Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Using Tune Train App in Piano Lessons

I stumbled upon a fun free app this week that is engaging both my 6 and 10 year old in some fun composing adventures.  It is simple enough for even my 4 year old to enjoy.  Tune Train allows even young children to "play" with music composing in an engaging and intuitive way.   Using some preset familiar chord progression templates cleverly couched in different lands such as "Little Lamb Lane" and "Winter Time"  even young children can create pleasing melodies and then select a backing track that suits them.

The elements of Pitch (houses), Rhythm(space between houses), Chords (houses connected to trees), Syncopation (houses unattached to trees) and Accompaniment styles (Classical, Hip Hop, Rock, etc.) are presented in a visually appealing way in this app.
Pitch - As students drag their finger from house to house (note to note) they can choose to go high or low to represent the pitch of the notes they want in their melody similar to clicking on a music staff.  The options are limited to notes that fit within that particular chord tree so the results of the song are appealing to the ear.
Rhythm  - If you leave more space between the notes you click the duration of the notes is longer.
Chords - Each chord tree has a distinctive look (apple trees for I chord, Red Balloon trees for V chord, etc.).
Accompaniment Styles - After notation their song, students can choose a background track they prefer and even young children become familiar with the distinctly different styles of music - Latin, Classical, Rock, etc.

Following are a few ideas I came up with some fun possibilities of how to utilize this during piano lessons once we move and I build up a studio in Rexburg.

Melodic Dictation Practice - Some of the world's in Tune Train match familiar tunes allowing a student to try and accurately dictate "Mary had a Little Lamb" in Little Lamb Lane or "Jingle Bells" in Winter Time.

Theme and Variation - After the student or teacher dictates a familiar song, they could create their own variation.  The option to see the notes on the staff would allow them to even write out their creations on staff paper or a dictation program like Finale or MuseScore during lab time so they can take it home to play on the piano!

Chord Progression Challenge (For Older Students) - Identify the pattern of chord trees used in each World.  Compose a melody and then play the underlying chord progressions on the piano to go along with it.

I like how the app provides  some natural parameters for composition so children can enjoy creating their own pleasing melodies with just the touch of finger.

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