What??? It’s World Emoji Day Again!


Another of those Who Knew holidays.


World Emoji Day is an unofficial holiday celebrated on July 17. The day is deemed a “global celebration of emoji” and is primarily celebrated online. Celebrated annually since 2014,[NBC reported that the day was Twitter’s top trending item on July 17 in 2015.

Now before the emoji, there were emoticons. Emoticons (emotion + icon) were actually developed as an expression of emotions in the cold hard texts that were devoid of it.

Emoji, a Japanese expression, roughly means “picture word” and was developed in 1990 by Shigetaka Kurita. While working for NTT Docomo, a Japanese telecom company, Kurita design these picture words as a feature on their pagers to make them more appealing to teens.

When Apple released the first iPhone in 2007, an emoji keyboard was embedded to nab the Japanese market. While not intended for U.S. users to find, they did and quickly figured out how to use it.

Every year new emojis (both emoji and emojis are acceptable plural forms of the word) are developed. The emojipedia.org keeps track of all the emoji updates across all platforms and operating systems. There are over 1800 emojis covering much more than just emotions.  From transportation, food, an assortment of wild and domesticated animals to social platforms, weather and bodily functions emojis virtually speak for themselves.



More about emojis



NoteWorks App


There’s a new app in the studio! It’s called NoteWorks and it looks like it will be fun for the students.  NoteWorks is an engaging, fun game, designed to teach note reading.

Beginners use NoteWorks as a terrific alternative to flash cards. More advanced students use the full version to practice key signatures with up to seven sharps and flats in multiple clefs.

Kids love the app because it’s fun and addictive. Teachers and parents love how the game improves students’ note recognition and sight reading skills.

If you want this for home use, it’s available for iPhone, iPad and Android.  The cost for the full version for home use is a one time fee $4.99, directly in the app.  More info at https://doremiworld.com/Games/NoteWorks

I already have my students set up so we can use this during lessons, but let me know if you plan to use this at home and I’ll give you the code to connect to the studio account.

The objective of this game is to teach note recognition and improve sight reading skills. Game options include treble and bass clefs (with the grand staff option) as well as tenor and alto clefs.

Students may identify notes using the piano keyboard and practice using the Do, Re, Mi or the A, B, C note naming. The game starts by teaching a limited range of notes, with the range gradually increasing. As the players acquire basic note reading skills, the game becomes more challenging, with the introduction of accidentals, and subsequently key signatures.


Simply Piano Update!

App Description:

Simply Piano is a fast and fun way to learn piano, no previous knowledge required. Works with any piano or keyboard. Chosen as one of the best iPhone apps for 2015.

– Tons of songs like Imagine, Timber, Counting Stars, Safe and Sound, also J.S.Bach
– Includes courses for different musical tastes and playing levels
– Learn the basics from reading sheet music to playing with both hands
– Daily workouts will help you practice what you learned while not at the piano
– Suitable for all ages, no previous knowledge required

No Piano? Try the Touch Course with 3D Touch!

How it works:
– Place your device (iPhone/iPad/iPod) on your acoustic/MIDI piano or keyboard and play; the app will immediately recognize what you are playing
– Receive instant feedback on your playing to quickly learn and improve your skills
– Discover fun songs and complete courses to really get you going

Simply Piano is developed by JoyTunes, creators of award-winning apps Piano Maestro and Piano Dust Buster. The apps are used by tens of thousands of piano teachers worldwide with over 1 million songs learned every week. JoyTunes are experts in creating educational and fun apps for learning piano quickly and easily.

Awards & Recognition –
– “EMI’s Innovation Challenge”
– “World Summit Award”, by the United Nations
– “Best Tools for Beginners”, NAMM
– “Best Tablet Game”, GameIS
– “Parents’ Choice Award”
– “Golden App”, Apps for Homeschooling


Piano Maestro: New Holiday Appdates



The holiday season is in full swing. The decorations are up, the presents bought (or in the process of being bought) but there’s no reason why our apps can’t get the same love this holiday.

So, without further ado, I’d like to jump into the updates we’ve made to Piano Maestro for you this holiday season!

Holiday Songs & Graphics

You’ll be able to impress your friends and family with a bunch of FREE holiday songs to play! We also added some new ones to the mix for our veteran Piano Maestro players.

You’ll find 50 free (yes, free!!) songs in this category from Christmas to Hanukkah and even New Year’s too! We just added Mariah Carey’s “All I want for Christmas is You” (because who doesn’t LOVE that Christmas classic).

Also available is the Christmas staple, “Jingle Bell Rock”.

The only thing missing is the ability for our app to make a strong cup of eggnog! We’ll try and work on that for next Christmas

The free holiday songs can be accessed from two places. As mentioned above, you can get there directly from the “Free Holiday Songs” button on the main menu as well as going to Library -> Songs -> and then choosing the “Free Holiday Songs” category.

Make sure to download the latest update of Piano Maestro.

Learning on your own? Don’t forget to download our free iPhone app, Simply Piano, and learn to play “Jingle Bells” in just 30 minutes!

Adapted from http://www.joytunes.com/blog/featured/piano-maestro-new-holiday-appdates-performance-fixes

Remember that these apps are available at no charge as long as you’re a student at the O’Connor Music Studio

Another App from JoyTunes



Simply Piano helps you learn piano step by step, no previous knowledge required. It works with any piano or keyboard. Simply Piano is meant to teach people with little to no previous experience how to play songs and read music.

Run the app as you play and it provides real-time feedback as you progress through lessons. Just place your iPhone (or iPad) on your piano (or use your MIDI keyboard) and play, your iPhone will immediately recognize what you are playing!

The app slowly progresses from learning a few notes at a time to simple (and later, more complex) songs.

The app doesn’t let you skip ahead between lessons to maximize their effect. But not everyone has to start at square one. If you have some prior experience, you can indicate that the first time you use the app and it adjusts accordingly.


Free: iOS (I had to search for “Joytunes”)