Check out Better Practice App, the new practicing app/lesson management app on the scene!
Well, it’s official. I joined the 21st century in my piano teaching studio.
In case you’re wondering how someone who built a website and is creating an online course could possibly NOT be in the 21st century: Guess what? It took me until 2009 to get a cell phone, roughly until 2012 to get a smartphone, and until last week to get an iPad and a Bluetooth speaker. Okay, I’m a little bit of a luddite, I admit it.
Why did I finally take the plunge and embrace technological aids for my studio? Well, I found out about this new practicing app when I was at the Simply Music Teachers Symposium in January. It’s called Better Practice App. The things it does are so cool, I nearly lobbed my money at the presenter (he’s a friend, so I’m sure he would have forgiven me). And I was so excited I basically came straight home and bought an iPad so that I could make full use of it.
I have always wanted to use a practice app in my studio, but I’d never heard of one that would also work for teaching in groups, easy lesson planning, and managing a large repertoire like my students have.
Here’s a 5 minute video, put together by the creators of the app, that gives an overview of how it can help you manage your studio.
A short list of the things it does:
- Your students’ repertoire and assignments on your (and their) tablet, smartphone, or laptop – and marking it is as easy as tap tap.
- All current assignments at the top of each student’s practice list – never forget one again.
- You can pre-schedule assignments for each group or student and then move it to their current assignments with one tap.
- You can see during the week who has practiced, which songs they played, how it went, and approximately how long they were logged in and active
- You can automatically load any published instructional book you want into your options for assigning – If they don’t have the Table of Contents in there yet, you can email it to the developers and they will load it.
- You can create your own custom assignments, and re-use them with future classes.
- Intelligent practice recommendations – the songs (or items) that need the most attention to automatically come to the top of the list. (Students mark each day’s practice of each item with “Awesome”, “Okay”, or “Meh”)
- You see the student’s playlist and their practicing for the week in the app even if they don’t bring it.
- Constant total repertoire assessment happens invisibly and seamlessly with your students’ daily practice.
- There is a chord drilling game and test that anyone could modify to drill scales and/or arpeggios
- Daily positive peer pressure to practice – right in the app.
- Your notes for each assignment are right in front of them each time they practice
- Students can message you if they have a question mid-week – right from the playlist!
- Ability to load sheet music on PDFs within the student’s playlist.
- And more….
Are you drooling like I was yet?
In the roughly 6 weeks since I implemented this app in my studio, I have already noticed differences.
My lesson planning is more organized, and I track longer term assignments better from week to week.
I can give students more specific feedback on how they could improve their practice routine, and I can immediately see which songs need help.
My students are more engaged with me during the week – I frequently have “Good morning, Miss Shanta” messages at 6:30 AM.
One student likes to have her friends message me with questions like, “What’s your favorite color?” I have a feeling this can only be good for business.
One day, I played 54 songs (attempting to practice what I preach), and issued a challenge to my students to beat me. The next day a student played 55 songs.
My students are competing to see who can play the most. Sometimes, Anne will play 35 songs, then Brendan will see how many she’s played and play 36 songs, and then Ella (who already played 32 songs) will log on at 9:00 at night, see that Brendan has the most, and play 5 more songs.
I have a couple students who have a little war of attrition going to see who can play the earliest. So far 5:00 AM is the record.
Ready to check it out?
If you have 2 or fewer students, it is FREE! If you have more than 2 students, I have a discount code for you! Go to the Better Practice App website, and enter the code 2caa88 when you check out. (Full disclosure: I also get a discount when you use this code. I promise I would never recommend a product that I did not believe in.)
And here’s the best part of all:
The developers are a music teacher and a music student’s parent. They designed this app from both perspectives: teacher and student. They really care about it working well for everyone, they are open to feedback, and they take customer care seriously.
I hope you’ll take a looksie!
Discount code: 2caa88