‘Tis the season of preparing students for upcoming contests, festivals and recitals. Here are four performance-enhancing apps that promise to help you help your students to do their best.
The Camera simulates the presence of a real audience more than you, the teacher, can provide during a lesson. Once that camera starts rolling, students move into a performance zone and are forced to commit to seeing the piece through with musicality and as few errors as possible. The beauty of the camera is that musicians can see and hear the instant replay, make self-assessments and learn from their mistakes. It’s like a digital mirror that reflects EVERYTHING you may be trying to reinforce at lessons. Bonus? It comes free with any smart phone or tablet!
As students prepare a piece for an upcoming deadline, encourage them to search for and watch YouTube videos of others performing the same piece. Yes, it can be intimidating when an artist is simply amazing and above and beyond what your students might be able to play. However, viewing peers of more “equal” playing abilities perform an identical piece equips students with discerning ears. It helps them to compare, contrast and make decisions on how they desire their own performances to sound.
Tip: Check out University of Iowa’s Piano Pedagogy Project. Their channel features professional-level performances of an ever-growing library of student repertoire.
This souped-up metronome called Practice+ provides a steady beat but in addition, it records students playing with the steady tick. When performers listen to the recording, they hear their alignment to a steady beat and may be surprised to observe that they are racing ahead or lagging behind. Here’s another tool to reinforce what you’ve been “preaching “over and over again. You can even email or text the recordings for student review between lessons.
Keep going! We encourage our students to move through a mistake, recover and keep playing during a performance. Piano Maestro is an app that trains musicians to read and play music along with a catchy backing track, provides instant feedback and tracks progress. The app features an ever-expanding library of repertoire including the latest pop tunes and even method books like the Alfred Premier Piano Course. Although there are practice modes in which the app will wait for the player to lower the correct note on a piano or keyboard, the only way players can earn rewards and access more challenging pieces is by performing a piece at the required tempo with zero to few errors. Piano Maestro allows students to practice under performance-like conditions within a fun-packed, arcade-style environment. The gamification of performance pressure reinforces your coaching and can definitely boost on-stage confidence.
Do you have more suggestions to add to this list of apps that enhance performance readiness?