Every musician knows that practise is essential to improving their skills, but encouraging our children to practise can be hard work! These days we are lucky to have access to an array of apps to stimulate, educate and entertain our students while they learn.
Here’s a list of apps and tips recommended by our teachers to help you when it comes time to practise.
A metronome is essential for every musician to develop their sense of timing and consistency. The Metronome [https://www.soundbrenner.com/themetronome/] is a free (without ads!) Android and iOS app.
Rhythm Swing [http://rhythmswing.com/] is a fun way for kids to practice rhythm drills to help develop their internal sense of beat. It is an iOS game app based on different rhythmic concepts, and kids love the challenge of levelling up and trying to make it to the ‘boss’ level!
Rhythm Cat [https://melodycats.com/rhythm-cat/] is an iOS app which is part of the Melody Cats [https://melodycats.com/] suite of game based learning apps for kids. With levels that build up progressively, it introduces commonly used music rhythms while being lots of fun!
Treble Cat is a game based app that helps students learn how to quickly identify notes in the treble clef; and its companion, Bass Cat helps student identify bass clef notes. There are lots of entertaining levels that become increasingly more challenging and is a great supplement to beginner students music reading. Both apps are available for iOS and Android.
StaffWars is another fun interactive game students love. It is designed to help students learn and practice note reading on the grand staff, treble, alto and bass clefs. StaffWars is available for iOS and Android.
Cleartune is an instrument tuner and pitch pipe which allows you to tune your instrument using the built-in mic in your Android or iOS device. It boasts being able to tune a wide range of instruments including an acoustic or electric guitar, bass, bowed strings, woodwinds, brass and piano.
Auralbook is an Android and iOS app for students undertaking AMEB exams to practice their aural outside of lessons. It works by analysing what you have sung and clapped and suggests ways of improvement.
Appeal to individual learning style
For tasks that your child might find challenging to complete, try finding games they might find entertaining and rewarding! A few examples are:
- Match box car scales: line up some matchbox cars, and each time a scale is completed, a car can be moved from one side to the other.
- Spin the Wheel: try an app like Spin the Wheel [https://spinthewheel.app/] and let the wheel decide which scale to play.
- Roll the dice: roll a dice to see how many times a practice piece should be played.
The core of our teaching method at Inner West Institute of Music is to cater our lessons to each child’s personality and learning style. We strongly believe in extending this approach to practicing, so it’s a fun experience and not a chore (or bore!).