Clavier Companion - July/August 2017 - 75
Students repeated the timed drills until they
received 100%. This activity was even more fun in a
group setting where students took turns entering
the answers, and tried to beat their score and time
from the previous round.
To determine who played first at a group
performance class, I customized a Decide Now
wheel with interval names such as Perfect Fourth,
Major Seventh, etc. Performers spun the wheel, and
the one who landed on the smallest interval played
first. Prior to performing, the pianist played the
interval, and the audience listened and confirmed
that the interval was correct. The performer
then played -by ear-a tune
associated with the interval.
For example, "Here Comes the
Bride" begins with the interval
of a perfect fourth. Prior to the
group class, students memorized
tunes for each interval by reading
Intervals, that I created in Book
Creator, an app for generating
interactive ebooks. While the
pianist performed, the audience
listened and drew the interval on
dry-erase staff cards.
To prepare further, students
completed hard-copy practice
tests. They also revisited their
first tests taken in Notability.
Students were thrilled to see
that they knew much more than
when they took their tests the
All students passed their
tests-98% was the lowest grade.
Test taking measures how the
learning process is going. Test
taking also demonstrates the
ability to regurgitate correct
me that young musicians go
beyond the facts and learn how
to measure intervals, know why G major needs
an F#, and understand the need for ledger lines.
This comes from introduction and reinforcement
at the keyboard, analysis of repertoire, and
encouragement to be creative with each concept.
These apps and activities guarantee good test
results, but cannot substitute for well-balanced
and comprehensive instruction.
Leila Viss, M.A., owns a piano studio near Denver,
Colorado. She blogs at 88pianokeys.me and
authored The iPad Piano Studio: Keys to Unlocking
the Power of Apps. She is a full-time organist and
the co-founder of 88 Creative Keys with Bradley