Tech Tuesday: TpT Tips

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I know many of you are brand new to TeacherPayTeachers so I thought I would give some tips and answer some questions you might have.

 

  • It is free to sign up for a membership as a buyer or basic seller. If you think you would like to become a seller I would appreciate it if you use my referral link when you sign up: https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Signup/referral:FPSResources
  • To download free and paid products, you do need to sign up for a membership but the benefits of doing so, is you will get your downloads right away AND you will get free updates on the digital product you already purchased. Plus you can earn TpT credits! (more on that later…)
  • When a file is updated your account will be notified. You do need to check your account for updates. Go to “My Purchases” and see if there are any updated downloads. These updates can be fixes on something or addition on a product.
  • Sellers love feedback. If you downloaded an item, please take a moment to leave some feedback. This not only helps the sellers, but future buyers as well.
  • Limit your feedback to only things about the product itself. If you have a technical issue (something won’t download, a typo, etc…), there is a link at the top of the sellers store that says “Ask a Question”. Click on that link and ask your question or let the seller know of the issue. I know I personally am anxious to remedy whatever the problem is. You can also contact me directly: jennifer@foxxpianostudio.com
  • Sellers love followers. By being a follower you will be notified on any specials or sales that may happen with that store, etc. (Need 24 more followers before I post a fan freebie!) Follow me here.
  • TpT products are copyrighted products created by teachers for teachers. Please remember to follow copyright guidelines when purchasing products. We are all here to support each other. Many times a seller will include a term of use with their product. When you see this, take the time to read through it.
  • TpT has a free app. For iOS download here. For google download here.
  • I saved the BEST for last! Earn TpT credits! “TpT credits are points which can be applied to future purchases to save you money. To earn credits: After you make a purchase, rate and comment fairly on the product page of your purchased item. You need to do both to earn your credits. But you don’t have to rate and comment right away. You can do so after you’ve had a chance to use the product. Just return to the product page when you’re logged in to TpT. For every dollar you spend on TpT, you’ll earn 1 credit—and we’ll round up for you, too! If you provide fair feedback on a $4.75 item, you will earn 5 credits. Every 20 credits you earn equals $1 to apply toward future TpT purchases. To redeem credits: Once you’ve earned at least 20 credits, you’ll see the option to apply credits at checkout.”

There is a lot of products on TpT to explore! Enjoy!

 

 

Tech Tuesday: Grand Opening FPSResources TPT Store!

This last weekend I was able to attend the TpT conference at the Venetian in Las Vegas.

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I learned a lot and am excited to announce the GRAND OPENING of my TpT store! Right now my store is pretty new but I am planning on filling it up with lots of musical goodies. I have a new incentive program coming that I am super stoked about. And some downloads in my store will even be FREE! (Hint there are already some freebies over there!) To make sure you stay updated on what is new in the store, as well as special discounts and freebies be sure to become a follower.

Now don’t forget when you download anything in my store, please be kind and leave some feedback. This helps both of us when everyone takes just an extra 30 seconds to do that.

To follow me on TpT, just click on this link and then click follow me…

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Now the exciting stuff!!! When I reach 150 followers I will be posting a FAN FREEBIE over on my Facebook page. Let’s see how quick we can make that happen. Make sure you are also a Facebook fan in addition to a TpT follower so you can grab that fan freebie.  Click here to “like” FPSResources on Facebook. Follow me on TpT here. Now go spread the word!

Tech Tuesday: SproutBeat app

I usually have a pretty long to do “wish list” in the summer. I say wish list because not everything on my list gets done, but it is what I hope to get done. One of those things on my list has been to transfer worksheets that Eik Siang Mar has created over the years on her website FunandLearnMusic.com for teachers to use (for free may I add) to my iPad. She has been so generous!

Imagine my pure delight when I found out that she created an iOS app for the iPad where ALL her worksheets- over 400 of them are available on an app! I can’t tell you how excited I am about this as it immediately crosses one of my “to do’s” off the list! The work is done for me and it is AWESOME!!!

SproutBeat has over 400 worksheets and games that you can use at the tip of your fingertips with your students with more added weekly. Need to review notes? There is a worksheet for it. How about key signatures, intervals, chords? You name it- chances are high that it is there. And I can bet if you are in need of something Eik Siang Mar would create it.

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Everything is categorized by theory subject so you can easily find what you are looking for. Once the worksheet is downloaded, you can open it up later without internet connection.

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Once the worksheet is downloaded. Students will pick their “writing” tool (pen, pencil or marker) and then choose a color they would like to use. Students can erase and change the color. It even allows you to print the worksheet if you want.

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SproutBeat is free to download and allows you to download your first 25 worksheets for free. I thought this was a generous amount to give it a try and see how you like it. If you are using it, and are liking it, then you can upgrade and have all access for $19.99.

Check out the website for more information on this fantastic app. I highly recommend SproutBeat for teachers to use in the studio. The worksheets are colorful, fun and motivating. It is a definite must have in the studio!

 

Tech Tuesday: Practicia

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I recently got a sneak peak of a practice app that will be coming out sometime in the next year called Practicia. Let me tell you, this is an app that you will want to check out. After I saw all that it did I said to my husband, if students used this app to it’s full capability, there is no way they would not be able to progress quickly. It is THAT awesome!

Be sure to visit the website Practicia.com to get an idea of what it is all about and like their Facebook page to stay up to date.

Right now Practicia is looking for more teachers willing and able to beta test for the upcoming iOS app. If you have an iPhone, iPod or iPad, don’t miss out on this terrific opportunity. Just go to their website to sign up. It is limited so don’t wait either. Eventually Practicia will be available in all formats, including Android. But right now the iOS platform is the priority. So what are you waiting for? Check it out!

Facebook notifications on iPhone, etc…

Just wanted to give a quick update to yesterdays post! (Thanks Leia S.!) If you are on your iPhone, you will need to click on the specific post that you want to get notifications on, then click the triangle, and then your option. Now I’m not 100% sure if this will mean you will get notifications every time that person posts anything or if it is just for that post (hopefully the latter). Worth trying!

Get Notifications

Stop Notifications

 

Tech Tuesday: Facebook Notification Tip

I’m on quite a few Facebook message boards and I noticed a popular thing for people to do is comment that they are “following”.  The purpose of this is so they will receive notifications when any other comments come in. I thought I would just give a little tip that there is a better way to do this so it doesn’t congest the comments on the post. If you hover over the original message, you will see an upside down triangle appear on the right side. Click on that triangle and then click “Get Notifications”.

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On the flip side, sometimes we make a comment but we don’t want to get bombarded with notifications every time someone makes a comment, especially if it’s a popular thread. So to stop the notifications, simply click on the same upside-down triangle and click “Stop Notifications.”

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UPDATE! (Thanks Leia S.!)  If you are on your iPhone, you will need to click on the specific post that you want to get notifications on, then click the triangle, and then your option. Now I’m not 100% sure if this will mean you will get notifications every time that person posts anything or if it is just notifications for that post (hopefully the latter). Worth trying!

Stop Notifications

Get Notifications

I hope that little tip helps some of you today! :)  See you on Facebook!

 

Tech Tuesday: Are you missing out on free apps?

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If you haven’t liked FPSResources on Facebook you might be missing out on FREE apps! Just for the month of April, I shared 6 free apps that were available. Most of these are  just available for that day or a limited time so you want to grab them when you find out about them. If you want to stay in the know and take advantage of free apps, be sure to click the like button!

Hope to see you there!

FPSResources Facebook page

 

(Coming soon! A new app review for next week’s Tech Tuesday feature! Stay tuned!)

Tech Tuesday: The Real Reason Teens Are Quitting Your Studio – Part 3: Technology!

I am excited to have Tim Topham as a guest today for our Tech Tuesday feature. He has a terrific blog that you should visit. His posts in this series have been spot on, be sure to check all of them out!

Teenagers and Technology – a match made in heaven

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This is the last article in a 3-part series I’ve been writing about retaining and motivating teenage piano students.

The initial idea for the series was borne out of feedback I received from readers of my free Teen Teaching Toolkit eBook. I found that despite their best efforts, many teachers didn’t know how to connect effectively with their teenage students and couldn’t work out why they were losing them to other activities.

I’ve already covered two key reasons that teens quit piano:

Part 1: They aren’t playing music they want to play

In the first part of the series, which you can read at Wendy Stevens’ fantastic Compose Create blog, I discussed that teachers of teenagers have to be open to teaching the music their students want to play.

Part 2: They don’t see the relevance in their lessons

In Part 2 of the series, I explained that teenagers also need to see the relevance in what they are doing and their lessons have to be practical and useful. To them. Now.

This week, in the final part of the series, we’ll discuss how keeping up with technology can help you motivate and retain teenagers in your studio.

Bach v Xbox – how can you win?

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Technology is a great motivator for today’s adolescents.

If you’re trying to get students to choose between 30 mins of Bach practice hands separately with a metronome and 30 minutes on their Xbox, you’re going to lose every time!

But what if they got to learn their favourite pop songs by playing along to the full band and vocals on their iPad for 30 minutes? Or if they got to practice their jazz improv by playing along with a bass and drums? How much more engaged could they be?

I’m not saying that learning Bach isn’t a good idea for the right student; rather, incorporating aspects of technology is what this post is all about. You don’t have to revolutionize everything that you’re doing in your lessons – small changes can have a lasting impact.

What if I don’t have an iPad?

OK, so I know that not everyone has an iPad. However, I’m hoping that if you’re reading an article like this and you don’t have one, you’re probably at least thinking about it. While I’m not here to convince you to buy an iPad, if you’re looking for ways to keep your teens engaged, I think it’s a ‘no-brainer’.

That said, not everything is about the iPad either. YouTube is a great resource and allows you to do far more than just watch and upload videos. Check out my post about creating playlists for students, for example. There is also plenty of free online music software on the web that you can use: notation software (eg. Noteflight), aural training software and music games.

So, how do you get a start motivating your teens with technology?

Here are my top 3 tips for using technology to inspire your teens this week:

1. Get stuck into Notestar! 

The free Notestar app by Yamaha is probably the app I use more than any other when it comes to teaching teens. Notestar provides backing tracks with full vocals for all the latest pop songs. It is updated regularly when new material is released and has lots of the 60s, 70s and 80s included, as well as the latest releases. You’ll even find Baroque and Classical music on there (try playing along to a string section for Canon in D!). While the app is free, songs are about $4 to download, however you can download the first 30 seconds of every song in the catalogue for free to check out whether you’d like it and to see how easy/hard the music is to play.

Notestar is perfect for kids who are learning to play chords and who want to play pop music as it makes otherwise boring chord progressions much more interesting. The on-screen music has printed notation and chord charts so students who can’t read music can still play by chords. There is also a feature to change the music to any key and also play at 3/4 and 1/2 speed while practising.

Tim’s Tip: This week, download and explore the app and the catalogue of music available (you can view and search the catalogue online here without even getting the app). Get a feel for how it works and which of your students might enjoy using it. Test it out yourself and then try it out on one of your teenage students.

2. Find out about how other people are using iPads by reading blogs, magazines and following discussion threads.

I don’t claim to have all the answers when it comes to iPads and I’m always on the lookout for new app recommendations from others. When it comes to buying an iPad and downloading apps, it pays to do some research. Here are some of my favourite resources:

Tim’s Tip: If you haven’t already done so, get a Facebook account and sign up for the groups that I recommend in my post: Top 4 Facebook Groups for Piano Teachers. This is one of the best ways to keep current with trends in music, technology and teaching (and meet teachers from around the world). Set aside a couple of hours this weekend and start doing some research and experimenting at home with apps – you’ll be amazed at what you find.

3. Set engaging practice goals using technology

While many of your teens may have no issue with motivating themselves to practice, there will always be some in your studio who would benefit from a boost. Here are some great practice motivator apps:

  • Scale Blitzer, an Australian app, is one of the best apps for encouraging students to practice scales. Set students some scales to work on and the app will do the motivating for you! It even has an international leader-board of top scores – great for those with a competitive edge.
  • MusicFlashClass is a great app for note recognition. I often ask students to spend 10 minutes on this a day while they are learning the notes on the stave. Both have competitive settings with time limits and count-downs that are great for teens. PianoNotesPro allows students to do the same thing using their MIDI keyboards. It even has a setting that allows students to practice chord inversions, not just notes.
  • Motivating exam students to practice their aural skills can be like pulling teeth! To encourage them, try using one of the following apps: ABRSM, AuralBook, Auralia.

Tim’s Tip: If you have students preparing for exams, trial one of the aural or sight-reading apps and show students how to practice with them at home this week. If you have teens learning to read music, allocate them some time on MusicFlashClass or PianoNotesPro every day at home.

Conclusion

I hope you’ve enjoyed this series about motivating teenagers in your studio. They can be such a fun bunch of students to teach and so rewarding when you connect effectively and can make a real difference in their lives.

While sometimes challenging, I get enormous pleasure from inspiring children to play the piano. I remember how much I enjoyed learning music through high school, the kudos I received as a piano player from my peers and the pride expressed by my parents and family. To be able to give that same gift to another young person is priceless.

For even more teaching tips and ideas, make sure you head to my website. Also, don’t forget to get a copy of my free Teen Teaching Toolkit while you’re there.

Good luck and please get in touch with me if you have any questions.

Bio

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Best known for his blog at timtopham.com where he has been sharing teaching resources, tips and repertoire ideas with piano teachers and students since 2011, Tim Topham is also a well-respected presenter, performer and accompanist. Tim is Head of Keyboard at Xavier College and has also taught in Western Australia, Tasmania and the United Kingdom. Tim holds an MBA in Educational Leadership, a Bachelor of Music, Diploma of Education and AMusA (Distinction). He has worked in education as a classroom teacher, private studio teacher, head of department and head of campus. His new eBook: Teen Teaching Toolkit may be downloaded from his website: timtopham.com

Tech Tuesday: Plickers

Have you heard of Clickers? How about Plickers?

A clicker system is where students can answer questions or vote on something in an interactive way. (Think game shows such as “If you want to be a millionaire” when they ask the audience to submit their answer) If you have seen clicker systems like these:

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You will know or very quickly find out that they can be very expensive. Not to mention where to store your clicker system? But the idea is pretty cool and has great potential to use in a group class setting.

In comes Plicker.com. They have created a simplified and FREE system. All the teacher needs to do is simply download the free app (iOS or Android) and print off the free paper clickers (barcodes). When the teacher asks a question. The students hold up their paper clicker to their answer and the teacher quickly scans them in. Then everyone will be able to view a real time graph of those answers.

Here is a helpful video that gives you a good idea how it all works.

I am planning on using Plickers at group lessons in a couple weeks. I will write a follow up post on how it went! I’m super excited for this resource!

Tech Tuesday: NotateMe and NotateMe Now app

It’s been a while since I’ve blogged about an iOS app and one that I have been wanting to write about is NotateMe.

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If you aren’t familiar with NotateMe, it is a composition app that recognizes handwriting and will put it in computer notation form. The thing that I like about this particularly app is that it gives students practice on how notation is written. Currently NotateMe is $21.99. As the app improves, the price goes up. (Right now it says that it is 25% off for a limited time.)

Now the good news, if you want to simply use this app as a practice tool for students in drawing notation and learning basic melody composition, there is a free version called NotateMe Now. The main difference between the two is the free version only includes a single stave.

I wanted to share some wonderful video resources created by Christopher Russell “choirboy” over at the Technology in Music Education blog. He put together four video lessons for his students to help them when they start composing and using NotateMe Now. I was thrilled to see these video’s because it is a perfect tool to have students view during lab time or at home. In addition he has included PDF’s which include the guide for the theory that is being taught in the lesson, the assignments, and the checklist for the assignment.

Here are the links where you can easily find them.

#1 Using NotateMe Now

#2 NotateMe Now Lesson

#3 and 4 Final Lessons and Thoughts

So if you don’t want to spend money for NotateMe, at the very least check out NotateMe Now. (Just remember the paid version’s price will continue to go up in the meantime)

 

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