multimedia design under his belt.
  3. More group classes and more varied ones: Group classes have been extremely popular at my studio. Up to this year, they've had between three and four a year. However, starting next year, they will get six. These are just some of the ideas To the Wind Studio and Musespeak Studio have up their sleeves: Introduction to Conducting, Video Games Live - mini version, So You Want to Play and Sing at the Same Time, improvisation, piano combos, composing, Design and Produce Your Own Radio Show, essential grooves, etc.
  4. Cafe Performance: Most of our students are studying piano for cultural enrichment and recreation. Many of them loath the traditional recital format. So, shy not make it more IRL (in real life) and head to a cafe? The students will prepare a set of music, script a little patter; and their family and friends cheer them on while enjoying a delicious latte and dessert. The cafe performance, combined with adding the Video Games Live and Radio show projects to the year-end recital promise to make for exciting performances.
  5. More Optional Activities: Depending on how our students respond, we will be offering a variety of optional activities to our students, as well as opening these up to our colleagues' studios. Some examples: tour of the Cantos Keyboard Museum, tour of a piano refurbisher's workshop, How to Make a Multi-Track Project, Live Interactive or workshop with some of our colleagues from other places in the world, like David Story in Ontario,  Bren Wrona Norris in California and Liam Walsh in the UK. My involvement with Eric Whitacre's Virtual Choir has opened the door to unlimited partnership possibilities with my Virtual Choir friends and colleagues.
Some of these ideas are merely an expansion of things I've already been doing at the studio. However, this is taking things to a much higher level. That's what makes it so exciting. However, to make it work, a lot of planning is needed right now. On the plus side, this planning can take place outside where we can enjoy the sun.
© 2012 by Musespeak. All rights reserved.

Online Music Resources Spotlight:

This little gem has been around for several years. Long enough to amass a wide selection of music games, music quizzes and help pages. The Music Worksheets page gives students extra practice on basic rudiments and composition. There are also print mazes that feature a famous composer and/or performer.

Students can improve their note reading, ear training and more on the computer,  Photo by R-M Arca.

The Links page provides links to post secondary music schools, music software and music educators. is a very useful online resources for music students and music teachers alike!

(c) 2012 by Musespeak(TM), Calgary, AB, Canada. All rights reserved.

The Truth About Piano Lessons

"The Truth About Piano Lessons" takes a  good, hard look at what music lessons entails - for the student and his/her family. The benefits of music education, learning piano and modern parenting, the process of practicing and learning piano and what parents can do to help are addressed.

World Music Exploration 2010/11 Week 5 - Traditional Argentine Music

This month, my students and I will be exploring the music of Argentina. This week, we're listening to traditional music. As with the traditional music of Australia (last month's adventure), traditional music in Argentina is tied to folk dances. Most people think "tango" when they think of Argentine music (me too). For that very reason, I searched for non-tango music examples. There are several types of traditional music in Argentina, including:

  • the Chámame: a lively dance with elements from European polkas and waltzes from Eastern Argentina,
  • the Cuarteto: an upbeat dance that resembles the mergenue but has strong Spanish and Italian folk music elements. The music is played by accordions, pianos and violins and,
  • the Chacarera: a lively dance that emerged from NW Argentina's rural areas. It's a lively square dance with music played by the Spanish guitar and drums.

This week's clip features the Chacarera:

(c) 2010 by Musespeak(tm), Calgary, AB, Canada. All rights reserved.