Leila Viss

For years, sight reading triggered personal fear and insecurity. I feared I would fail and felt insecure when I compared myself to peers whomzl-hhqqeabm-175x175-75 seemed undaunted by the task of reading new scores.

As I teach out of reaction to my own experiences and feelings, it is essential that my students become strong grand staff readers and overcome their fears of sight reading as I eventually did. Early readers develop solid skills with continual reinforcement; in fact, a great deal of reinforcement that I find dreadfully boring to include during lessons. Oops…probably shouldn’t have said that but it’s true.

Thankfully things have changed significantly since I was a child on the bench. Now methods to build AND teach grand staff reading skills are available on my favorite iDevice thanks to various developers. Yigal and Yuval Kaminka, the master mind developers behind Joytunes‘ latest app called Piano Mania have struck gold.  The innovative, musical brothers recognized that humans enjoy winning and took advantage of the addictive tendencies of top-selling video games and paired them with essential reading skills for musicians to master.  This combination coupled with appealing music and an elite technical team has created an unbeatable, magnetic AND educational app.

 The app offers an elaborate system for building reading skills that benefit both students and teachers.   [···]

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Thanks to a slightly skeptical nature, I’ve held little interest in virtual long-distant lessons for three reasons.1320790122282390135bird-on-wire-svg-med-1

  1. Full Roster: My studio stays full thanks to living in a large metropolitan area so it seems pointless to look for online customers.
  2. Time: With the commitment of a full-time organist/pianist position, it would be difficult to squeeze in more practice time if I committed to lessons for myself–locally or beyond my bubble–with a master teacher.
  3. Trouble:  Why would anyone wish to trouble shoot their way through an hour-long battle with camera angles, band width limitations and WiFi glitches?

My view of online teaching changed drastically thanks to a recent business partnership with master improv teacher Bradley Sowash and our venture called 88 Creative Keys (camps and clinics for creativity at the keys.) I realized that if I was to achieve a higher level of improvisational skills, it was paramount for me to study with Bradley who happens to live in Ohio. Not willing to make a commute from Colorado to Ohio every other Wednesday morning, it was clear I must submit to the “wonders” of technology yet once again. [···]

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