Waay Music Theory App

New courses, a giveaway, and an updated music lab tracking sheet

Back in August 2019, I introduced you to two of my favorite high-quality music theory apps for the iPad.

One of those, Waay, has added two new courses.

In this post, I’ll share a little about the new courses and introduce you to the updated music lab tracking sheet available in the Piano Pantry Shop that’s designed to go along with the app.

As an extra bonus, thanks to Waay’s founder and developer, Alex Andrews, I have FIVE promo codes to give away for the new courses!


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The New Christmas Lab Video Series

Ready for a little joy and good cheer?

The Christmas season is just around the corner and that means it’s time to start thinking of ways you can incorporate this glorious season into your lesson time.

We’re all a little tired, so can I help you out? 

Believe me when I say that the new free Christmas Video series here on Piano Pantry is a guaranteed smile on your student’s face.

The best part of it? This is a series that can easily be assigned to your online students, especially if you use a program like Tonara (see how I set up assignments like this in Tonara).


Where to find this video series

You can easily navigate to all of the free video series here on Piano Pantry by going to the Menu > Resources > Music Labs.

Currently, there are four different video series available:

Music Theory Videos

Holiday Lab – Halloween

Holiday Lab – Christmas

Fun Music Videos


Listening Guides

If you would like to go a little further, both the Halloween Lab and the new Christmas Lab have listening guides available in the Music Labs Shop.

The Christmas video series includes 23 videos and around 90 minutes of listening in a 9-page document.

A variety of songs and artists are included.

You’ll see pieces such as Silent Night, Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy, Winter from Vivaldi’s Four Seasons, Mary Did You Know, and Sleigh Ride, and hear from artists like Cameron Carpenter, Eric Whitacre, The Piano Guys (a lot, of course), the Berlin Philharmonic Choir, and more.

The accompanying lab sheet gives students brief and easy-to-digest background information on each piece followed by a reflection question.

Students are not necessarily asked to physically write out an answer to the reflection question (although you could certainly ask them to!), it is simply there to help guide them in active listening.

They are also asked to rate the video with 1-3 stars, which serves both as a way for students to reflect on how much they enjoyed the video and to track the pieces that they’ve listened to in the lab.

Add this lab to your cart now, or find it (along with other music labs in the shop).



Online Music Labs and Organizing Repertoire in Tonara

Over the years I’ve gotten lots of emails with great questions from readers like yourself.

Recently, it dawned on me that instead of keeping that information between me and the person who asked, perhaps others could find it useful!

So, I’m beginning a series on Piano Pantry called “Your Questions Answered” and will post approximately one per month. Enjoy!

In this time of online lessons, what does a “lab” look like? When I read your posts I feel like I’ve been teaching in the dark ages, and suddenly been thrust into the light. You inspire me to up my game!!!

I am wondering how you organize your resources on your computer too. I am struggling with this….especially videos. Are you using Tonara? I am, but struggling with saving repertoire to re-use.

I know this is a busy time for you with the new teaching year. I’m grateful for any help you can offer. I want to be better!!!!!!



Hi, C!

These are all great questions and am happy to help.

I’ve always promoted my lab time as a “bonus”, so when the COVID lockdown went into effect in March 2020, I didn’t worry about moving the entire lab time online. My students and I simply had our individual lessons and called it good – luckily with no complaints from parents. 🙂

One thing I did do, however, was to use the Music Theory Video lab series and assigned it through Tonara.

I pre-created a set of assignments in the “repertoire” section of Tonara for each video and titled it not only by the “set number” and “video number” in which I ordered it but also by what they were supposed to do (an “action word”).

For example:  WATCH: (S1 #15) Steps and Skips on the Staff

(Here’s a screenshot for you to see it in my Tonara repertoire database – click on the image to view it more closely if needed.)

A link to the video on YouTube video is included in the assignment.

As you stated, while the repertoire tool in Tonara is super awesome for storing frequently-used assignments like this, I know it can be a struggle to take the time to make it happen.

Last year I went through that and tried to just focus on inputting one book at a time into Tonara. I title the assignment by an acronym for the book first then the name of the piece.

For example, for my Music Moves for Piano books I might title assignment like this:

MM1 (U01) PLAY: Popcorn

MM1 (U02) SING: Triple Meter

(The “U” stands for “Unit”). 

This makes it easier when you use the search function to be able to see all of the pieces in one book together IN ORDER of the book.

Keep in mind that the longer the title gets, the student won’t be able to read the whole title on their device until they actually click on the assignment itself. That’s why I try to keep the title as descriptive and yet succinct as possible.

Here’s another screenshot:

I don’t know if that completely answers all of your questions but hopefully, it’s a start and can inspire you to find some ways that will work for you!

Best wishes!




Just a heads up that all links in this post to Tonara are affiliate links. All it means is if you sign up to use it through one of those links, I get a little back without it costing you extra. Being an affiliate for great products helps me cover the cost of running this free blog! 🙂

Best-Selling Music Labs and the new “Top Music Marketplace”

As we’re just getting started with the start of the 2020-2021 school year I just wanted to highlight four of the best-selling Music Labs here on Piano Pantry as well as mention the kickoff of Tim Topham’s new Top Music Marketplace.

There are 15 different music lab sheets for sale here on Piano Pantry. They include:

  1. Essentials of Music Theory
  2. Fun Music Videos
  3. Halloween Lab
  4. Music Theory Videos
  5. Piano Explorer Magazine
  6. RCM Theory App Prep
  7. RCM Theory App Level 1
  8. RCM Theory App Level 2
  9. RCM Theory App Level 3
  10. RCM Theory App Level 4
  11. RCM Theory App Bundle
  12. Rhythm Cat HD
  13. Rhythm Lab
  14. Staff Wars App
  15. Waay App

(Clicking on the links will take you to the blog post that tells you more about each one!)

Not surprisingly, the four bestsellers have been:

  1. Fun Music Videos
  2. RCM Theory App Bundle
  3. Music Theory Videos
  4. Rhythm Lab


Visit the Music Labs Shop here on Piano Pantry



Top Music Marketplace

All of these labs are still available here on Piano Pantry, but will select ones will also now be available on Tim Topham’s new Top Music Marketplace.

While I have the ability to sell products right here on Piano Pantry (and will continue to do so), Top Music Marketplace is one of the first websites (at least that I’m aware of) to set up one location for music teachers to sell their products.

While it’s a great opportunity for teachers who don’t have their own online platform to sell products (sign up here), it’s also an opportunity for those like myself that have a platform to reach an even bigger audience – and for that, I’m in! 🙂

Of course, it also makes it convenient for you as well to be able to search out a multitude of products in one location – some of which you might not otherwise have had exposure!

Hop on over and check out TopMusicMarkepace.co

View the Piano Pantry shop on TopMusicMarkepace.


A Simple (and Free) Video Supplement to Support Your Online Teaching

Are you looking for a few extra (but simple) tools to help you with your new journey into online teaching?

Here’s one you may have not even considered!

A free compilation of 48 of the best music-theory videos from all over the web is available to you here on Piano Pantry.

How can this video-series help make your life easier over the coming weeks?

The videos have been leveled into four sets based on the rough/general order in which concepts are introduced in most piano methods.

You will be able to quickly and easily access videos that can help reinforce new concepts your students may be learning. Here are a few examples of videos in each set:

Set 1
  1. Key names and the music alphabet
  2. How to draw the treble and bass clef
  3. Landmark notes
Set 2
  1. Skips alphabet on the staff
  2. Sharps, flats, and naturals
  3. How to build major and minor triads
Set 3
  1. AB and ABA Form
  2. Chord inversions
  3. Circle of fifths
Set 4
  1. Scale degree names
  2. Augmented intervals
  3. Double sharps and flats


Before, during, or after your online lesson, grab the link and text or email it to students/parents. (If you use a program such as Tonara, simply attach a link to the video in a theory lesson assignment. Easy!)

Should these videos replace a lesson?

Are they an easy and fun way to provide additional e-learning to your students?

Access the video series here.

Here’s a screenshot showing a few videos that are included in the series:


Tracking Sheet

If you’re interested in having a way to keep track of what videos you’ve assigned to each student, find the 2-page guide that accompanies this series in the Music Labs Shop or simply add it to your shopping cart now.

P.S. All music labs are studio licenses so you can print it as much as you need for your students.




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A New Halloween-Themed Music Lab

Looking for a fun, educational, and, easy activity for your students around Halloween time?

Introduce students to “spooky” classical music with this fun Halloween-themed lab!

Four pages long, this lab guide accompanies the (free) Halloween Videos series published here on Piano Pantry. Comprised of 13 videos, there’s over an hour of listening for your students to enjoy!

This lab sheet gives students brief and easy-to-digest background information on each piece followed by a reflection question.

Students are not necessarily asked to physically write out an answer to the reflection question (although you could certainly ask them to!), it is simply there to help guide them in active listening.

They are also asked to rate the video with 1-3 stars, which serves both as a way for students to reflect on how the piece made them feel and to track the pieces that they’ve listened to in the lab.

The lab and videos are long enough that if you only assign this lab during a once-a-week lesson for one or week or two weeks leading up to Halloween, then you might be able to use it with students two or three years in a row depending on how long your lab time is!

Add this lab to your cart now, or find it (along with other music labs in the shop).


Favorite iPad Apps for Music Lab

This post highlights a few of my go-to iPad apps for Music Lab time that my students enjoy: Rhythm Cat HD, Rhythm Lab, and Staff Wars.


Rhythm Cat HD

Rhythm Cat HD is a rhythm app available on iOS. If you would like to try it out, check out the free version, Rhythm Cat Lite HD.

The paid version, Rhythm Cat HD (currently $4.99), currently includes six stages, each with ten levels. If you are looking to use this as a lab for your students, then you will need the full paid version.

Please note that this app does not have a way for the student to hear the rhythm in playback. They tap the rhythm along to an accompaniment track. Often the accompaniment does not include the rhythm in any way, so students must have a solid sense of beat. If they miss just one note, they will receive two, not three stars.

Stages and levels can only be unlocked by successful completion. So, you cannot assign stage 4 to a student until someone has successfully mastered and unlocked stages 1, 2, and 3.


Corresponding Music Lab Sheet

Students cannot “sign-in” to this app to track their progress, so I like to assign stages and track progress by having them fill out this music lab sheet.

It is recommended not to assign a stage until the student is proficient at the rhythms included.

For example, even though level one only uses whole, half, and quarter notes, some of the exercises must be executed at fast tempos.

This download includes two pages covering all six stages and ten levels.

Add this lab to your cart now, or find it (along with other music labs in the shop)

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Two High-Quality iPad Theory Apps

This post highlights two of my current favorite apps that teach music theory (at various levels). I’m sure there will be more to come in the future but for now, let’s have a look at the Waay app and The Royal Conservatory’s Theory apps.



(This post was updated on 12/23/2020 to include the two new Progressions courses on the Waay app.)

Waay is an app available on iOS that teaches music theory via four courses:

  1. Melodies
  2. Chords
  3. [Chord] Progressions I
  4. [Chord] Progressions II

The initial app fee is $5.99 and includes the first two courses. Progressions I and II are bundled as an in-app purchase for $4.99.

Each course is comprised of short videos and interactive practice exercises. Even more specifically, the app states that its intention is to teach “songwriting.”

While the app states that it is great for beginners, the videos and concepts move very, very quickly. My recommendation is that this app is actually best suited for late intermediate / early advanced high school students.

(My impression is that the app is developed with the amateur adult musician in mind who is a “beginner” to music theory/songwriting concepts. It’s definitely not geared toward student-age beginner music students.)

Students will do best if they’re already familiar with the concepts presented in the app.  The courses build on each other and progress in difficulty. Students assigned the first course should already be familiar with major and minor scale patterns in all keys.

The final two “progressions” courses are focused on teaching students how to use “tricks” to identify chords that fit together and identify the keys those progressions may be coming from. These are fairly challenging courses. Students assigned these courses should already have a strong understanding of chords built on scales degrees in all the major and minor keys.


Corresponding Music Lab Tracking Sheet

This is an app I use during my music lab time. Unfortunately, like many apps, it does not allow students to log in to track progress, so I have students use a tracking sheet.

This app does not allow students to log in to track progress, so I have students use a tracking sheet.

Using a tracking sheet is also useful because each course can take anywhere from 30-60 minutes to complete depending on how many times they repeat exercises for practice.

Having students checkmark which parts of the course they have completed will help keep track of where they are in the course so they can pick up where they left off the next week.

This tracking sheet is four pages long (one page for each course).

Add it to your cart now, or find it (along with other music labs in the shop).

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Finally! A Music Lab/Assignment Sheet for Piano Explorer Magazine

For years, I’ve seen teachers in Facebook groups asking for some kind of assignment sheet to accompany Piano Explorer Magazine published by The Instrumentalist.

Well, today I am posting my version as part of the Music Lab Series on Piano Pantry!


What’s Piano Explorer Magazine?

Published once a month, this fun student-focused magazine covers topics such as composers, technique, practicing, instruments, and more. There are also puzzles, quizzes, student compositions, and the 100-day Practice Challenge!

At the time of this post, teachers can purchase a single subscription for the studio ($12), or a group subscription of five or more copies ($6 each). (Keep in mind that a group subscription would be mailed to one address.)

If teachers wanted to have students receive a copy of the magazine in the mail at home, you would have to purchase multiple individual subscriptions and set them up to mail to separate addresses. Kids get “real” mail so infrequently, it could be a fun addition to your studio for students to receive these!

For the purposes of using this as a music lab, it would be possible to use only one copy of the magazine for all students at your studio. That being said, the benefit to each student having their own copy is not only that they could take it home after completing the lab, but that they could actually complete the written puzzles and/or activities in the magazine.  (If students have their own copy of the magazine, they could complete it as an assignment at home as well!)

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More Than 100 Videos for Your Music Lab

For years, I’ve been collecting videos from all over the internet for my student’s music lab time.

This has resulted in two major sets of videos:

Music Theory Videos

Fun Music Videos

Access to both of these video series is FREE for Piano Pantry readers!


Music Theory Videos

The Music Theory Videos series is a culmination of the best videos I’ve found online that teach music theory concepts.

I wasn’t looking to use these videos as a way to teach concepts. That should, of course, be done in the lesson. It was nice, however, to use them as a way to reinforce what we have already learned. 

Comprised of 48 videos, they have been divided into four sets based on a rough/general order in which concepts are introduced in most piano methods. The order may not line up exactly, but you can simply assign videos based on what the student has already been taught in their lesson time.

From my own experience, I find it doesn’t work well to assign just one video at a time. Switching between multiple lab assignments/programs during the lab is not ideal.

It’s much easier to save up until they can spend an entire lab time on just the music theory video assignments. Thus, they might only do this lab every six months as they progress through new concepts.

Please know that the list of videos is in no way exhaustive. That is, there may not necessarily be a video available for every music theory concept students learn in music lessons.

All videos can be found here.


Corresponding Music Lab Sheet

Since students weren’t doing this lab on a weekly basis, I needed a way to track which videos they had watched. Thus, was born the corresponding music lab sheet.

The lab sheet includes directions to the student, a place for teachers to assign individuals for students to watch, the video name, who it is from, its length (so they know if they have enough time during their lab to complete it), and a space for the student to check that they watched it.

Add this lab to your cart now, or find it (along with other music labs in the shop)



Fun Music Videos

When I started including music lab time in my student’s weekly lesson experience, one thing I found is that while there are a lot of apps and programs out there, sometimes you simply run out of things for them to do!

There were two main reasons I found this happening on occasion.

The first was simply because, when you have 30-minute lab time, students can get through quite a bit and thus they move through their assignments quickly.

The second reason was more specifically with younger students. There are only so many lab assignments you can give when they are beginners. Not only are they limited in the musical concepts they can play games for, but any assignment with too much reading and writing is just too difficult for kindergarten, first, and even second graders to do on their own.

Thus, was born the Fun Music Videos lab series.

Comprised of more than 60 videos, the series is organized into eight “theme” sets: 

  1. Classical Music Fun
  2. Inspirational
  3. Musical Humor
  4. Unique Instruments
  5. Playing with Popular Tunes 1
  6. Playing with Popular Tunes 2
  7. Music History
  8. The Evolution of the Piano

The great part is that I’ve made all of these videos available to you for FREE!

You could even use these videos for a little fun way to end a group class or even play one to start a group class as students are entering!


Corresponding Music Lab Sheet

My students were enjoying these videos a lot, but I needed a way to track which ones they had watched. I wasn’t necessarily assigning the lab week after week until they finished the entire lab, I was only assigning it every once in a while and using it as a “filler”.

Thus, was born the corresponding music lab sheet.

The goal was to keep it simple.

Yes, I was using it as a “filler” lab assignment, but I also didn’t want it to just feel like “busy work”. Not only that, but it had to be something I could assign to students of all ages – especially younger students. As I stated earlier, any assignment with too much reading and writing is just too difficult for kindergarten, first, and even second graders to do on their own.

Thus, the lab sheet includes directions to the student, the “set” name, the video name, the length of the video (so they know if they have enough time during their lab to complete it), and areas to rate the video and openly reflect/comment on their thoughts.

While I would love for it to include more background information and reflection questions (maybe someday I’ll create a more in-depth version for older students), my main goal was an easy lab that students of any age could use and enjoy.

Be aware that students have been known to continually go back and watch some of their favorite videos several times when they’re supposed to be watching new videos. Don’t say I didn’t warn you! 😉

Add this lab to your cart now, or find it (along with other music labs in the shop)



If you’re curious for even more details on how I run my music labs, I’ve created a 15-page eBook that is chock full of all kinds of “pro tips.”

We’ll talk about how I schedule, set-up, and organize labs. (You all know “organizing” is my favorite topic! 🙂 )

Laid out in an easy to read and understand format, this book will answer all your questions regarding music lab time!


Give Me More!

Would you like to learn more in-depth details on the programs that I have created labs for?

Check out these posts:

1) My Favorite Computer-Based Program for Music Lab Time

2) Finally! A Music Lab/Assignment Sheet for Piano Explorer Magazine

3) Two High-Quality iPad Theory Apps

4) Favorite iPad Apps for Music Lab


Ready to Purchase?

Do you just want to just straight to getting your product?

Shop the entire Music Lab Series now!