Category Archives: Reviews

Roland’s Piano Partner 2 Gets an Upgrade!

Roland Piano Partner 2 FREE App BluetoothIf you own a Roland Digital Piano with Bluetooth, you’ll be happy to know that you’ve just gotten a FREE upgrade – courtesy of Roland!  All you have to do is update your piano’s firmware and download the update for Piano Partner 2!  It’s easy and it gives you a TON of great new features!

Haven’t tried Roland’s famous Piano Partner 2 APP yet?  Well, now is definitely the time to download it and give it a shot!  It’s FREE and packed FULL of features that will make playing your Roland piano faster, more educational and more fun!

Here’s what’s new with Piano Partner 2 (Version 2):

  • New Remote Controller – allows you to choose sounds, set split points, change balances, transpose, and more from a simple, graphical interface.
  • New Recorder – allows you to record yourself (or your students) and play that recording back WIRELESSLY!  No extra equipment required!
  • New Practice Diary – allows you to keep track of how long you played, how many keys you pushed – and more!  It’s never been easier to regulate your “at home” piano time!
  • Updated Rhythms – allows you to practice with an orchestrated accompaniment OR a plain drum rhythm with just the touch of a button!
  • Updated Songs – adds “Next” and “Previous” song buttons for easy access to your onboard library.  You can even use shuffle or continuous play with an Apple Watch!

Roland Piano Partner 2 (Version 2) is a FREE app for Bluetooth pianos and it’s available now.  Here’s how you can upgrade and start enjoying all the new features:

  1. Upgrade your piano’s firmware.  Click here for video Instructions.
  2. Make sure you are using Roland Piano Partner 2 (Version 2) on your tablet.  If you have downloaded Piano Partner 2 before, you will need to update it.  If not, you can click here to download it.
  3. Once your piano and app are both updated, you need only pair your tablet to your piano with Bluetooth.  Click here for video instructions.
  4. Enjoy all the FREE new features from Roland!
Roland’s Piano Partner 2 Bluetooth app is compatible with iPhone, iPad, and Apple Watch, as well as Android devices.  Compatible Pianos: GP607, LX-17, LX-7, HP-605, HP-603A, HP-603, HP-601, RP-501R, RP-302, RP-102, F-140R, FP-90, FP-60, FP-30.
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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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Faber and Alfred Supplemental Materials Top the List at Gist

As a music educator for over 17 years, including running my own piano studio, I have often been up to my shoulders in music books. But, until recently, I never realized how many options there were for supplemental piano materials (outside of traditional method books).

We recently conducted a Materials Questionnaire among our piano teachers, both local and in-house, and were quite surprised at the results. This was especially true when it came to supplemental piano books and supplemental series.

One of the supplemental series that was highly rated – and is a personal favorite of mine – is Alfred’s Famous and Fun Collection. For each level, the series contains genres like pop, rock, classics, Christmas music, Jewish songs, and duets.

These colorful books give students a little extra enthusiasm to practice. Many of the books include songs that students have previously heard and the arrangements are entertaining and easy to learn. As an added bonus, the duet parts fit well with each piece and are fun to play. These books work nicely for both young students and adults.

Another popular supplemental series for both young students and adults is the Faber Pre-Time through Big-Time collection. Like the Famous and Fun books, the Faber series also includes books focused on pop, favorites, classics, jazz and blues, rock, hymns, Christmas music, and ragtime/marches.

These books are delightful as supplemental materials, especially if a student is already playing in the Faber Piano Adventures series. The books include a wide variety of songs with simple and enjoyable arrangements. For more variety, Faber also has the Faber Studio Collection which includes pieces from all the genres for each level.

Are you interested in more traditional supplemental material? A few classical books that topped the list were Hanon, Melodious Masterpieces, Classics for the Developing Pianist, Journey Through the Classics, specific composers like Bach and Debussy, and specific compositions such as sonatinas and inventions.

Whatever your supplemental materials preference, there is lots to choose from. And remember, if we don’t have it in the store, we can order it for you. You can also go to Gist’s website and Order Piano Takeout.

Best of luck in your material exploration!

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