Category Archives: Ask James

Why You Shouldn’t Buy Your Child a Portable Keyboard for Christmas

Do not buy a portable keyboardI’ve seen it time and time again – cautious, yet well-meaning, parents purchasing portable keyboards to see if their student is going to “stick with” piano lessons.  …and I can understand why.  Pianos (and piano lessons) are expensive.  Nobody wants to invest thousands of dollars into a fleeting fancy.  Most parents are willing to support their child’s musical hobby as long as they have some indication that their child seriously wants to play.

That is where most parents go wrong.

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Top 5 Bluetooth APPS for Your Digital Piano

Best Bluetooth Apps for Digital PianosIn 2009, Apple informed that World that – no matter what we want to do – “There’s an app for that.”  …and never has that slogan rang more true than today.  It would seem that nearly every business has its own app.  Almost every product has it’s own accompanying software.  Kids can even scan their Happy Meal toys and incorporate them into custom-made software.  There’s an app for everything!

Especially since Bluetooth technology has simplified and stabilized the connections between devices, the trick now is to find the BEST app for your particular… APPlication.

Here’s a list of the Top FIVE Bluetooth Apps for your Digital Piano:

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The Perfect Church Piano

A Church PianoIf you’ve been following our blog, you’ve probably noticed that this topic comes up from time to time.  …and while I’ve tried to recommend a number of digital instruments over the years, some of you have brought it to my attention that I’ve never discussed an ideal acoustic piano for your church.  As usual, different folks have different opinions, but I’ve been a worship leader for almost 15 years and I’ve been in the piano business for even longer than that.  Hopefully, my combined experience will help you cut through the sales hype and find the perfect worship piano for your church.

As always, please feel free to comment below if you have any thoughts or questions.  I take the time to respond to everyone.

God bless!

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The Ultimate Worship Keyboard or Digital Piano

worship keyboard

In January of 2011, I wrote a blog called “Finding the Ultimate Worship Keyboard” hoping that my experience as both a worship leader and a professional piano consultant would help other Music Ministers better navigate the confusing waters of piano (and keyboard) retail.  To my surprise, that blog quickly exploded into the most read – and one of the most commented upon – blogs in Gist history.  Now, over six years later, new technologies and considerations have given me reason to revisit this topic and (perhaps) expand upon it.  As always, it is my sincere hope that my experiences will help you find the worship tool that best fits your needs and those of your ministry.  I am sure some folks will disagree with my conclusions, but (God willing) the meat of these discussions will nourish all of us!  Thank you for reading and God bless!

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New App Makes Roland Digital Pianos Even Better

Roland Piano Partner 2 App

Roland’s FREE “Piano Partner” app is available now for iOS and Android devices.  Click photo for details.

Last weekend, Roland introduced the highly-anticipated sequel to their wildly popular “Piano Partner” app:  Piano Partner 2… and we couldn’t love it more.

Unlike the original Piano Partner, Piano Partner 2 is available for BOTH iOS devices (like the iPad) and Android devices.  Also, unlike the previous app, Piano Partner 2 connects to the piano wirelessly via Bluetooth (instead of the quirky and less reliable WIFI technology featured in the previous app).  These two upgrades alone would be praise-worthy, but the biggest news is what the new app does!  Like Piano Partner, Piano Partner 2 allows compatible Roland Digital Piano Owners to change the sounds on their piano or play on-board songs with a simple pp2-rhythmstouch of the tablet screen.  Users can adjust the playback speed, mute one or both hands, and play along with metronome or customized accompaniment.  Also like the previous app, Piano Partner 2 includes a powerful flashcards game that challenges the player with either note recognition or ear training skills at a variety of experience levels.  NEW to Piano Partner 2, however, is the Rhythms feature.  With Rhythms, Piano Partner 2 users can build their piano skills with intelligent accompaniments that follow the chords you play.

…and the best part?  Piano Partner 2 is FREE.

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