Jennifer Foxx is a pioneer in the field of teaching piano with technology. I continue to learn new things, gather savvy tips and accumulate more apps thanks to her enlightening app reviews and iOS app list. She definitely qualifies as an iPad piano teacher and Jennifer was kind enough to share her studio “secrets!” Check out my book The iPad Piano Studio which features other fellow iPad piano teachers.
Learn more about Jennifer…
Jennifer has over 15 years of experience in speaking and enjoys giving presentations to fellow music teachers, sharing with them her teaching ideas and practices on topics such as technology, practicing, motivational programs, group lessons and summer music camps. Jennifer has taught piano lessons for over 25 years and is nationally recognized from her teacher resource blog: FPSResources.com.
and her studio
When students attend Foxx Piano Studio, they are getting a music education experience. Foxx Piano Studio includes tech time, group lessons, camps and performance events.
Jennifer, how long have you integrated the iPad into your teaching?
I started integrating the iPad in my teaching when the iPad 2 came out. It wasn’t until I saw an ad from sheet music direct that I could read music from my iPad that I really even wanted an iPad. Before that, I just looked at the iPad like a big iPhone. I didn’t understand what the big deal was. Once I bought my first iPad there was no going back as I quickly realized the exciting possibilities that could benefit my students.
Did you use various technology tools before the iPad? If so, please explain.
Yes, for most of my teaching years I have had a tech lab using computers and keyboards connected to the computer.
Do you use the iPad in your group lessons? If so, please briefly explain which apps are used and how.
Yes, actually most apps can be adapted to use with group lessons especially if you have a projector. Just hook the iPad up to the projector and the possibilities are up to you! A couple favorites is the hot potato game from the Music Flash Class app and creating an iBand. I have been wanting to do the iBand again and after watching Susan Oglivy and Dennis Maurcio’s presentation at MusicEdConnect.com I was re-motivated to make it a priority and I plan on doing that this summer in a summer camp workshop.
How has the iPad changed your daily lesson instruction?
I have found that I am using the iPad much more than my computer during tech time. Matter of fact, one of my computers in the lab is dying (I have 2) and I’m not terribly sad about it. I don’t plan on replacing it. I have two iPads and an iPad mini. One of the iPads is for me to use during the lesson. This is where I type in lesson notes and occasionally use apps during lesson time if I see a need. The other two iPads are in the lab room. The iPad has become a must-have studio tool.
How do you structure time for students to work on iPad app assignments?
Students go to tech time 15-30 minutes before or after their lesson.
When and how do you plan lab assignments?
Each week or month I usually have a themed focus. For example rhythm might be the theme and I might have 2-3 apps that I want them to work on. When finished, students keep track of scores, etc… in an app called PDF Expert where I have exported an iPad assignment log sheet.
How do students learn what their assignment is for the day?
I move the apps of the week to the bottom of the iPad so it’s right there ready and waiting. If further explanation is needed, I will write it on the whiteboard.
Do you use the iPad to help you manage your studio business? If so please explain how.
Yes, right now I use MusicTeachersHelper which is both online and an app. But there are many great app resources like Moosic Studio and BobClass that help make managing the studio so easy!
What are your top 5 go-to apps that are used the most in your teaching and lab time and why?
- Piano Maestro is my #1. We use this one almost every week. Not only is it great for sight-reading, learning pieces but it is a great resource for technique exercises. Scales are now fun with Piano Maestro!
- Sproutbeat is another app I use often in the studio. It is chock full of great theory sheets!
- I love using a scanner app (I personally use TurboScan) for keeping track of borrowed music.
- Sounds funny to include this in my top 5 but I use Pages a lot just as a word processor go to app.
- And in the top 5 would also be just the basic camera and/or voice recorder apps. Recording either visually or audibly comes in very handy during lessons. Super quick to just shoot it off in an email.
Do you feel your students develop stronger skills thanks to using technology/apps? If so, how?
Yes, mostly because additional reinforcement is never a bad thing.
Complete this sentence: I wish there was an app for…
Music Ace and other popular software programs. The closest I have come to it is Music Theory for Beginners. I would love to see an app for Groovy Music or something similar to it as well.
What percentage of your students own an iPad, iDevice or smart phone?
I would say most of my students own one or the other. The only sad fact is about 50% have access to an iPad. I wish 100% did at home mostly because they can do Piano Maestro at home.
Do you assign app exercises for students to complete at home?
I do assign home challenges for students who have Piano Maestro at home.
Is there one app that seems to be a studio favorite?
Top 3 student favorites:
Thank you, Jennifer, for sharing a sneak peek into your iPad piano studio and for your ongoing efforts at your blog. Please check out Jennifer’s well-stocked store of savvy teacher resources by clicking here or on the photo below.