JoyTunes has just added Irina Gorin’s “Tales of a Musical Journey“ to Piano Maestro. We decided to take this opportunity and sit down with Irina to have a quick chat with her and hear more about how she is using Piano Maestro in her lessons.
Question: How long have you been using Piano Maestro?
Irina: I have been using the app for about a month now and really see that my students love it.
Question: Who do you use Piano Maestro with and how are they enjoying it?
Irina: I am using the app with one of my beginning student who just turned 6 years old and is in “Tales of a Musical Journey” book 2. She has been taking lessons for about 3 months now. Besides working on her main method book (which is “Tales of a Musical Journey”), she also enjoys playing the songs in the Journey section of Piano Maestro, because they are fun and easy for her to learn. She is excited that she is already at Rank 19. She has an iPad at home and always asks which songs she should practice.
Question: Great. Are you using it with other students too?
Irina: Yes, of course. I also use the app with my other elementary level students. They have been playing for 1 to 3 years and their favorite songs to practice are those in the Higgledy Piggledy Jazz books and the songs in the Journey section of the app.
These students like to outrank each other. While they see this as a great way to compete with each other, I see it as a great way for them to challenge themselves to improve and get in even more practice time.
Question: What aspects of Piano Maestro are most important to you as a teacher?
Irina: I see Piano Maestro as a way to help my students improve in many ways. First, the app really helps improve their sight reading, because every week they are playing a big amount of easy tunes. As a teacher, I would not be able to supply my students with such a variety of pieces for every lesson.
The fact that the app has background music is amazing, as it’s a great way for them to practice keeping a steady beat. Also, being able to adjust the tempo for each student’s ability is very important. As all children are very different, they need different paces set to enable them tp sight read. Normally, the CD’s that come with method books have just one tempo option per piece, and some students cannot keep up with it. With Piano Maestro, I can adjust the tempo for every student and make it comfortable for them, encouraging them to increase the tempo gradually.
I love that my students can start learning a piece of music with my guidance and then go home and continue practicing it. By the time I see them for their next lesson, they have usually mastered the song, and sometimes quite a few others.
There is always new content being added to Piano Maestro which makes my life as a teacher much easier. Finding new songs for each student every week is very time consuming but with Piano Maestro, all of the content is right there for me and my students. Plus, it’s always exciting to see what new songs and books have been added.
Question: How have parents reacted to having Piano Maestro included in lessons?
Irina: Some parents think it is great but others have been a bit reluctant because they see the iPad as an electronic device their children already spend too much time on. However, once I explain to them that the children are engaging in quality educational time which is not only fun but also really improves skills, they are more receptive to the idea. Plus, the fact that I can show them how many thousands of songs are in the app, is a big seller.
Question: How do you incorporate Piano Maestro into your lessons?
Irina: I like to use the app as a treat at the end of a lesson. Since the kids have come to understand that they only get to play with Piano Maestro if they work hard during their lessons, they tend to behave much more during the first part of class. Sometimes, when they get distracted in the middle of the lesson, I can remind them that the faster they accomplish the targets of the lesson, the more time they can have to play using Piano Maestro. That always helps them refocus!
Have you checked out Irina’s method book Tales of a Musical Journey yet? It’s a great book for young learners and beginners. Find it in the Methods section of Piano Maestro.