Every year I have a keyboard festival in my studio. Keyboard festival is similar to Clavinova festival if you are familiar with those. Matter of fact, the reason I started keyboard festival was because of the Clavinova festival experience I had years ago! I thought it was fun and was looking forward in having my students participate in this yearly event with my students, but then the store in my area that hosted Clavinova festival closed. And so did the opportunity of participating. So when that happened I decided to host my own festival and called it keyboard festival, where students played on the digital piano or Clavinova (I didn’t have a Clavinova until last year) with background accompaniments.
This year, I decided to use the Piano Maestro app as our tool for the background tracks. All but one of my students (he made his own backing track), played their piece on Piano Maestro. Before students performed I gave a little tutorial about Piano Maestro and all the cool features it has. My wish is all my students eventually would have access to the app at home.
I thought I would share what I did to help make things go quick and smooth.
First, I didn’t want students to log into their individual Piano Maestro accounts to find their pieces because I wanted loading time to be at a minimum. So with a different email, I set my studio up as a “student” and connected to me as the teacher. I then plugged all the students pieces into the Home Challenges. So when it was a students turn to play, it was already opened to “Foxx Piano Studio” and they just chose their piece from the pieces that were in home challenges. It made it super quick and easy!
Again, to keep things simple yet effective, I took advantage of the Clavinova speakers and hooked a longer, good quality audio cable from the iPad to the Clavinova. This is the audio cable I used. (click picture for link)
Not all my students have Piano Maestro to practice with at home, so for those who didn’t, I just made sure they chose a piece that had a hard copy available. (Piano Pronto, SuperSonics, Higgledy Piggledy Jazz, etc…). Then I simply recorded the background music from Piano Maestro to my phone and emailed it to them so they had the accompaniment to practice with. They practiced on the app itself when they came to lessons during their lab time.
I’m sure most of you are aware, but just in case you aren’t… Did you know? Piano Maestro is FREE for teachers and their students! So if you have an iPad and don’t have it, be sure to download it here! JoyTunes also has a great Facebook support page for teachers here.
I always have the families bring goodies to share (I provide drinks and paper goods), but I like to also do a little something so this year I used these music themed ice trays and made chocolate music molds! They were a hit. Yum!
You can find the music themed ice trays on Amazon here.
Feel free to watch the video of our Keyboard Festival below if you are interested.