Introducing Practice Space: My Favorite Tech Tool For Teaching Piano
Send lesson notes digitally, share resources with students, track practice times, and incentivize practicing with this simple affordable Practice Space app.
When the pandemic initially hit, I must admit I had reservations about online piano teaching and its effectiveness. However, fast forward 3.5 years, and I can emphatically affirm that it not only works but has also enriched the learning experience in ways I hadn't anticipated.
In many ways, the pandemic caused me to rethink the tools I used to teach piano, bringing me into the digital age. Moving my studio online I faced three challenges:
Creating an online experience that felt as if I was still sitting next to my student.
Sharing lesson notes effectively.
Collecting tuition payments.
Throughout this journey, I’ve gathered several tech tools that have helped me solve these problems.
Zoom offers quality video calls that can adapt to the demands of music lessons.
The WaveApp allows me to create simple, yet beautiful invoices and receipts that easily track my income and expenses.
Flodesk helps me create stunningly clean newsletters and email communications with my students.
The Google Suite of products allows me to stay organized through Google Docs, Google Sheets, and Google Forms.
With all these tools, one stands out as my absolute favorite tech tool for teaching piano: the Practice Space App.
Here are the benefits of using Practice Space in my studio:
Efficient Assignment Sharing
Practice Space provides an incredibly efficient way to share lesson assignments with students over a virtual platform. During lessons, I can type out detailed instructions directly into the app, and at the lesson's end, I simply hit 'publish.' The lesson assignments are instantaneously delivered to the student. Easy peasy!
As the teacher, I can curate an extensive library of resources within the app. From teacher duets for elementary lesson books to frequently used reference documents, images of composers, sheet music copies, and YouTube links, it's all there. This resource bank saves me valuable time searching for resources. Even better, I can attach these resources directly to specific tasks in the student’s weekly lesson assignments. The tagging feature allows me to organize and easily access all uploaded resources. When the student opens up the app, they can click on the attachments and go directly to the resource. Brilliant!
Tip: Create a studio-wide assignment or announcement by creating an assignment with any links directly inside the resource library. Then that assignment to each student’s lesson assignment. I am using this feature to run my biannual Practice Challenges and monthly Meet The Masters music history and music appreciation programs.
The app also empowers me to create custom videos for my students. If a student has a query about playing a particular passage or needs me to explain something again so they can revisit a concept between lessons, I can craft a video within the app and send it directly to their lesson notes. I’ve taken advantage of this feature for students who learn best by ear or when we’ve run out of time in a lesson to explain a concept. This feature enables me to support my students in between lessons.
Gamification of Practice
The app ingeniously gamifies the art of practicing for my students. Drawing inspiration from popular apps like Duolingo, it introduces elements of practice tracking, goal completion, and inter-studio competition. Students earn gems and points by diligently practicing their assignments, reaching their practice goals, and even practicing beyond their personalized practice goals. The element of competition, complete with a coveted leaderboard, motivates them to excel. The brilliance lies in the equality of points earned; whether a student aims for 10 minutes or 60 minutes of practice, both can earn a comparable 100 points. The drive to reach the head of the leaderboard is appealing to several of my students. This feature allows appeals to my adult students. (There’s just something about seeing that practice streak number increase!)
Students can record videos of their playing and share them with me mid-week. As a teacher, I receive a notification when a student has uploaded a video. I can then comment on their videos to encourage them, inspire them, or point out any corrections that need to be made. Students can even use the video recording to ask me any questions they might have during the week. This tool has been a fantastic way to stay in touch with my students mid-week.
Tailor-Made Studio Rewards
PracticeSpace has rewards and certificates built into the program when students practice longer than their goals or achieve practice streaks. The beauty of the app is that I can design my own challenges and create a studio store with inventory personalized for my studio.
Flexible Practice Goals
Students have the flexibility to select their own practice goals, whether it's 10 minutes, 20 minutes, or more. As the teacher, I can also set practice goals to ensure they remain motivated and challenged. Sometimes, setting a lower goal can be more effective, preventing students from feeling overwhelmed and ensuring a positive practice mindset.
Built In Metronome
The app includes a built-in metronome for students practicing through the app. To use, all the student has to do is log into their account, click on the metronome graphic, and get practicing!
Ample Notes and Privacy
The app offers ample space to write and keep notes. Each lesson assignment has an entire page dedicated to general notes, where I can share announcements and overall guidance. Within each lesson assignment, there is additional space to write notes. Moreover, the app provides a secure area where the teacher can keep private notes. I use this feature to keep essential details about students, including their age, grade, contact information, extracurricular activities, specific goals, and even personal details like the name of their beloved pet.
What's even more impressive is that this powerful tool comes at a remarkably affordable price for a teacher on a small budget. Even better, it is free to my students! It has truly become an essential and cost-effective component of my teaching methodology.
Practice Space Can Be Your Favorite Tech Tool For Teaching Piano
Before integrating the Practice Space app into my teaching methodology approximately a year ago, I relied heavily on Google Docs. While effective to an extent, it couldn't match the capabilities and seamless integration of the app. Now, I can effortlessly send Spotify playlists, Google Forms, custom-made videos, YouTube links, images, sheet music, and even series assignments, making the learning journey incredibly rich and dynamic for my students.
If you're looking for an app that will help streamline your lesson assignments for yourself and for your students and allow your students to have easy touch points with you throughout the week, the practice space app is your go-to app!
The company provides free demos of its software and has a supportive Facebook community in which you can ask all your questions, make suggestions for the app, and find like-minded teachers who are using technology to support their students.
If you're on the search for a piano teacher who implements technology and their studio, I would be honored to have a conversation with you about how I can help you (or your child) reach their musical goals.
The process is simple:
1. Schedule a call to talk about your goals.
2. Select a lesson time.
3. Take your first lesson!