Waay: A hip music app for teens and songwriters

What app is a good fit for those who grow out of Piano Maestro, Flashnote Derby, Rhythm Swing…? If you have groomed pianists beyond the first couple of years of piano or any other instrument (hooray and congrats!), you are probably asking that question. I’ve got an answer.

Take a look at Ten Kettles’ app called Waay.

In fact, you can literally take a look by watching the video interview I held with Alex Andrews, the developer of Waay.  In the video you’ll learn that Alex is a bio engineer-turned-full-time-musician and app developer. He explains how he saw a need for an app that explains the fundamentals of melody and chords in a user-friendly, relatable format for those interested in songwriting. I’ve found that the app crosses over well to anyone –songwriter, pianist, guitarist….anyone wanting to know more about scales and chords and how they combine to create songs. I particularly like how the ultimate focus of Waay is to generate creativity!

The app includes two courses: Course One: Melodies for $3.99 with an in-app purchase option to buy Course Two: Chords for $4.99.

Each course is divided into topics that are explained in short instructional videos. Practical, interactive exercises follow imagethat drill what has been taught. Feedback and progress scores are provided. Audio examples are included so that ears are trained to hear the sounds of what they are learning about.

A recent upgrade makes the content available offline once it is downloaded.

Alex is always interested in hearing from Waay users. You can connect with him at http://www.tenkettles.com/

Another app mentioned in the video developed by Ten Kettles is hearEQ. This is ideal for those who manage the sound board in a band.

win1Good news! Alex has generously provided five FREE codes for to give away here at 88PianoKeys.me. Let us know a resource or tip you use to inspire teens in the comment section below to enter the drawing for the Waay app. The winners will be announced on February 17th.

Thanks again to Alex for the informative and fun interview!


PS: All my “Here to Help Videos” are archived here.

PSS: Need a tool to teach polyrhythms like 2 against 3 or 3 again 4 to your intermediate and advancing students? Check out Rhythm Produce–I offer a solution that works and it’s on sale.

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Leila Viss

Creative Pianist, Piano Teacher, Organist, Blogger and Author of The iPad Piano Studio

29 CommentsLeave a comment

  • I inspire teens by personally connecting with them as people, making sure I know and remember which bands they like and which productions they are in etc. If they know I’m bothered about them, they work much harder for me.

  • My older and more accomplished students are always looking for something new and cool. To motivate them, I offer them the chance to be Music Mentors for our littles and play duets with them. When you teach, you learn twice. I also get out my Chord Buddy guitar (I use it in our baby class) to show them how easy it is to play 4 chord songs. Love the idea of this app and can’t wait to try it!

  • Accompanying for my voice students and 2 piano ensembles! Also they enjoy competing together with scales competitions and ear training competitions, too. Relationship with me and others is what I inspire my teens with!

  • For me it’s about taking the time to find out what motivates each individual because what works for one does not always work for others. For some it’s competition, award $, playing familiar music, playing in church, learning to play in a band or getting ready for college. Each one needs a purpose to keep them going.

  • I always try to get to know my teen students. Know their likes, dislikes in regards to piano and everything else in their life. If you can build that relationship, they trust you more and are willing to work a little harder. I also always make sure they have a song that they picked.

  • Just last night the teens in my studio met for a group class time. Since I teach guitar as well, the mix of guitar and piano is in the class. I wrote down the chord movement for a pop piece a student was playing on the piano and told them to join in! They love jamming together. I’ve also purchased a cajon for the studio and plan on purchasing a bass guitar. It’s good for them to learn the workings of a band.

  • I think it is important to offer relevant contemporary styles within a pedagogic goal. It is truly wonderful to have these outstanding tools available now, to keep the lessons up-to-date, and compelling a teen student to maintain their hand-on-the-keys time every week.
    I have found that offering popular music allows the student to be more receptive to other suggestions. Nothing works better than a Mendelssohn Song without Words, a luscious harmonic smorgasboard underneath a heart-breaking melody. The teenagers almost always fall in love with that high Romanticism and appreciate that music is an eternal human expression, not confined to the 21st century.

  • I’m still looking for that amazing way to inspire extraordinary. My teens are currently either beginners or transfers who are being forced to study but not required to practice. Improv, lead sheet reading seem to help with theory a little, but the Wow Factor is harder to come by some days. I welcome all tips and tools!

    • I like your honesty, Beth. I have a tweener on my bench who is not thrilled to be at lessons. Just found a saver with “He’s a Pirate” but who knows how long that will last. Overall, he’s not eager to put in the work that it takes but once he does, you can tell he loves it. Patience for us teachers is key, that’s for sure!

  • I’m currently trying some improv with the blues scale and different LH accompaniments. Hoping they will each have something of their own to play at our recital this year. Some have loved it and taken off with the ideas and others are still working on branching out to be creative. It’s a challenge for them to realize this is one area there are really no wrong notes etc. I will have to check out this app. Always need something to engage the older ones.

    • I did SUCH a fun thing with the blues and have yet to share it. I’m so behind but I wanted to write about if first as there are some details involved. If you have iReal Pro, the backing track may help to free them up with the RH melody. Or MusiClock? I love your idea of having them play “something of their own.” Thanks, Leticia!

  • As an elementary music teacher, I am always looking for resources for my students. The Waay app and other apps I have been reading about online here look very promising as a way to reach my older learners. Thank you!

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