4 Ways Smart Phones Change Piano Lessons

I know having an iPhone doesn't make me a cool piano teacher.  Using teen phrases like, "swag" and "epic" and "beast" probably don't either.

I know having an iPhone doesn't make me a cool piano teacher.  Using teen phrases like, "swag" and "epic" and "beast" probably don't either.

I’m 36 years old.  That means I used to teach piano back when electric typewriters were cool.  But it’s 2013 now and I have an smart phone.  Check out these four ways my iPhone has changed how I do things in the teaching studio.

1. Video Recordings

Sometimes you’ve just got to hear a song before you can really play it.  This is especially true of swing rhythms.  So, a student holds my phone (or their phone) and records me playing a swing tune.  It’s their’s to listen to as often as they need.

2.  Text Message

No, I don’t text every three seconds like teenagers do.  But I do appreciate getting a text from students letting me know they will be late.  Incidentally, I can always tell whether it is a teen or a mom doing the text.  

Teen: “c u in 10 :)”  
vs.
Mom: “We are about to leave the house.  The cat puked on Sam’s shoes and we couldn’t find a second pair.  See you in 10 minutes.  Oh, sorry I forgot to pay you last week!”

3.  Online Music Dictionary

Confession: I don’t know EVERY classical music term I come across.  My Italian and German are good, my French is so-so.  With instant web access to an online music dictionary, it isn’t a problem.  Pronouncing French words, however, is always a problem.  I typically choose a couple consonants at random and make them silent.  It usually sounds convincing.

4.  Reminders

I used to jot down reminders for myself with good old-fashioned pencil and paper--what sheet music to buy, what lessons will be cancelled, what talent show I need to go see, etc.  Then I would invariably lose the paper.  My iPhone solved that problem for me; everything I need is at my fingertips.  I’m still prone to losing my iPhone, though.  

~Adam Bendorf

Adam Bendorf and his wife, Anna, are private piano teachers in Santa Clarita, CA.  They both own an iPhone 3, considered to be from the dinosaur age of iPhones.  They don’t really care since they paid only 99¢ for each phone.