Category Archives: Music Software

Let’s Get Digital: A Piano Lesson for Piano Teachers

digital-pianos-with-bluetooth

Music Education now includes smart phones, tablets and digital equipment.

Technology is as familiar to today’s piano students as the unique arrangement of black and white keys is to pianists. In fact, studies show that digital pianos are outselling their acoustic (upright) cousins at a rate of six-to-one Worldwide. That means that more and more piano students are beginning their journey with technology and – as a “cool” piano teacher – it’s critical that you speak that language well!

You know that technology can help you and your students, but where do you begin? Digital pianos, tablets, MIDI files, apps – there are many options, but how do you find the best solution for you?

Roland's Laura Zaruta is a piano educator and clinician.

Roland’s Laura Zaruta is a piano educator and clinician.

Join us for a hands-on practice session where we all become students again! Sit at a piano with your tablet and smart phone, and experience a lesson from the perspective of a modern piano student. Watch how fun and productive technology can be as we work through a basic lesson plan together. You’ll see the real-life applications for many of these simple technologies and you’re guaranteed to find at least a few things that are perfect for your studio.

Don’t miss this interactive workshop with Piano Educator, Roland Clinician and Lifetime Student, Laura Zaruta. Admission for this program is free, but since everyone will be at a piano we ask that you RSVP to Heather Hamilton by Saturday, February 27.

Let’s get digital together! See you there!

Louisville:  “Leap Day” Monday, February 29, 2016 (10am – 1pm)
Lexington:  Tuesday, March 1, 2016 (10am – 1pm)

Gist will serve a light lunch following the workshop.

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Technology in Teaching – A Workshop for Piano Teachers

Ellen Gonzales from Roland Digital Pianos

Ellen Gonzales from Roland is a noted educator, clinician and technology specialist who travels around the Nation helping teachers and universities integrate technology into their studios and classrooms.

In our last blog, you learned about a new lineup of Roland Digital Pianos that use Bluetooth technology instead of WIFI because of it’s ease and increased reliability.  Now, due in part to this major technological change, educators are able to access an entire WORLD of musical learning apps to aid in learning.  These apps will help you attract new students, build enthusiasm for different types of music and help you better control your students’ at-home practice.  You won’t believe the difference they can make!

In this followup session, Ellen Gonzales from Roland will demonstrate a host of apps that help you hone in on specific challenges your students face.  You’ll learn about apps that include play-a-long material for better musicality, apps that can provide you with practice reports and help you see what is going on at home, and apps that can help your students develop a love for scales!  Better yet, it’s EASY and most of the apps are FREE!

Bring your tablet to Gist Piano Center Lexington on Wednesday, November 11, and you will learn everything you need to know about these new technologies and about how they can change your students’ lives.  FREE Sessions begin at 11am and 3pm.  Gist will service some light refreshments so you can enjoy learning!

Roland Digital Piano with Bluetooth

Roland’s new line of HP and LX digital pianos now feature Bluetooth technology, a hybrid action, modeled piano sound and a 10-Year Parts and Labor Warranty.

If you live in Louisville, bring your tablet to Gist Piano Center Louisville on Thursday,

November 12 and we’ll load you up with great information and PROVEN teaching tips!  This FREE session begins at 10am.  Enjoy some light refreshments with us afterwards!

We’re still getting cards and emails from teachers who attended our last event.  If you came last time, come again and learn even more.  If not, DO NOT MISS this life-changing workshop!  We’ll see you there!

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Chocolate Party and Roland Announcement!

Open to the Public

Roland Digital PianoYou’re invited to join us for a MAJOR Music Industry announcement from Legendary Piano Builder, Roland Corporation.  A Roland representative will be onhand to announce how Roland is partnering with other industry legends, including Hal-Leonard, Alfred, Sheet Music Direct and more to change everything we know about the Piano Industry.  You won’t want to miss this historic event!

Chocolate PartyTo celebrate this announcement, Gist Piano Center and Roland are joining forces with famous Louisville-based chocolatier, Cellar Door Chocolates, who will setup a full chocolate buffet – FREE for event attendees!  Gist Piano Center will also offer champagne and sodas to age-appropriate guests throughout the evening.

Finally, Gist Piano Center will introduce the all-new FastTrack program and demonstrate some exciting new things coming to Kentucky this Fall!  Here are the dates and times:

  • Monday, October 12:  6-8pm (Louisville):  Roland Launch Event (Open to Public)
  • Tuesday, October 13:  10am-Noon (Lexington):  Piano Teacher’s Event with Roland
  • Tuesday, October 13:  6-8pm (Lexington):  Roland Launch Event (Open to Public)
  • Wednesday, October 14:  10am – Noon (Louisville):  Piano Teacher’s Event with Roland

Piano Teachers

Join us for an unforgettable session JUST for you on Tuesday, October 13 (10am – Noon) in Lexington and Wednesday, October 14 (10am – Noon) in Louisville.  Piano Educator, Clinician and Roland Education Consultant, Laura Zaruta, will be here to show you how this new announcement from Roland, Hal-Leonard, Alfred and Sheet Music Direct can change the way you teach!  You’ll learn about incredible new apps, exciting technologies, our new FastTrack program and more!  This meeting will thrill you to the core!  Don’t be left behind.  Make time to be here and see how “This changes EVERYTHING!”

Roland LX-7 Digital PianoAlso, bring your smart phone and tablet.  We’ll be suggesting a TON of new music apps that will make your life easier and we’ll even help you see how EASY some of this new stuff is to use!

RSVP to Heather Hamilton (for the Lexington meeting) or James Harding (for the Louisville one).

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The Evolution of Theory

I often tell prospective music students that music is a two-part discipline. To truly become proficient at any instrument, music students not only have to develop the athletic skills associated with playing that instrument (finger independence and strength, breathing and proper posture to name a few), but they also have to understand the language of music (how to read, write and even think in musical notation). This musical language – called “Music Theory” by teachers – is an ever-expanding library of “rules” and “best-practices” that our musical history has given us and it forms the foundation for every student’s understanding of music as a whole. Thus, it’s critical that we find a way to motivate the Video Game Generation to study Music Theory with some of the same enthusiasm they bring to their Xbox.

In the Age of Instant Gratification, it seems harder and harder to keep a music student’s attention. Also, as music is removed for our schools, private music teachers find that they have less and less time in their 30-minute lessons to cover basic concepts that used to be “common knowledge” to beginning students. …so how do we find time in only 30 minutes a week to help our students unlock the power of the musical language? (Imagine trying to study Latin in only 30 minutes a week!)

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What is MIDI?

Just like people, computers are capable of speaking to each other in different languages.  MIDI (short for Musical Instrument Digital Interface) is one of those languages.  …and, like all languages, MIDI has a number of different variations.

MIDI Isn’t Audio
In short, MIDI is “word processing” for music.  Consider the following analogy:  You live across town, but you want to say “Hello” to me.  So, using our common language, you type “Hello” in an email and send it to me.  I open my email and hold my ear up to it.  It doesn’t make any sound.  …but if I read it, interpret our common language and say “Hello,” I can hear what you wrote!  MIDI works the same way.  The first MIDI device is you.  The second is me.  The MIDI file is the email.  It doesn’t contain sound (just like the email didn’t), but it does contain the necessary instructions for me to make a sound.  My voice and yours won’t sound exactly the same, but it will be very close – and I can choose to speed up, slow down or raise/lower the pitch of my voice.

What MIDI Does
In short, MIDI allows certain electronic devices to communicate with each other.  Here are a few of the benefits:

  • It helps your computer play music
  • It allows performers to use one instrument to control a whole bunch of other instruments
  • It lets musicians create fantastic layered musical textures
  • It gives players the freedom to edit music and print out the results
  • It gives players the freedom to mute some parts and play along with others

Commonly used in video games, computer programs and digital music instruments, MIDI is a powerful and flexible language that helps musicians create, edit and enjoy music.  You’ve probably been using MIDI for years without knowing it.  Now, you can harness the power of MIDI to make your piano lessons even more fun.

For more information on MIDI files, Ask Heather!

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