If you’re a Piano/Violin teacher, you’ve already heard of the absolutely fantastic App Piano Maestro, from JoyTunes. If you’re a Violin teacher you’ve probably never even heard about this totally amazing program, and I want to give you the inside scoop NOW! I have been using Piano Maestro with both my Piano and Violin Students, and am so happy that I can share the ways I’ve figured out how to get my Violinists in on the action! Be sure to bookmark this page NOW, so when you have your ipad and app ready, you can reference this page!
I was inspired by some siblings where one plays piano and the other violin, and the violin student saw the piano student having so much fun she wanted to switch instruments! Not going to happen in my studio!
IF YOU NEED TO KNOW WHAT PIANO MAESTRO IS….(the wonderful, incredible resource that every piano and violin teacher needs to experience IMHO)
If you already have an iPad, go ahead and find Piano Maestro in the app store (only available for iPad 2 or newer) and create a FREE, that’s right, FREE teacher account. Then I suggest playing one of the many great tutorials. This will show you how to use the program, and you will see how “cool” (as my new 17 year old violin student said last week) and easy this program is to use!
THE MOST IMPORTANT FIRST STEP IS TO REMEMBER TO GO TO THE SETTINGS BUTTON AND TURN FINGERINGS OFF! Pianists use 5 fingers and Violinists use 4! Tap on “enable acoustic piano” (this will work fine with your violin if it’s in tune!)
After you play around and become familiar with the program yourself, you will notice a few features to find songs in the treble clef only. You can type “right” or “melody” in the search box in the songs or exercises categories. You’ll be able to easily find some music from all different genres, from pop, to oldies, folk and kid and even holiday songs!
Underneath Exercises Section tap on Menu, and select Right Hand
you will find 63 different technical exercises available!
Underneath the Songs Section you can type “RIGHT” into the search box and find 16 Treble Clef Songs.
This is GREAT, except for our beginning Violinists who don’t play in the key of C for QUITE a while.
So here is a list of other songs and exercises within Piano Maestro that I have found, and I will list the Suzuki level they work well with. You can simply type in the title of the piece in the PM app to find it easily, but I’ll also include the level, to avoid confusion when there is more than one level of the same piece! Also keep in mind that if you can accompany your students, you can also play any of the bass clef parts while they play the treble clef at their lesson, and at home they can start the piece, pause, then select Right Hand only on the practice menu. I also use songs that contain open G through middle C in the Bass Clef as a learning opportunity for more advanced students!
IF your students do NOT have an Ipad at home, don’t let that deter you from assigning homework and having fun in the app during their lesson. You can print some non-copywritten music right from their website and see all the curriculum here: https://teachers.joytunes.com/assets/guidelines/PM_ChapterByChapter_Curriculumm.pdf I often print music for my students without an ipad, then after a week at home, they can try it out at my studio during their lesson! You can also send music to your students’ email, or your printer directly from the app (once you select a song, tap on the sheet music excerpt, then look for the up arrow in the display screen)
The BEST resources for a “baby beginner” or Open String Exercies (Pre-Twinkle) are:
- Strolling Strings-E Warm Up and Wake Up Rhythms-E & A (Under Teachers’ Content or XML Music) and composed by…guess who? Oh, ME Ms. Judy! When Joytunes asked teachers to submit their own compositions, I was torn…I have so many lovely piano pieces I would have loved to submit, but I knew my little violists would LOVE having more than one open string piece to play. And they do!
- Music For Little Mozarts…Green Level 2 Books, The G Song, Again!
Songs good for Suzuki Book one, Twinkle Variations through Etude with Fingers on the String (avoiding low 2’s, however they will have some string crossings….)
Journey Section Curriculum:
Chapter 1 – only (C4), quarters and half notes. –
Vivaldi’s Spring – a simplified version (only middle C) –
Rocking – easy rock music –
The Great Quest – nice orchestral segment
Chapter 2 – (C4-D4), quarters and half notes. –
Silent Night – simplified (only C4-D4) –
The Star-Spangled Banner – simplified (only C4-D4) –
Hava Nagila – Exciting Jewish Folksong, simplified (only C4-D4) –
The Blue Danube – famous waltz by J.Strauss – simplified (only C4-D4)
Chapter 3 – Right hand, Middle C,D,E (C4-E4), quarters and half notes – Steps – Warm Up – C4-E4 – a first taste of the new note (E4) –
Hot Cross Buns – the famous English children song –
Mary Had a Little Lamb – a fun arrangement
Chapter 4 – Right hand, Middle C,D,E (C4-E4), quarters and half notes – Skips –
Cookie Jar – an original title for practicing skips (C4-E4) –
Wedding March – the famous one by R.Wagner – simplified (C4-E4) –
Aida Theme – from the famous opera by G.Verdi – simplified (C4-E4)
Songs good for Suzuki Book one (past Etude) through end of book two (some string crossings and low 2’s, more complex rhythms.)
Journey Section Curriculum:
Chapter 11 – Right hand, Practicing “C-Position” C4-G4 – Steps
– 5 Finger Warm Up – available in multiple keys in the Library
– Just a Question – an original song for practicing steps C4-G4
– London Bridge is Falling Down – the famous English song
Chapter 12 – Right hand, Practicing “C-Position” C4-G4 – Skips
– Lightly Row – new arrangement of the famous children song –
Jingle Bells (Chorus) – slow version of the famous song –
When The Saints – the famous American spiritual
– Finger Twister – an up-beat fun exercise to get those fingers moving (C4-G4)
Chapter 14 (introduction of eighth notes)
Angry Birds – the famous game that became a huge hit – simplified
Chapter 15 – Intro To 8th Notes – 8 th Notes In Steps Warning…(THIS ONE HAS A BASS CLEF G and A and B…I USE IT AS A LEARNING OPPORTUNITY!)
– Ode To Joy – A jumpy version of the famous theme from Beethoven’s 9th Symphony
We Wish You a Merry Christmas – a calm version of the holiday song
Chapter 16 – Intro To 8th Notes – 8 th Notes In Steps
– Amazing Grace – The melody of the famous spiritual
Here is a Handy List of treble clef songs you may want to save or print out for quick reference during lessons. I know this has helped me save a lot of time and searching!
Carnival-Melody Line Level 1a
Family Harmony- Level 1a
Gong Xi Fa Cai- Level 1a
Honey I’m Good-Level 2b
River Flows in You- Level 2b
Happy New Year- Level 1b
Here I am to Worship Levels 1a and 2a
How Great is our God- Level 2a
O Holy Night-Level 2a
Frosty the Snowman-Level 1b
Joy to the World-Right Hand-Level 1b
Silent Night-Level 2a
Baby-Very Easy-Elementary Level
Wake Me Up-Elementary Level
She’s the One-Elementary Level
The Best Day of My Life-Elementary Level
Rather Be-Elementary Level
Uptown Funk-Levels 1a and 3b
We are Never getting Back Together-Level 1b
Waka Waka-Level 1b
You Belong With Me-Level 1b
I do it for You-Level 1b
Piano Man-Level 2a
I don’t want to miss a thing-Level 2a
Somebody That I used to Know-Level 2a
Dancing Cheeck to Cheek-Level 1b
Mother-Level 1a and 1b
Whole Tone Scale Steps-Right Hand-Level 1b
Congratulations-Simplified-Level 1a and1b
Major Scale Steps-R.H.
Chromatic Scale Steps, Right Hand-Level 1b
Cherry Blossom, Levels 1a and 2a
Two Octave Major Scale, Right Hand-Level 2b
Two Octave minor Scale, Right Hand-Level 2b
Winter Jasmine-Level 1a
Dark Horse-Level 2b
Shake if OFf-Level 3a
Mario Bros. Theme- Level 3b
Piano Maestro additionally has some Treble Clef Songs that Transpose too!
Mary Had a Little Lamb C & G
You are My Sunshine- G, F and D(G and D are great for beginners!)
Surfin’ USA-Level 1b…transpose to C Major and it’s all in treble clef!
5 finger Warm-Up-Parallel Movement…C, G, F, and D is a great warm up, just choose R.H. in the menu after starting the song and pausing.
Mistletoe-Level 1bA, F, and G
Firework-Level 1b, F, C and G
10, 000 Reasons C and G
O Come All Ye Faithful-Level 1b C & F
Jingle Bells-Level 1b G & F
What a Wonderful World, F & G
LOVE-Level 1b F&G LOVE-Level 2b A, E and D
Happy-Level 3a A, D and F
Grenade-Level 2b, D, A and E
Moves like Jagger-Level 2b B, E, and D
Beauty and a Beat-Level 2b A, E, and D
Sugar-Level 1b, C and D flat!
Angry Birds-Level 1a, A, E, D…E and D are treble clef only!! So Fun!
Tetris Theme-Melody Line-Level 2b, A E and D.
Some of My Studio’s Favorites include:
Happy, Angry Birds Theme, Uptown Funk, Do Re Mi, Annie, Minuet in G (First Part-with R.H. *Minuet 3 in Suzuki Book 1), and In The Hall of the Mountain King!
After level 16 in the journey, there is a LOT of Bass Clef in the songs, but, remember you can still look through pieces for “melody” or “right” or “treble” to indicate those lovely treble clef notes. ANOTHER option is to start ANY PIECE and then immediately pause the song and in the PRACTICE OPTIONS you can choose RIGHT HAND only, which DOES deduct from the score but would enable a violinist to play almost any piece to some degree (unless it’s a Bass Clef exclusive composition.) If you’re able and so inclined, you may choose to play those bass clef notes with your students!
Under the PRACTICE OPTIONS you can also SLOW DOWN or SPEED UP a piece, and even turn on the note names on easier pieces. AND if you forget to turn the fingerings off, you can access the settings menu from the PRACTICE OPTIONS pages as well.
You can also access any song from the Library, even if the student hasn’t made it “that far” in the JOURNEY section. This way you can easily skip over all that bass clef stuff.
If you want a student to practice a piece at home on their iPad, just click the house shaped button and “assign as homework.” Instantly that piece will be sent to them.
PROS and CONS of using Piano Maestro in your lessons:
You will have to learn a new skill, and possibly purchase an iPad 2 (mini works too) or newer. I recommend anything newer than an iPad 2 with retina display, and twice as much memory as you think you’ll need. Also, a good screen and fantastic case geared towards kids is the best protection. Here is what I use:
YOU WILL BE THE COOLEST TEACHER. EVER. My cool level has gone through the roof. I have learned more “popular” songs in the last year from Piano Maestro than I knew before in my whole life! Automatically you will be able to relate to your students in a new way. You can use this to market your studio too! Also, you will never need to BUY new pop music for your students to play. Piano Maestro is updated so often I can’t keep up!
YOUR STUDENTS WILL BE SO EXCITED! I had never seen anyone get excited about Sight Reading in my 20 years of teaching before!
YOU CAN “SPY” ON YOUR STUDENTS’ PRACTICING: Joytunes will send you a very detailed email showing exactly what students practiced EACH SUNDAY, how they performed or progressed, and how long they practiced for. The AVERAGE PRACTICE of my students’ practicing in their first week with the app (when they are super into it) is between 2-5 hours, and this is in addition to their normal practicing methods/scales on paper kind of stuff. This weekly report is my most favorite part of Piano Maestro…**Now you can also access a student’s report the day of their lesson (example Wednesday and the practice report is for the past 7 days.)
PARENTS WILL GET TO “SPY” ON THEIR KIDS PRACTICING: Every week parents get a email with the stats on each kid. Additionally, each time a song is performed on Piano Maestro, it’s recorded and can be shared with friends and family. Parents just LOVE to brag on their little amazing geniuses…including ME! Everyone in our family is used to getting special emails from this proud mama that play the audio performance and show a nice “selfie” taken at the end of a 3 gold star performance!
YOUR STUDENTS WILL “LEARN” HOW TO PRACTICE: By Using the Learn mode instead of the Play mode, my students are finally understanding what I’ve been telling them for years…to take a small part of the piece and work on it before moving on…In the Learn mode you play a chunk of the piece about 4 times and can earn a silver star before moving on to the next step. Sometimes there are ten steps, sometimes seventeen! If any student wants to work on a popular tune they love, but it’s just beyond them, this is the best option!
YOUR STUDENTS WILL HAVE EXCELLENT INTONATION: Do you ever feel like making a recording of yourself saying…”Lower 2, Higher 2?” Piano Maestro’s HOLD ON mode is the perfect practice buddy for Violinists! The app will wait for the student to play the correct note, so with Violinists, that finger has to be in the perfect place before they can move on to the next note…which really reinforces what I tell them…your finger has to be in the correct place or it isn’t that note!
If you don’t have an iPad or any apple technology, you’ll thank me later, and wonder why it took you so long to decide-YES! (I know that’s how I feel, and I did NOT own an iPad before 2014 and I purchased one specifically for Piano Maestro.) I saw the program demonstrated twice live before I took the leap. If you are a Violin-only teacher, please find that cool Pianist teacher friend who has this technology to show you in person! Watching youtube links will give you a good idea of how the program works, but experiencing it in person is what really won me over! If you ever have any technical difficulties, you will have lots of in house support from your students (who taught me how to turn the ipad off, ect.!)
If you think this is all silly, I want you to step back in time and remember what school was like…the teacher asks a question, and you are sure you know the answer…your hand shoots up in the air! You’re so excited, but YOU’RE WRONG 🙁 Immediately, remorse, confusion and embarrassment follow. Are you likely to answer another question? With games, we loose often, but that doesn’t make the player want to quit. Obtaining 1 gold star out of three, really makes us want to practice the piece again and again because playing games is just fun! This is a reason why I use so many games, including Piano Maestro in my studio. Games make learning fun, and help us all to retain the knowledge.
While Piano Maestro was once free for registered teachers and their students, there is now a yearly fee. I made the decision to KEEP piano Maestro in my studio and give the gift to my students because I really love them and want them to succeed. For me, a Violin and Piano teacher it is worth every penny. Let’s all pray that someday soon….a VIOLIN MAESTRO!!!
20 years later I’ve written a book that is a best seller in it’s category on Amazon.com and love to spend my mornings doing consulting work with other Violin and Piano teachers. I really love helping other Piano and Violin Teachers find enthusiasm for teaching and the tools to make it a full time job. You can find my book here:
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