Every summer I look forward to the opportunity to dig in and really get to know all of the new music, apps and resources that accumulate in my studio during the year. With all of the new technology and resources that are constantly becoming available, it’s an exciting time to be a music teacher!
This fun new addition to my shelf has been attracting a good deal of attention from my students (after all, it’s hard to miss a new bright blue “toy”!):
The PractizPal Metronome is, in fact, much more than a toy. It’s an all-in-one practice tool for students that combines a high-powered digital metronome with a practice timer and journal.
At lessons, you can customize the device with a student’s daily practice goal. Once the student is home, a simple touch of a button activates the timer. As they practice, the timer counts up toward their daily goal and also records their accumulated time into a weekly journal. At their next lesson, the student’s daily practice is neatly displayed in a weekly bar graph format.
With a price tag of $49.99 the PractizPal is a bit more of an investment for students than a $.99 metronome or practice journal app they can run on their phone or iPod. So what makes it worth it? Here’s what my students and I loved about this product:
- It gets noticed. Unlike an a tiny app icon that’s buried 6 screens into their iPod, the PractizPal’s bright, welcoming design will catch your student’s eye. It’s designed to travel with students to and from lessons, so they’ll physically have it in hand on a regular basis. If a tool gets noticed, it’s more likely to get remembered and used. I sent the PractizPal home with a few of my students who chronically forget to write down their practice time (and some weeks, forget to practice, period). I was pleased to find that every one of them returned to lessons the next week with at least a few days of practice recorded, and were eager to show it off to me:
- The metronome quality is what you’d expect from a professional studio metronome, and not just a free (or nearly-free) app. At lessons, my students could easily hear the metronome over the sound of my grand piano without earphones. Another bonus? You’ll never have to worry about the metronome missing a beat or freezing up (one of my biggest pet peeves with app-based metronomes). When students are given a tool that’s hard to use, it’s easy to find an excuse not to use it. With this metronome, there are no excuses! 🙂
- The weekly practice chart offers students a visible, graphic display of their achievements. For a visual learner, seeing their practice minutes displayed as a graphic is far more motivating than just a list of numbers or check marks on a piece of paper. On the flip side, it’s also easy for students (and mom and dad) to see when there are too many “holes” in their practice.
- In my studio, the PractizPal drew positive reviews from almost all of my students – from my youngest elementary kiddos, up through my hard-to-impress middle school crowd. For parents willing to make the investment, this tool should stick with their student through many years of lessons.
Need more reasons to love the PractizPal? It comes in a choice of 5 fun colors, so there’s a “cool” choice for even your pickiest practicer:
To appeal to the today’s kids, developers even had the foresight to create matching skins that can be purchased to customize the unit’s appearance (the first thing one of my 6th graders mentioned when I put it in her hand was “this needs skins!”). Don’t you wish your first metronome looked like this??
A switch on the top prevents the unit from accidentally turning itself on when not in use (i.e. in a student’s bag on the way to lessons). In an effort to encourage environmentally conscious practice, the company’s website also includes links to recommended re-chargeable 9-volt batteries that can be used in the PractizPal.
Now for the fun part… one lucky reader will have the opportunity to win a FREE PractizPal metronome! To enter the giveaway, leave a comment below and tell us why you think your students would benefit from this fun tool. Want an extra chance to win? “Like” the PractizPal Facebook page and come back to leave a comment letting us know you’ve done so. A winner will be chosen by random drawing on Friday, July 19th at 12 p.m. central time.