iOS: Learning to play the piano can be difficult, and even moreso if you don’t have someone there to help you fix your errors and learn good tempo. Simply Piano can do both of those things, and all it takes is your iPhone or iPad. Best of all, it’s free.
Like many “piano-learning” apps, Simply Piano teaches you various pieces of music by essentially displaying sheet music in front of you to play, guiding you to the right keys on your piano or keyboard, and showing you the right order in which to press them and when — that’s all great, and not terribly unique, even if it works well. Where the app shines however is its listening feature. Simply put the phone down near the keyboard, and Simply Piano will “listen” to you play.
As you play, the app identifies what you’re playing and gives you feedback on how to improve. Maybe you need to pick up the tempo, or maybe you missed a few notes here or there — whatever it is, the app can give you a few tips, and encourages you to try again, all while it listens and tries to help.
Simply Piano is free, and available now. It comes bundled with a ton of songs to learn (including classical and pop songs you’ll probably recognise), and is geared to all skill levels — and keyboard types, so you don’t need a fancy piano just to use the app, any keyboard will do. Hit the link below to try it out.
• 1930 ~ The New York Philharmonic Orchestra was first heard on the air over CBS radio from Carnegie Hall. The Sunday afternoon concerts set CBS back $15,000. Not per week, but for the entire season!
• 1935 ~ Margie Singleton, Singer, TV performer on Louisiana Hayride
• 1938 ~ Johnny Duncan, Singer
• 1938 ~ Carlo Mastangelo, Singer with Dion and The Belmonts
• 1939 ~ As long as Ted Weems’ orchestra recorded on Decca Records, so did the featured vocalist in his band, the barber from Canonsburg, PA, Perry Como. Before becoming a star in his own right, and making the move to RCA Records and NBC, ‘Mr. C.’ recorded I Wonder Who’s Kissing Her Now with Weems on Decca.
• 1943 ~ Steve Miller, Singer, songwriter with The Steve Miller Band
• 1947 ~ A small Northern California company got a major boost from Bing Crosby. The first show recorded on tape was broadcast on ABC radio. ‘Der Bingle’ was so popular, that his taped show promoted wide distribution of the new magnetic tape recorders that would become broadcast classics – the venerable Ampex 200.
• 1949 ~ Brian Connolly, Singer with The Sweet
• 1949 ~ B.W. Stevenson, Singer, songwriter
• 1950 ~ Eddie Clarke, Guitarist with Motorhead
• 1951 ~ Bob Geldof, Singer, songwriter with Boomtown Rats, organized fund-raising group: Band Aid
• 1955 ~ Leo Barnes, Musician with Hothouse Flowers
• 1962 ~ Ken Noda, American pianist and composer
• 1962 ~ The Beatles debut single ‘Love Me Do’ was released in the UK. It spent 26 week’s on the chart peaking at No.17. Beatles producer George Martin has said when ‘Love Me Do’ was released, it was the day the world changed.
• 1965 ~ Adding to his many credits, accolades and honors, Henry Mancini received a gold record for the soundtrack LP from the movie, The Pink Panther.
• 2000 ~ Singer, actor and composer Cuco Sanchez, whose six-decade career included the ranchera hits La cama de piedra and Anillo de compromiso, died of liver failure. He was 79. Sanchez, whose full name was Jose del Refugio Sanchez Saldana, recorded his first song at 13. In 1940, he was signed by Mexico’s largest media company, for which he acted in movies and television programs. Sanchez’s long career included about 200 songs, which were translated into 27 languages. Among his hits were Mi chata, Anoche estuve llorando, No soy monedita de oro, Buenas noches mi amor, Con la misma moneda, Que manera de perder, Fallaste corazon, and Oigame compadre. Sanchez also composed music for movies.
• 2003 ~ Clarence B. Cagle, a legendary pianist for the Texas Playboys, died at the age of 83. Cagle began playing violin and banjo at house parties at age 9. In 1938, Cagle moved to Coffeyville, Kan., where he played with Herb Goddard’s Oklahoma Wanderers. By then, he’d switched to playing the piano. Cagle auditioned for legendary Texas swing musician Bob Wills in 1943 in Tulsa. He got the job and performed with the Texas Playboys until Wills left for Hollywood to make Western films. Cagle stayed in Tulsa with Wills’ brother, Johnnie Lee Wills, developing his well-known “Boogie Woogie Highball.” Cagle played with him for the next 17 years. He was admitted to the Western Swing Hall of Fame in Sacramento, Calif., in 1988.