Music Teacher's Helper Blog

When we think about pianos and keyboards there is one thing that always comes to mind one way or the other, and that is size and a lack of portable capabilities.

When it comes to size, or even shape, this instruments are defnitely not the most comfortables to take with you anywhere.

That is why a great solution has come in the form of a portable keyboard, which is both very convenient and useful for people that are usually traveling or just moving instruments from one place to another very often, which is the undeniable fate of musicians.

Piano De Voyage had its debut at Namm in 2019 and received very good feedback. The idea behind this special keyboard is that it is a USB controller with all the qualities of a full sized keyboard but, with the useful fact that you can fold it and pack it wherever you want. It has a USB connection and sustain pedal socket. Right off the bat this is  an incredible idea for anyone who wants to keep playing without any concern of “where” and how.

Carry it Anywhere

Everyone that is devoted to their pianos and keyboards often finds dissapointment when having to play an instrument that isn’t theirs.

Everyone loves their own instruments and whit Piano de Voyage that is something that can be accomplished but is it reliable in terms of quality? Well it is, and it can give you the choice to bring up to 8 octaves in your backpack, which seems like a crazy idea.

Its creator Olivier, did not have to think about something too crazy to come up with the idea of the portable piano, it was just the desire to practice when being out on a vacation or a business trip.

Portable Quality

If you are worried about the quality of this new invention as a keyboard, there is no need to worry.

There is a great focus on quality when it comes to bringing a good sound, and overall experience with this portable instrument.

Before being a good portable keyboard, it has to be a good keyboard, and this one is indeed a very great choice, even if you had to take away its portable capabilities.

The components themselves come from China but the instrument is built in France, which could be a selling point for many people.

There is one aspect of this keyboard that is actually a very welcome thing, which is how little noisy the keys are.

It can be a little annoying when you’re playing a keyboard and you hear the keys making other sounds than the ones it should be making, this is very present when you decide to play with headphones, and you fail to keep your surroundings silent because of this.

Other than the key noise dampening, they feel great to play and it’s one of the most important aspects of a keyboard when you’re looking to buy.

Connectivity

Of course, it also has all that you would expect from an instrument these days, it can easily be connected through USB to your phone or your laptop.

This gives you access to different apps and DAWs to explore new sounds while traveling.

A Portable Future

Keep in mind that this is still a very new keyboard, and while it offers so much in its early stages, there is still so much to be done from this succesful start.

One of the things to be excited about is that while it works as a controller for now, the idea is that this year a new version will be released, and will feature a battery-powered sound.

It is certainly a step in the right direction when it comes to portability without dropping the level of quality.

Piano de Voyage is definitely an easier way to play anywhere anytime.

MTH Special Offer

Piano de Voyage offers four different options with different range of keys and prices.

25 keys pack: €419.00

49 keys pack: €629.00

73 keys pack: €839.00

97 keys pack: €1,049.00

And if you are interested, you can get 10% off as an MTH special offer.

Go to shop.pianodevoyage.com and don’t miss out on the coupon code: MTHRP10

Valid for orders shipping to only US or Canada and until January 31st 2021.

 

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Guitar lessons sometimes seem like an easy task, but keeping your students engaged is a very hard task.

Sometimes, exploring is a good way to make your lessons fresh, and while it may seem distant, some youtube creators manage to be great teachers.

Rick Beato is one of those content creators on youtube, he is a music teacher, producer and has been making content on YouTube for quite a while, getting over 2 million subscribers on the platform.

One of the biggest difficulties when it comes to guitar lessons is that beginners find it very hard to play the first notes and chords, but in reality there are a few tips that can

That’s where Rick’s videos come in.

Varied Content

Rick Beato’s channel has a lot of different content, of course, all of it about music but, one of the most interesting things about him is that his taste is hard to define.

You can easily click a video from him and watch him break down a Beethoven piece, one analyzing the top 10 songs on spotify or getting every detail about Phil Collins’ drums.

Why is this important? Well first of all he is able to connect with a wider audience instead of dismissing certain genres. This also reverberates in his teaching and tutorials,  because he knows his audience comes from many different places.

When he gets into the guitar lessons, he won’t teach classical, rock, jazz, flamenco, that is up to the person learning.

Guitar Lessons

Guitar Lessons

There are a few videos on guitar lessons by Rick, but there is one that is worth checking out as he talks about the experience teaching his children how to play guitar during lockdown.

He then proceeds to talk about some of the things that every beginner should remember when starting to learn how to play guitar.

In this video Rick helps solve some of the most common mistakes every beginner makes when starting to play guitar. These common issues are:

Rhythm and Strumming

Most people have a hard time strumming and at first the play the guitar with the thumb strumming down, and then with a bit more time they let loose of the wrist, however there is no rhythm

Finger Positioning

At first when learning chords, it feels like a strange game of twister where your fingers feel uncomfortable, and it may seem like a very common problem with easy solutions, but some of these solutions can really take a beginner a long way with just a few tips.

Sometimes it’s about the transitions between one chord to the other, and other times it comes to scales, but there is no denying that finger positioning is something that is very easy to get wrong, and because it is something so basic, it’s easy to feel discouraged from learning the instrument right away.

Not Muting Strings Properly

Many beginners don’t pay attention to what they are actually supposed to play, what this means is that they may get the strumming and finger positioning, but if they are playing notes that shouldn’t actually be played, it’s going to sound messy and bad.

This is also due to the fact that the strings that should be muted are usually the open strings, this makes it so that, if it is played, it’s going to be very present in the chord.

From one Chord to Another

It feels so hard to finally get every finger in place and then they have to change in order to play another chord.

This is often one of the first hardest things a beginner guitarrist face.

It’s not just about doing it, it’s also about maintaining the rhythm of the strumming intact while doing it.

The solution to these beginner guitar issues can be solved in many ways.

Today the recomendation is to watch Rick Beato’s tips, not only because it’s not a very long video, it’s because every minute of it will be useful when confronting your new guitar.

Why Are His Videos Worth Your Time?

Rick is an experienced teacher, but he manages to show so much in so little time that it makes for perfect content for YouTube.

Today, many people of all ages start to learn how to play instruments and get into music through YouTube and this can be a very interesting learning process.

Getting to this channel can be quite good for a beginner not just because of guitar lessons, but the way he approaches every music genre and respects every different type of sound.

This can be seen in other videos where he breaks down songs or goes through music in the form of video essay/class and it can be a very interesting and fun learning experience for a beginner musician.

 

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As musicians, sometimes we look for new ways to improve the way we make music, perform and experiment. Sometimes our exploration can take us to mobile apps, which can offer a wide range of functions and tasks such as Enote. Enote is an app that offers digital sheet music with the ability to access a big library of interactive sheet music via the app that may change the way you perform.

Among the features are instantly transposing it, switching between movements or measures, turning pages, changing the size of scores, and printing them of course.

One of the founders of Enote, Boian Videnoff, who is also the chief conductor of the Mannheim Philharmonic said:

“I had been complaining to Josef about why digitalisation wasn’t happening in the music world, and he was making fun of me having to drag a whole suitcase full of scores with me when I travelled. We decided together to tackle the problem,”

Josef Tufan is an IT management consultant, and co CEO of Enote.

How is Enote Innovating?

 

Before the app, the only real “digital sheet music” interaction was through pdf, but that wasn’t really any different from the original paper experience, in fact, it’s more limited, and the only thing you could do was zoom in and out and store it in any plattform, which is great but not really innovating or transformative experience.

As said before, there are a few things that Enote can do, but one of the most useful functions is being able to inmediatly transpose a notation thanks to optical music-recognition technology. This is something that would otherwise take some time to do, but thanks to the app you can do this in no time.

It’s also just the beginning, as every new creation has the potential to evolve, and improve all of its features over the years.

A Well Recieved App

Of course one of the applications of this new software would be in music education. As education in general gets used to a more digital enviroment, there is no reason as to why it should be different in music. This app helps with this transition, making a few things easier for those getting into the world of music.

In an article with the Guardian, it shows some of the support the app is having from a few recognized musicians including a statement from Daniel Barenboim:

Its supporters from the world of music include the baritone Thomas Hampson, the cellist Mischa Maisky, the violinist Lisa Batiashvili, and Michael Barenboim, the violinist and concertmaster of the West-Eastern Divan Orchestra, who is the son of the conductor Daniel Barenboim and the pianist Elena Bashkirova.

“Everyone in the music world is talking about it and I’m sure we’ll all be using it sooner or later, including my father,” the younger Barenboim told the Guardian. “It will be a gamechanger for musicians. The possibilities are very exciting, especially for the field of music education.”

AI in Music

It’s interesting to see that even though it’s happening now, the world of classical music has been very hesitant towards the implementation of new digital and technological inventions.

The team that worked on the app was full of historical musicologists, AI expertes and mathematicians in order to achive the precision necessary for the app to work.

It was a hard task because it involved programming the ability to learn and recognize every little thing from the music that was written down as if the AI was a musician, this means, that there is a sort of sensibility that was needed for this kind of task.

In the end it all came out perfectly and after five years, the world’s first library of native digital sheet music, has finally been realeased.

There is quite a lot of experimentation with AI in music, in fact, there are full AI music albums. But this is another thing completely, not just because of the little margin for error, but the difficulties of replicating the way a skilled musician would modify and interact with a piece of music.

We’ll have to wait and see how much this app evolves and how it could improve other areas of music such as music education.

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