NinGenuis Winners!

Congratulations goes to…

NinGenius WinnersI will be contacting the winners soon! Remember NinGenius has 3 different purchase options to choose from. The Student edition ($2.99) is for individual students learning one instrument. Scores will only be tracked for that student. The Studio edition ($9.99) will allow the teacher to put unlimited students under one instrument. And the School edition ($17.99) will allow unlimited students under unlimited instruments.

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Also don’t forget! Tonight is the deadline to enter to win one of two $50 TpT Gift Cards. Click here to see the details.


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Tech Tuesday: NinGenius Music iOS app

There is a fairly new music app in the app store and it is a lot of fun! If you have any students that enjoy the martial arts, this will most likely be a favorite. NG5NinGenius has 3 different purchase options to choose from. The Student edition ($2.99) is for individual students learning one instrument. Scores will only be tracked for that student. The Studio edition ($9.99) will allow the teacher to put unlimited students under one instrument. And the School edition ($17.99) will allow unlimited students under unlimited instruments. (This is great if you have a studio or classroom that teachers more than one instrument) In the school edition the instruments included so far are: Baritone, Bass, Bassoon, Clarinet, Cello, Flute, F Horn, Guitar, Mallets, Oboe, Piano, Saxophone, Trombone, Trumpet, Tuba, Viola and Violin.

NinGenius was developed by two brothers, Anthony and Curtis Winters. Anthony is the programmer and Curtis does the music and graphics. Curtis is a junior band & orchestra teacher in Orem, Utah, and has been using this app for several months with great success. Curtis said, “Band, Orchestra, Choir, and Piano teachers should know that we are committed to keeping it updated, bug-free, and expanded with each update, allowing teachers to use it year after year and keep track of thousands of student scores (with the freedom to delete individual students and all student data whenever they want).”

I love that they created these 3 app options so we can determine what is best for us. For the purpose of this review I will be focusing on the Studio edition using Piano as the instrument.

First to add students you will want to turn on the INSTRUCTOR MODE. This will unlock the ability to add, delete and change names. Instructors will also be able to view the play history to see how students did on their score, accuracy and speed. This is especially helpful if you aren’t right there with them while they are playing. The instructor mode does need a password. I actually appreciated this feature and wish it was available other apps like Piano Maestro as my students like to go in and change other students names thinking they are being silly.NG4There are a couple playing modes in NinGenius Music. The STUDY MODE teaches the note names AND fingerings for each note in the chosen level. The fingering mode really is what sets this app apart from other note reading apps out there. In the  Study Mode, students can choose to hide an answer until tapped. So they can name the answer and then tap the scroll to see if they got it right. When they feel they know their notes pretty well they can go on to TEST MODE.

NG3TEST MODE is where the fun begins! If in the fingering option for piano, students will see a 3 multiple choice options on the actual keyboard. For the note option, they will see the note names. In test mode there is a countdown clock as they are naming their notes. As the countdown gets smaller the background music gets faster with a higher pitch. If you have students where that kind of thing causes major anxiety I would just recommend muting the music.   When they get the note right enough times they break the board (the board gets weaker until breaking point). When they get the note wrong it can cause the poor ninja some pain. Get them wrong enough times, the ninja will pass out and the game will be over.

There are 4 levels of difficulty. (Easy, Medium, Advanced, and NinGenius) From what I can tell EASY concentrates on treble lines, MEDIUM adds in the bass clef, ADVANCED is treble and bass clef with more notes and NINGENIUS adds in some ledger lines.

NG2Scores are based on accuracy and speed. Students can earn speed bonus points for answering quickly and correctly. Once they complete their round they will earn a colored belt and a score. If their score is high enough they will make it into the Top 10 High Scores list which is found on the main screen. This is a huge motivator for trying to beat their score again and again! The high score list shows the current Top-10 scores for each level. GN6

When I shared with Curtis that I would love to see the option to customize notes, he told me that it is already on their to-do list!

Here are some ways I thought would be fun to use NinGenius:

1) The typical way (with you, during music tech time, at home, etc…)

2) Round Robin/Hot Potato style- Students lining up to the iPad and taking turns answering a note one at a time or passing the iPad around before the timer goes off. (remember to keep iPad on the floor!)

3) Projecting it on a screen and having students answer aloud while you push the answer. (or do this in round robin style, projected)

Curtis shared with me that they have a long list of ways to improve and build NinGenius. “We really want to make this the premium music education app by including rhythm games, a two-player versus mode, music theory training sessions, Game Center compatibility (so students and teachers can compare scores all across the world), bonus belts and collectible wardrobe options, etc., etc.”

He shared that he is especially eager to get several instruments (including piano) set up to where you touch the correct key or place on the fingerboard rather than choose between three multiple-choice options.

Whether your students are in a private, group or classroom setting, NinGenius Music is a very fun and engaging note and fingering game students will enjoy! I cannot wait to see what else they add to NinGenius!

The Winter brothers were so kind enough to do a giveaway in conjunction with this review. The giveaway is for two Student Editions and one Studio Edition.

To enter this giveaway, like NinGenius on Facebook, like FPSResources on Facebook (if you haven’t already) and leave a comment below. Good luck! Deadline to enter is Friday, June 26th, 10:00pm (AZ) MST time.


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ASMTA Conference 2015: Apps to Spark Creativity and Composition

This isn’t deja vu. Yesterday I put the wrong title with the post. That one was Teaching the Mobile Generation with Today’s Hottest Apps. (The title has been corrected, thanks Leila for catching that!)

Now for Apps to spark creativity and composition!

She opens with this quote by Sir Ken Robinson (you can see the TED talk here), “Creativity is as important in education as literacy and we should treat it with the same status.”IMG_7084Steal (Borrow) Like an Artist. “Good artists copy; great artists steal.” (Picasso)

I have learned that there are VERY few truly original ideas anymore. If you thought of it, chances are pretty high someone else in the world has too or something very similar. When it comes to composition Leila encourages students to borrow ideas from the pros, current repertoire, 12-bar blues, Heart and Soul and more! What else  can you borrow from?

When borrowing composition ideas… It’s good to follow their lead, change it up- make it our own (remember we are taking “ideas” to spark the creativity and composition), transpose it.

Are your students having a hard time getting started? There are a lot of great “jumpstart” activities out there on blogs in regards to composition. Leila mentions Wendy Stevens, Joy Morin, Kristin Jensen and Susan Paradis (and don’t forget Leila’s blog too!) for some composition starter ideas.

 

Leila shared a few rules for Jumpstarting.

1) Structure is key

2) Intro ABA Coda

3) Keep it appealing

4) Set Limits

There are a lot of apps that can help jumpstart the creativity and composition process. Look for apps/online resources that can create Melody, Harmony, Rhythm and Notation. (i.e.: Piano Maestro, NoteStar, Orphion, iReal Pro, Garage Band, Tin Pan Rhythm, Hook Theory, Supermetronome Groovebox, SpeakBeat, My Rhythm, Notion, MuseScore, Noteflight, Symphony Pro. The list can go on and on… You can find most of those links here.)

“Everything is a remix- so steal like an artist”

Rules for Melody-

Pentatonic Scale

Motive, Repetition, Sequence…

Questions and Answers

Create in Pairs of 2, 4 and 8

Imitate a Master

Make it simple

Rules for harmony-

Stick with primary chords first

Borrow tried and true progressions

Use a diatonic pallet

Listen for bass line

Experiment with color chords

Aquire with back pocket tips and tricks

Rules for Rhythm

Keep a steady beat

Stick with one time signature

Choose a favorite rhythm and repeat

Rules for Notation-

Compose what you can notate

Avoid composing while notating

Aim for 4 measures per line

Details matter

Some other wisdom from Leila…

The more you dig and explore the more ideas you will get.

Fake it till you make it.

All Rules are meant to be broken but don’t break the rules without a very good reason.

And remember to showcase those compositions!


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ASMTA Conference 2015: Teaching the Mobile Generation with Today’s Hottest Apps

IMG_5248A few weeks ago at the beautiful WigWam Resort, ASMTA (AZ) had their state conference. I will be posting over the next few weeks on some of the classes I was able to attend. I was excited when I saw that Leila Viss would be coming to present for ASMTA. She had to leave just as quickly as she came to get back for her son’s HS graduation but it was nice seeing her. Leila did back to back presentations. Her first presentation was on “Teaching the Mobile Generation with Today’s Hottest Apps”

Leila began by getting everyone involved (and a way to earn some chocolate- which is always a great thing) and did a round robin style game with Note Squish. Note Squish is a fun app similar to the old “wack-a-mole” you used to see in arcades. After getting the correct answer you got to take a piece of chocolate. IMG_7070Now keeping the candy in mind we used those candy words “Hersey”, “Butterfingers” etc… creating some fun candy rhythms.IMG_7075Then she had a teacher come up and notate a rhythm we were clapping using a whiteboard app. (Check out this post by Leila on how this all played out.)IMG_7076One of Leila’s favorite apps is iReal ProThere are so many uses with this app but she showed how we can have students start with a one note improv starting with one note, then adding more. Speaking of notes, Leila shared “A nickels worth of notes (pentatonic scale) is worth it’s weight in gold.”

The mobile generation are either digital natives or digital immigrants. (Natives are born in the digital generation) You can read more about the two differences here.

Then she goes in and talks briefly about Generation C (also known as the “YouTube” generation) and also what she has coined as “Generation “R” (this generation tends to be older and not as experienced with technology).

Generation C: 

More choice

Less commitment

Like to be connected

Cyberspace Community

Curators

“Generation R”:

Resistant

Revolting

Resigned

Reconsidering

Revolutionize

Wants to become Relevant

Relational

Always Remember: We are not teaching music, a method, etc… we are teaching a human being.

Gamification= Solidification

She concludes by sharing 3 tips when it comes to using the iPad….

Tip #1- Get to know your iPad

Tip #2- Make time to use your iPad (Music tech time during lessons is great for this!)

Tip #3- Secure apps and get to know them.

I would encourage you to visit Leila’s blog, where you will be able to read about other apps that she recommends for teachers. Stay tuned as the next post is also a presentation by Leila!


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Tech Tuesday: Guidebook app

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If you are going to MTNA conference, you will want to download the Guidebook app on your mobile device. It’s free and will give you access to the full schedule, information about presenters, tracks, exhibitors and conference maps. You can even customize your own schedule. Click here to download. Then search for 2015 MTNA National Conference and click to open. Easy and very handy!

See you soon!

Tech Tuesday: Dragon Scales

Screen Shot 2015-03-10 at 12.20.17 PMSpeaking of Dragons (if you saw my post earlier today, you will know what I’m talking about)…  Dragon Scales, an iOS app for the iPad is on sale 40% off for the month of March.

Dragon Scales is a fun way for students to review their scales. Students begin by playing the scale on the iPad keyboard. The goal is to play it up and down correctly before the dragon gets the knight. (Warning: sometimes boys like it when this happens) There are several speeds and game length options to choose from. So if a student is just learning a new scale they might want to start with the slow speed and work their way up.

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Both Major and Minor, including harmonic, melodic and natural scales are included. It is super easy to choose which keys to review.

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Did you know there are instructional videos to help students learn their scales? I’ve used this app several times and for some reason either didn’t realize this or totally forgot about this feature! I’m glad I was reminded. A perfect way to use this during lab time is have a student watch a video and follow up with the game.

Screen Shot 2015-03-10 at 12.16.24 PMAnother little tidbit you may have not known: “Students preparing for the Royal Conservatory of Music Examinations (Canada) or the assessments of the Music Development Program (USA) will find that the specific scale requirements for each grade level are available as presets. A single tap will enable all of the scales that could be requested on your next examination.”

Screen Shot 2015-03-10 at 12.16.45 PMIf you don’t have Dragon Scales yet, be sure to take advantage of the big discount this month!

Be sure to ‘Like’ FPSResources on Facebook and follow FPSResources on TpT to stay up to date on giveaways, reviews and other music resources!

Tech Tuesday: BobClass iPad app

(Side note: I have to start off this review by thanking the creators of BobClass for being so patient. They had contacted me to review their app last August. I’ve been backlogged on reviews and was hoping to get it done over the holidays, but it didn’t happen. So now I am happy to say here it is!)


It’s always nice to have different options out there and this app is a great option for teachers when it comes to a studio management app. Available for the iPad, BobClass has a clean look and layout that makes it easy to navigate quickly.

From their description in iTunes, “Bobclass is an all-in-one productivity app for instructors, tutors, trainers, coaches and other independent professionals. It offers appointment scheduling, client tracking, progress monitoring and payment tracking from your iPad so you can get rid of separate agendas, clipboards and spreadsheets. With a fast & friendly user interface and a fully functional offline database you can do your client administration in the gym, class room, studio or park.”

The first thing you will want to do is set up the information. This includes your profile, lesson sessions, days you teach, activities (I included group lessons and camps), group size, calendar, payment methods (for different services and/or items) and more! BobClass thought of everything an instructor would want.

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Once you get that all set up, then it’s time to add in your students. The nice thing is you can sync your contacts from your iPad or from google. So you will want to start with that to save you some time. Then all the information is right there at your convenience when you need it!
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After you get all your students in your contacts, you will want to start the scheduling process. Durations are available every 5 min. I know that is super helpful for teachers who like to do 40 min. lessons.

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When you are done setting up your schedule you will have a nice calendar that you can refer too…

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One of the things I do at the end of my teaching day is reconcile my lessons. (Sending a follow up note to my parents how the lesson went). BobClass has this feature as well. Not only can you email your notes but you can also include video clips (30 sec) and photos! That opens up some great options!

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Screen Shot 2015-01-20 at 9.10.08 AMEach day you open the app, the home page will show an overview of your day. This includes a countdown timer and the student details (including session notes and payment info). What a terrific feature to have everything at a glance.

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In addition some of the other features BobClass includes is confirmation emails that are sent to participants after booking the lesson, rescheduling or cancellations. Everything is automatically backed up after every use. (Very important!). If you are a traveling teacher, it even has maps linked to show you where to go for in home lessons.

Another feature that is unique is the find availability feature, which helps you fill any private lessons or group lesson spots that are available. And the best part? Bobclass is fully functional even if you don’t have the internet available! Another great feature for traveling teachers.

You can download the PDF user guide here for a detailed overview of the capabilities. And if you are like me and very visual, you can also view instruction videos for the app here. I love they included these helpful tools.

Bobclass is available for $19.99 in the iTunes store here. You can find out even more about Bobclass on their website Bobclass.com.

If you have been looking for a studio management system to simplify your business, Bobclass is a great affordable option!

The creators of Bobclass has offered to giveaway one promo code for this app to a lucky teacher! To enter, comment below how you currently keep track of your business management and what you like best about Bobclass! Deadline to enter is this Sunday, January 25, 2015; 10:00pm MST (AZ). GIVEAWAY HAS EXPIRED