Although we’re generally pretty technology-light at our house when it comes to raising kids, there are a few music apps that have sneaked into our daily use during in practice. Here’s a quartet of apps that we use. I apologize that this is iPhone-centric; but that’s what we have here.
This is a simple roulette wheel that the child can spin. You can use it to pick a section of a piece to work on, pick review pieces, or decide on the number of repetitions.
Here’s are two ways we’re using Decide Now!. One has the review pieces from Book 3. Each practice session, my daughter spins the wheel three times to pick the pieces to review that day. (Books 1 and 2 are on their own rotation.) Another way we use the app is to pick sections of her current piece to work on for that practice session. We have numbered sections, measure numbers and descriptive items that only we’d understand, like the “RSM” (rose smelling moment) in the Seitz 2⁄3.
Although we still use dice and other props, this has turned about to be really fun because it adds an element of chance and novelty to practice.
We like to keep track of things like repetitions, pieces played, etc. There are dozens of tally apps. This is the one we use because it also has a widget on the iPhone’s Notification Center view (the sheet that you get when you pull down from the top of the screen.)
There’s something about keeping track of things - whether using physical objects or virtual tallies that really motivates many kids. I know that our musician is very motivated by numbers.
You can add as many counters as you want giving them custom colors. My daughter enjoyed finding just the right colors!
The Multitimer app has been in use in practice for many months now. As opposed to the built-in iPhone timer, it allows you to run multiple timers simultaneously. We practice based on time in two 45 minute blocks, morning and after lunch. We start the 45 minute timer at the beginning of the session and aim to finish by the time it’s done. But during practice, we may have challenges that last for different periods of time. For example, we do a focused form of review on a particular area that needs work (straight bowing for example); so I set another timer for 5 minutes. I also set a 15 minute timer for what we call the “Quiet Challenge” where we can’t talk about anything that’s not related to music. (You can see that we sometimes get distracted…)
This is a nice application for keeping track of things simultaneously.
This app was just released by Apple and my daughter loves it. Basically, it records you playing a melody. On playback, it analyzes the rhythm and harmony and adds a drum and bass track.
We have such a great time with it. I use it as a sort of “carrot” to encourage my daughter to get her practice done efficiently so that we can make some tracks on Music Memos. (From the screenshot, you can see that we have a child who’s obsessed with dogs!)
Have you found other applications that are useful for practice? Visit our Facebook page and leave a comment.