How do you handle students in group using iPads + keyboard? (headphones or no headphones?)


Daniel: “You don’t look like you’re fussing with hooking things up so they can hear through the piano and headphones. I would like to use Flashnote Derby and Piano Maestro at times and wonder how you are doing this. Does it work to have them play and listen without headphones or is it too loud for other students?”

So, very quickly, in one of those observation videos, when I just went over and handed the iPad to someone, what I likely did was pulled up one of my flash card games that doesn’t require listening. It’s just you see the note on the staff and you answer the question. There’s another one I do that I can even choose the range and the staff so I can make it three notes or five notes or I could do the whole staff. So that one’s really helpful if I have a student who’s just started out and they only know, let’s say the right hand C position notes. It helps them get faster. And I can see a lot of these apps will even allow you to create an account for the student, NinGenius comes to mind for that one. You can create an account for the student and you can see over time their average response time. So a lot of cool data you can get from that. My point is that it didn’t require headphones.

For apps that have play along or you need to hear something going on in the app, I would either plug another set of headphones in, so not only do I have all the headphones in the room, I probably have five or six spare set of headphones in a cubby outside of the view of the camera, that if a pair of headphones breaks, or I need an extra pair, I can just pull them right out of there and I always keep that stocked. I could just get an extra set of headphones, plug it in there and have them listen that way. So that’s just if you have an app that you need to hear on.

The issue begins to come when there is an app where you need to hear and you need to be able to hear yourself playing at the same time. I’ve never done a set up like this in my studio. However, what I will say is that if you really want to do something like that, first off, and I know this is going to sound perhaps a little bit like a weird answer, but for whatever make and model of piano you have, almost always you can find a YouTube video either from the company or from a fan of the company, a product owner of the company, that shows how to do a set up like that. That’s first. And usually those tutorial videos are very intuitive and really helpful where you can basically… you need an extra piece of equipment, but you can usually plug the sound in there from two different sources, and then plug a headphone out into the student’s ears, so they can hear both the iPad and the piano at the same time.

I also know, secondly, that one of the people in the SGL Facebook group has actually done a long post, and maybe even made a video of how she did it in her studio. If you go into the Facebook group and go to the search function and type, “Mae McLean” you’ll find a post from within the last two months where she shows how she did this in her studio. And there was a lot of comments on that post, and a lot of people asking, and she was clarifying and things of that nature.

I’ve never done something like that. I know that other people have, I know it’s very possible. I don’t recommend doing it open air, out loud. Again, distracting for students, but it is possible to get that sort of interactivity with a child, and an iPad and the piano at the same time. You just have to buy, typically, an inexpensive piece of equipment that will allow you to run a line out of the piano, a line out of the iPad and then a headphone jack out of the separate device. So, hope that helps.

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