May 12, 2015
Most of you know that ear training is essential to acquiring better musical skills. After all, our aural aptitudes are what guide our hands when we perform a piece. To get a better ear, we need regular practice in order to keep it in shape – exactly like we would with our piano playing skills. With the technology available today, such practice has become easier and more accessible than ever. When searching for ear training software, you will find plenty of options. The EarMaster program seems quite popular, so I gave it a try.
EarMaster Pro 6 offers a little over 2000 lessons for ear training, sight-singing and rhythm practice, and caters for most skill levels. It contains a general-purpose course covering intervals, chords, chord inversions, harmonic progressions, scales, dictations, sing-back and clap-back activities, as well as sight-singing. You will also find a Jazz-oriented course which focuses on Jazz chords and swing rhythms. Exercises are answered in various ways: by using an on-screen piano keyboard, by singing and clapping into a microphone, by writing notes onto a notation staff, or even by playing on a MIDI keyboard.
The exercises follow a step-by-step progression that guides the user through sequences of lessons grouped by theme. Every exercise is also customizable, which gives us the opportunity to practice specific areas outside of the main courses. We noticed that the software analyzed the answers we gave in real-time and adapted the content of the lessons and the number of questions to our performance, which is quite useful.
The included sight-singing and sing-back exercises are setting EarMaster apart from other titles dedicated to ear training. These exercises are for both melodic and rhythmic training, and allow you to play along a score or to sing and clap short excerpts of music from memory. As with the other exercises included in the software, you are starting off at a low difficulty level, and then move on to more complex melodic and rhythmic phrases. The software also offers a Music XML import feature, which enables you to do sight-singing or melody sing-back sessions with a 4-part chorales or Jazz standards for examples. There are many websites from which you can download royalty-free Music XML material, so the possibilities are almost limitless.
According to the website of the developer, an iPad version of EarMaster should be on its way, but no release date other than “in 2015” seems to be available yet.
You will find a free 7-day trial version at www.earmaster.com.
Happy ear training!
February 17, 2015
Here’s a super cute and fun game to play with your younger piano students. It drills all the basic skills that kids will need in their first year of piano study, including note names, time signatures, rest, tempo, and dynamics symbols.
The whole game is printable, including:
27 Playing Cards
9 Blank Cards (Add music theory symbols and terms if you want to)
March 13, 2014
Looking for an app to drill basic theory skills? This iPad app from Alfred Music is a great pick for beginning students.
Download Music for Little Mozarts App
The app provides drill and practice activities for:
- Distinguishing between High and Low Sounds
- Melodic Direction (Up or Down)
- Rhythmic Identification (Simple Rhythms)
- Notes Naming Skill Development
Other notable features for this app include a point system rewards students for correct answers, and cute watercolor animals that are sure to be a hit with kids. It would be nice to see app developed that meet the growing needs of students as they progress through the Alfred series piano books.
More Recommended Apps
March 4, 2014
Are you interested in learning how to play chords, or someday play in a band. This free printable piano chord chart help get you started. It introduces you to 28 of the most popular piano chords, and will get you playing your favorite songs in no time.
Download Free Piano Chord Chart for Beginners
Also includes info about the basic elements of chords, inverting chords to make them easier to play, and how to make a basic chord based accompaniment.
Browse other “The Piano Student” free sheet music posts:
October 28, 2013
Here’s a creative resource for piano teachers who are interested in introducing music composition to their students.
Free Lesson Plans Included:
- Hot Cross Buns Remix – This lesson provides you with a simple arrangement of Hot Cross Buns, and asks the students to write a variation on this melody.
- Walk Like an Egyptian – This lesson asks the student to write a piece with the Egyptian Scale. The accompaniment is provided.
- Surprise Inside – This lesson asks the student to write a melody that saves a note until late in the eight measure melody, offering a refreshing sound.
- Ostinato, Ostinato, Ostinato – This lesson asks students to write a D Dorian melody over a provided ostinato accompaniment.
- Ragtime Mix-n-Match – This lesson asks students to select pre-written musical phrases to form an eight measure ragtime melody with accompaniment. The lesson allows students to access which phrases work well together, and which phrases lend themselves to ending material verses interior material.
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Weather you set up a music lesson lab with computers, software, apps, headphones, keyboards, worksheets and a dedicated area, or just informally include “lab time” at the end of student lessons, this post may prove to be a useful guide to many of the best, and most popular free resources on the web. If you have another suggestion please share with everyone by adding a comment below.
Keyboard Key Identification
Drill keyboard key identification skill with the resources found at these links.
Learn the basics of music notation with the following online resources.
Drill notes with the following collection of free printable worksheets and interactive online resources/games.
Name That Tune! Note Name Worksheet
CodeBreaker! Note Name Worksheets
Let’s Crossword! Note Name Worksheet
Eek! Shark! Note Name Arcade Game
Treble Clef Flash Cards
Bass Clef Flash Cards
Viola Clef Flash Cards
Treble Clef Concentration Game
Bass Clef Concentration Game
Viola Clef Concentration Game
Note Name Game
Mighty Music Man 1
Mighty Music Man 2
Space Invaders Note Names
Learn and drill musical intervals with this collection of worksheets and interactive online resources.
Drill rhythm identification skills with the following free printable worksheets and interactive online games.
It All Adds Up! | Rhythm Worksheets
Music Press Distress | Rhythm Arcade Game
Let’s Play Store | Printable Rhythm Game
Note Duration | Online Lesson
Rest Duration | Online Lesson
Dots and Ties | Online Lesson
Rhythm Quiz Show
Learn and drill key signatures with the following online lessons/flashcards.
Learn how to build chords with the following online music theory lessons.
Introduce your students to the great composers with the following printable worksheets and free coloring pages.
Great Composer Word Search Worksheets
Great Composer Multiplication-Connect-the-Dot Worksheets
Great Composer Coloring Pages
“Meet the Composer” Scavenger Hunt Worksheet
“Meet the Composer” Job Application
Introduce your students to the instruments of the orchestra with the following printable worksheets.
“Meet the Orchestra” Scavenger Hunt Worksheet | Woodwinds
“Meet the Orchestra” Scavenger Hunt Worksheet | Brass
“Meet the Orchestra” Scavenger Hunt Worksheet | Strings
“Meet the Orchestra” Scavenger Hunt Worksheet | Percussion
Try writing your own music with this interactive online composing resource.
Look up music terms with this musical dictionary.
Online Music Lessons
Get tips on basic piano performance techniques, or how to play you favorite songs.
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Interested in a new note naming activity for your piano students? Here are two games created by NolaPianoTeacher.Wordpress.com. Visit the site to print the game board and playing cards.
Browse more “The Piano Student” Music Theory posts: