miniMal is the first of the “pre Piano” series of apps and therefore, we want to provide the best guidance possible so that you can establish a solid foundation to build on. Every app that comes after this one will draw from the basics you’ve established here. Please read carefully.
- Press the octopus button
- Press the rabbit or turtle button
- Watch and listen
- Play the composition
The above image shows the pre Piano miniMal UI (user interface).
Here are the steps:
As you can see, the basic functions are very easy and always the same. But to get the most out of this app, you need to further understand the composition modules which is represented at the center of the screen (small animals).
Pressing the octopus button generates a seven-note composition which the student should play at least twice before generating a new one. Please be patient at first. It will take a bit of time to get familiar with the play pads (big animal keyboard).
Up and down arrows
Before you use the up and down arrows, take a moment and study the big animal play pads. They are named after the notes they represent. From left to right, they are:
B, C, D, E, F, G and A
We’ve picked symbols to establish a strong connection between sound and visuals but in essence, the animals are just hidden piano keys that are instantly recognizable.
How to the arrows work? Simple. Let’s say the composition module (small row of animals) shows a camel (C note). Pressing the up arrow increases that note one position to a D (dolphin). The down arrow has the opposite effect.
With the help of the up and down arrows, even young children will be able to edit a composition and by doing so, creating a new lesson to play.
Secret function for the mentor (you)
You can touch the small animals to play the new melody. While you could just press the rabbit or turtle button to listen, having this feature is a huge advantage. If the child makes a mistake, then simply touch the correct (little) animal and have the child watch which big animal moves.
If the child you mentor is at the pre reading stage, then spend at least two to three weeks with this app. It is very important that the child gets enough time to memorize the sound of the notes/animals.
Compositing music together is slowly being recognized as the best way to learn and more and more teachers adapt this method. Little Composers has always taught this way even long before miniMal was an app.
Please share the play time between you and the student and if you start with a 20 minute session (note that we don’t call it lesson), then have the child play about five minutes. Have the child listen to you play for about 3 – 5 minutes and spend the rest with talking. It is very important that you ask questions. Pretend to be forgetful. Have the child teach you the animal names because “for some reason you call the camel “cow” and so on.
Last but not least, you must praise the child. Without praise, you might as well just hand them the app and walk away.
Slowly, the old ways of learning are slowly fading away. Apps can greatly enhance the learning experience but only when used the right way. If you happen to be a parent of a gifted child or interested in teaching young children, then we invite you to enroll in the pre Piano for Moms class.
This one-week mini course (we know you are busy) helps you plan the sessions so that you know when to play and when to stop. It also gives you ready-made examples you can follow and adapt as you see fit. If interested, then contact us to learn more about the pre Piano for Moms course
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