Pocket Piano HD 4/26/12

A keyboard that offers realistic sized keys, metronome, and labels from Better Day Wireless.

April 26, 2012

Pocket Piano App IconI’m constantly looking for a better keyboard app for music teachers and I recently came across Pocket Piano HD from Better Day Wireless. My previous favorite was Nano Keyboard Lite by Takiashi Hamada because it offered realistic size piano keys. Also, it looks like the recent update for Nano Keyboard Lite has ruined the app.

With Pocket Piano HD, the first thing I checked for is the size of the keys and whether you had control over the size. All too often the size of the keys are not realistic, so students can’t learn hand placement. Yes, Pocket Piano HD keys can be resized easily and the sharps can also be resized as well (height & width) Preset sizes help guide you back to what is ‘normal’. Dual Row of keys is an option, but I just can’t get past the idea that you can’t use proper finger placement when one row is stacked above the other. So, yeah, you can have the lower register on screen in a pinch but it’s not the same as playing for real. I guess you would need two iP ads for that.

I also enjoy the metronome, which can be customized from 40BPM to 240 BPM. If you are working with a student who is just learning the notes, note labels can be turned on and the labels are easy to turn off with a tap of the screen. Better than those sticker labels that rip, leaving some paper or a sticky residue on the keys of a real piano.

There’s more to this app than just playing with one hand on the keyboard. There is a free sample song you can follow along with ‘Guitar Hero’ style notes that fall from the top of the screen so you can learn to play a song. My criticism is that the notes don’t appear on a staff, so students don’t learn to read music, but the proper note value is represented. That’s one step up from other ‘play along’ apps I’ve used.  If you like the learning element of this app you can upgrade to Master Piano. It comes with 250+ free songs and you can record your own. ($9.99)

Check out Pocket Piano HD for yourself: http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/pocket-piano-hd/id366696100?mt=8