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Musical Education

Topic: Musical Education

Do Smartphone Violin Apps Really Help Kids Learn?

Posted by Revelle Team on Oct 13, 2015

Do Smartphone Violin Apps Really Help Kids Learn? http://www.connollymusic.com/revelle/blog/do-smartphone-violin-apps-really-help-kids-learn @revellestringsWith all of the wonderful ways Smartphones have made life easier, it’s simple to understand that apps are a powerful tool that allows you to better organize and execute your daily responsibilities. Coupon apps help save money on groceries, sports and social media apps keep you updated on important events and game apps help fill leisure hours. But, many people wonder about so-called “learning” apps. Can they really make learning instruction easier?

Specifically, what about violin apps? Can those really help kids learn how to play an instrument as challenging as the violin? The honest answer is: Absolutely!… but, it depends. While there are some exceptional violin apps available, when asking whether or not it can actually help your child or student learn violin techniques, the answer is really influenced by the specific app and specific student.

For a violin app to be truly beneficial for a student, it needs to engage that particular individual and supply tools that will encourage practice and mastery of the violin. Sure, it’s fun to play a simulated violin with approximate fingering positions, but in the long run, that will just make the student a master of the violin app, not the instrument. So, for a Violin app to actually help kids learn, it must include fun ways to address areas the student struggles with, while simultaneously inspiring a desire to practice. Because ultimately, practicing playing techniques on the real insrtument is the best possible way to learn.

Since Smartphone learning apps for the violin are available in all sorts of shapes, sizes, and levels, and because learning progresses differently for each person, it’s easier to explain the features to look for in a great violin app rather than point out those that won’t produce any real benefit. These guidelines can help you select apps that can help kids learn to play by stimulating their natural desire to practice.

1. Identify an area that needs improvement.

First, you’ll need to pinpoint the area(s) that your student is struggling to master. Does your child need a better grasp of rhythm? Is notation proving a challenge? Apps that feature active participation for responses, grade performance, and visually engage students are effective in teaching the type of memorization required for these skills.

There are also many, very effective apps available for tuning, playing and developing intonation. Metronome apps are an essential practice tool for advancing students, but they can also help beginners learn to regulate tempo.

2. Look for an app that will challenge students to actually practice.

Parents and teachers can search around to locate tablet-based apps that include touch response fingering. By creating muscle memory in the fingers through actual-size graphics, apps can enhance the learning process through repetition, which is very beneficial for mastering any skill. Plus, students will naturally want to compare their performance by playing their real violin.

Apps should also feature age appropriate music to try based on tablature and basic notation. This will help familiarize students with reading music and reinforce the skills being learned.

3. Build a reward system that celebrates achievements.

Teachers can give extra credit for points earned, while parents may offer other incentives like a chore exemption or special privilege. The main requirement for earning the reward should be mandatory improvement on both the app and the violin. The idea is to use a technology based tool to improve student performance on the real violin.

Although it's fairly easy to search around on Google Play or the iTunes app store, you can simplify your search by using the knowledge already gained by other users. Both the Android Authority and iPhone App Review sites allow you to search for the most productive smartphone violin apps available. Other consumer sites like Common Sense Media review apps according to age appropriate content and PC Mag contains information on the most popular apps for a variety of operating systems.

So, if you’ve been wondering if Smartphone violin apps really help kids learn, the answer really depends on the circumstance. If it’s used to encourage practice or support areas that are proving difficult to master for the student, yes. Since many downloadable apps that teach violin basics are free, try a few. You may be pleasantly surprised by their effectiveness.

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