If you have an iPhone, iPod Touch, or iPad, there is an excellent app available to help students learn note names, Flashnote Derby. After using it for quite a while now, I have decided this is the perfect iPhone or iPad game for piano teachers because it is easy to set up and play and my students love it. Plus, it really works, and makes drilling notes a lot more fun.
Screenshots used with permission
In order to play the game, select the notes you want to work on. You can select one note, or up to 34 notes, shown above. The notes are fun to select. Just touch the notes you want to use and they change color as they are selected. Touch the “gear” icon and you can select how many flash cards you want to use in your game, and the speed they will be shown. Touch the “thumbs up” icon and the race begins. As 2 horses race across the screen, one flash card at a time is shown above the horses. Students select the name of the note at the bottom of the screen. At the end of the game there is an opportunity to review the missed notes. If the student gets enough correct answers, he wins.
For my beginning students I select 2 notes, usually middle C and G, and 10 questions, at the slowest speed. Beginners always win a game this easy and this give them the confidence to want to play more. I add more notes gradually over a period of weeks, often corresponding to the notes they are learning in their method book. It is very easy to change the level of difficulty for the next student.
The horse racing sound track can get annoying, so I often turn the sound off on my device. I wish there was a way to turn off the sound in the game. I also would like a way to start over if I make a mistake when I first select the settings. [Ed:There is a way to start over. I am embarrassed I didn’t know it! This is from Luke Bartolomeo, the developer:
I just wanted to mention that there is a way to stop a race in the middle if you find that you used the wrong settings, or have made the drill to difficult or too easy for a student. Once the race has started, tap the screen on either side of the actual flashcard, but not on the flashcard itself. A red X will appear in the upper left portion of the screen. Tap the X and the drill will immediately stop and return you to the settings screen.
Thanks so much, Luke for clearing this up.]
Flash Note Derby was designed by a music teacher and I think that is why I find it so successful in my studio. The developer emailed me recently with news of an update that features a dozen instructional video lessons about the grand staff, as well as a way for teachers to create custom drills for their students and send them to students by email.
This app works on the iPhone 3 and 4, iPod touch, and iPad. It seems like every student I teach now has at least one of those in the family.
This app is only $.99 in the Apple iTunes store, and at that price it is a real bargain.
You can read more about it at the website: http//www.FlashnoteDerbyApp.com