Piano Practice with Wolfie

App review by
Patricia Montic..., Common Sense Media
Piano Practice with Wolfie App Poster Image
Fab features add digital help to real-life piano study.

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this app.

Educational Value

Kids can learn great habits for daily piano practice, especially with built-in progress-tracking features that reward kids for consistent time spent with their instruments. As they develop their sight-reading, score-study, and music-theory skills, they can use the annotation features to a mark and analyze the pieces they play. The video and recording features also let kids spend time listening and reflecting on each piece in detail as they study expert players' performances and work to improve their own. Piano Practice with Wolfie provides enough versatile features and music to keep kids practicing.

Ease of Play

The features are easy to use, and simple text overlays give kids instructions along the way.

Violence
Sex

Some downloadable songs allude to love and include innuendo.

Language

Downloadable songs can include iffy language.

Consumerism

Some songs are only available as in-app purchases, and kids may feel drawn to buy the songs of the artists whose songs they learn.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Downloadable songs may include references to drugs and alcohol.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Piano Practice with Wolfie is meant to enhance kids' study of the piano. The app features tons of built-in scores as well as lots of songs available for in-app purchase, plus features for annotating, recording, and evaluating kids' practice. Kids and parents can try out the app for free for a few days before signing up for a subscription. Though you can access saved scores from the device at any time, you'll need an Internet connection to download new ones.

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What's it about?

PIANO PRACTICE WITH WOLFIE is a piano-practice app for the iPad. First, users pick their objective for their playing -- taking lessons, teaching lessons, or playing for fun -- and then browse an extensive music library, either sorting by category or ability level (from beginner to expert). Lots of classical pieces are available for free, but most of the more contemporary titles are only available with a subscription or as in-app purchases. Each piece offers kids the option to listen (via a MIDI recording or a YouTube video of a famous performer), annotate, tag the piece with a written note, or record their own playing. If you record, the app will track your progress and note how accurately you played, marking problem spots automatically and saving them for later review. All your time in the app is tracked, and users can earn badges for practicing the same piece multiple times, practicing for days in a row, and playing pieces correctly. After a brief free trial, you'll have to buy a monthly or annual subscription.

Is it any good?

Made using input from music educators and experts, this practice tool offers a flexible, supportive, and detailed environment for promoting consistent, high-impact practice. These features are thoughtfully done: It's great that kids and their teachers can make notes and annotations on the scores, and it's helpful that kids can capture their playing so they can play it back for their teachers and themselves. All of these features promote review, reflection, and persistence, which are key to improvement as a musician -- and as a student in general. Kids will be inspired by the videos of famous performers playing the same pieces they are, and it's fun to find so many styles and playing levels. Though the built-in features for listening and correcting students' playing are good, and the built-in badges are definitely motivating, this app seems best used with the guidance of a teacher. A highly motivated child or adult might find success, but no app can replace the critical link between a music teacher and music student.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about how piano practice fits into your family's daily routine. How often should your kid practice, and for how long?

  • Talk about what happens during practice and how to make the most of the time by warming up, targeting troublesome passages, and being attentive to the big challenges at hand for that day's work.

  • There are lots of songs here, from artists as diverse as Tchaikovsky and Taylor Swift. Talk about which songs are OK to download in your family and how different pieces from different periods are similar and different to play.

  • Some famous musicians are featured in the linked videos for many of these pieces. Discuss the work it takes to become a classical musician.

App details

  • Device: iPad
  • Subjects: Arts: music, playing
  • Skills: Self-Direction: identifying strengths and weaknesses, set objectives, work to achieve goals, working efficiently
    Emotional Development: moving beyond obstacles, self-awareness
  • Pricing structure: Free to try, Paid
  • Subscription price: $9.99/month to $79.99/year
  • Release date: January 9, 2015
  • Category: Music
  • Topics: Music and Sing-Along
  • Size: 19.50 MB
  • Publisher: Tonara Ltd.
  • Version: 1.3.2
  • Minimum software requirements: Requires iOS 7.0 or later.

Themes & Topics

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For kids who love music and creativity

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