Getting Started with Practica Musica
Practica Musica, from Ars Nova Software, allows students to practice reading notes and rhythms while providing immediate feedback. This is one of the best ways for students to achieve the basic competency in music-reading that will allow them to reach their fullest potential most efficiently.
You may purchase the downloadable Student Edition of the program from either the Mac App Store or the Windows Store.
Using Practica Musica with your electronic keyboard (optional)
If you have an electronic piano keyboard at home, you should be able to connect it to your computer using either a USB cable or a MIDI interface, and “play” your responses to Practica Musica exercises directly on the keyboard, which is generally much easier, quicker, and more beneficial than using your mouse to click the on-screen “keyboard.”
Many newer keyboards offer a USB port for MIDI data, that’s usually an easy “plug-and-play” solution.
If your keyboard has no USB but has at least a MIDI Out port, that’s also a fine option, though you’ll need an additional interface to make the connection. For most students, an “entry-level” MIDI interface (“1-port” or “1-in/1-out”) is probably sufficient; I use and recommend the Roland UM-ONE, though I recommend you consult a sales representative to confirm that you purchase an interface that will work with your keyboard, computer, and operating system. (You can see a selection of MIDI interfaces at Sweetwater, an online vendor I find great to work with.)
Using the program
Ars-Nova released a brand-new version of Practica Musica in early 2020 that is completely rebuilt and different from earlier versions. The updates (and a few other things about 2020) took me by surprise, so unfortunately I don’t have the kind of thorough online documentation I prefer to offer you, but I will be happy to show you how to work with the software during our lesson, and do my best to answer any questions you may have!