How technology is helping us play

Since the introduction of smart phones, tablets and subsequently ‘apps’, there have been endless amounts of apps and programs written to help us pianists with our playing and what’s great is that we can use them on the go and more often than not these tools can fit right into your pocket – if not, your tablet is sure to fit in your bag… but what exactly are these apps and how are they helping us? Well let us explain…

Starting at the beginning – learning how to play piano. For some, traditional lessons can be expensive or even difficult to fit into a busy daily schedule. Now there’s apps designed to teach you how to play, from the ground up. PianoInteractive, visual guidance through videos and full courses can be found in some fantastic apps such as ‘Learn Piano HD’ and ‘Piano Apprentice’. Although, there isn’t somebody there to show you where you’re going wrong or what you’re doing right and to be honest, it isn’t very personal. However, there are huge benefits. These apps start from free and what’s great is that you can learn in your own time and for the lengths of time you wish to play per day, week or month.

So once you’re up to speed and you’re getting all the more familiar with the piano, you’ll soon be learning how to read sheet music. For both beginners and professionals, reading sheet music takes a long time to learn and is widely recognised as a complex skill to read, but more importantly, to read and play simultaneously. Apps such as ‘Sheet Music’ and ‘forScore’ are brilliant ways to store hundreds, if not thousands of pieces of sheet music with access to stores within the app with a huge range of music. No longer will you be carrying round all your books of your favourite pieces. However, we do understand there is huge sentimental value to be lost with storing your sheet music digitally. There’s also the option for you to follow the sheet music as the apps turn the page in relation to the tempo of the piece, therefore there is no more turning pages manually – does that remove a skill of a pianist? We’ll let you decide.

There are now even apps to help maintain your piano. We’ve come across great apps that can assist technicians tune pianos, giving accurate real time analysis of note frequencies within 0.02 cents as well as a phase display. Not to take anything away from the trained ears of technicians, this app is still a great assistant to the technician.