Categories
Music Teaching

Intelli IMT-300 Digital Metronome: First Impressions

Photo: Philip Yeoh

One can never have too many metronomes. Although I own the fantastic Korg KDM-3 digital metronome, I use it primarily in my studio. I needed another one when traveling. I did consider getting another KDM-3, but I felt it wouldn’t do too well in my cramped Peak Design Everyday Sling bag.

I was in Tom Lee Music here in Hong Kong yesterday, and saw this guy, the Intelli IMT-300 metronome. It was priced at $300 HKD versus the Korg KDM-3 at $380 HKD. The IMT-300 is housed in tough plastic and quite solidly-built. It also has a soft case and 9V battery included and being flatter (as opposed to the more traditional metronomic shape of the KDM-3) I reckoned it was easier to put inside my bag while traveling. Enough talk, let’s get on with my first impressions.

The IMT-300 weighs about 149g with a 9V battery. Its physical dimensions are 14.6cm (H) by 6.2cm (W) by 2.4cm (D). A 3.5mm earphone jack is provided, so is a 1/4″ input for electric guitar.

IMT-300 Right Side. Photo: Philip Yeoh

One thing I can say about this metronome—it is LOUD. It has to be the loudest digital metronome I’ve ever heard. Fortunately, a volume control is provided.

IMT-300 Left Side. Photo: Philip Yeoh

The main switch is on the left side. It has four settings: Off, Metronome, Tuner, Sound. I use it on the Metronome setting all the time. Players of orchestral instruments can use the Tuner setting to tune their instruments, while the Sound setting outputs a note. What is surprising is that it covers the full range of the piano—all 88 notes, from A0 to B8. I found the main switch a little fiddly to use. There is also a DC9V if you want to use an AC adapter (not included). Sadly, there is no tap tempo feature.

The Capture M1/M2 stores two metronome settings. For instance, you could store M1 without the bell and M2 with the bell.

The IMT-300 has a tempo range from 30 to 250 beats per minute. This is adjusted using the center rotary dial. The increments are +1/-1. Unfortunately, there is no option to switch to standard metronome tempo settings (for example, if you wanted to increase the tempo from 80 to 100, you’ll have to scroll by +1 increments all the way from 80 to 100. My Korg KDM-3 allows me to go from 80 » 84 » 88 » 92 » 96 » 100)

Beats for the “bell” include 0, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7. This is set using the Beat button on the right of the center rotary dial. Different rhythms can be set using the Rhythm button on the left.

The display is big and clear. However, there is no backlight.

IMT-300 Back. Photo: Philip Yeoh

The back houses the 9V battery (included) as well as the speaker. I find putting the speaker facing towards the back a little silly, as it should be facing the front. Fortunately, the metronome’s sound is very loud and you can always pull out the included stand and put it on top of a flat surface. You can see that it’s made in Korea but I couldn’t find their website online.

Before I end this quick review, let me say that there is a newer IMT-301 available. It costs $50 more and what you get for that is a built-in thermometer and hygrometer. The other stuff is about the same as the IMT-300.

PROS

  • Quite solidly built
  • Very loud metronome sound
  • Easy to read LCD display
  • 9V battery and soft case included
  • Reasonably priced

CONS

  • No tap tempo feature
  • Fiddly main switch
  • Battery cover feels fragile. Handle with care!
  • No additional metronome sounds offered
  • No option to use standard incremental metronome settings
  • No backlight

Categories
Music Teaching

Why choose The Good Pianist? (Part 2)

Note: The views expressed in this post are strictly mine alone.

Qualifications: Qualifications matter, of course. But in reality, very few people ask about what qualifications I possess. Instead, they are more concerned about how much I charge. For the record, I have the LTCL and FTCL diplomas from Trinity College London. I also have a Bachelor of Music (High Distinction) from the University of Arizona, USA.

Experience: I have saved the most important for last. Experience is something that can’t be bought, and no one can rush to acquire it. It has to be accumulated through the passage of time; there isn’t any other way. To that end, I’ve been teaching piano for over 35 years now, and I have certainly learnt a lot along the way. I do have a lot of teaching experiences to tell, perhaps in a later post. Suffice to say, I customize my teaching methods to accommodate each and every student. Why? Because every student is different and a good and experienced teacher would treat them as such.

I’ll end this post by encouraging you to read through the testimonials that some of my former students have graciously written for me. It warms me up that I have been able to instill the love of music in them and countless others.

I look forward to welcoming you to The Good Pianist soon!

Categories
Music Teaching

Why choose The Good Pianist? (Part 1)

Note: The views expressed in this post are strictly mine alone.

Anyone living in a cosmopolitan city like Hong Kong and intending to enroll in piano lessons probably knows that there are thousands of piano teachers in this city. Which begs the question: how does one find a suitable teacher? What factors need to be considered? Or should one just plunge in and hope for the best?

Generally, people who are looking for a piano teacher (either for themselves or their children) have one or more of the following in mind:

  • Price
  • Location
  • Availability
  • Qualifications
  • Experience

Let’s look at each of these in turn.

Price: This is probably the Number One question prospective students ask me first. All I can say is—don’t take pricing as the most important factor in making your decision. There are teachers who charge cheaper rates (perhaps they are just starting out and/or they don’t have much experience) and conversely there are teachers who charge more because they have been in this business for a long time. Of course, my advice would be to go with a teacher who has had a lot of teaching experience (more about this later).

Location: This wields a lot of importance, as it would make traveling to and from the teacher’s studio less of a hassle. Hong Kong is blessed with a good and efficient public transport network. I’m pleased to say that The Good Pianist is located at a convenient spot in Tsim Sha Tsui. The nearest MTR is Tsim Sha Tsui station and many buses ply Chatham Road South, which is very close to my studio. If you’re coming by car, ample public parking is available nearby. There are also numerous cafes and restaurants if you need to eat or just to while the time away.

Availability: The times that the teacher and student are available for lessons is another factor to be considered. Usually, this can be worked out in most cases and doesn’t present any problems.

Part 2 will deal with qualifications and experience.

Categories
General Music Teaching

Korg announces the KDM-3 Digital Metronome

Photo: Korg USA

Just as my Korg KDM-2 was giving up the ghost (after using it for more than 10 years) I was browsing for another replacement KDM-2 when lo and behold, I read online about the new KDM-3 metronome! Talk about being serendipitous. Needless to say, I ordered one straightaway.

In a previous post, I talked about the KDM-2, while in this post I postulated about what I would like to see in the KDM-3. Needless to say, part of my wish list has been fulfilled:

  • The KDM-3 now has an authentic metronome and bell sound, plus 7 other sounds! There is also a female voice which counts the beats.
  • It’s available in either black or white. Take your pick.
  • I read online that its sound is even louder than that of the KDM-2. I can’t verify this until I get my own unit. EDIT: Yes, the sound is just as loud, if not louder, than the KDM-2.
  • I’m not sure whether it accepts rechargeable batteries, but I will try. The KDM-3 requires 4 AAA batteries to function.
  • New in the KDM-3 is a Timer mode. You can program the metronome to stop after a length of time. Useful if you want to start practicing with it but have it stop at a predetermined time.
  • Unfortunately, there is still no back-lit display. And I wish Korg would include a pouch or case for it.

You can get further details of the KDM-3 at Korg’s USA website. I will update this post when I receive mine. Stay tuned.

EDIT: I received my KDM-3 today and am amazed that it’s so small and cute. It’s certainly less bulky than the KDM-2 and yes, it’s more aesthetically pleasing to look at. The thing I like best in this new KDM-3 is the authentic metronome and bell sound…although the electronic pulse sound from the KDM-2 is included too.

Categories
Music Teaching

Always a glimmer of hope

The Northam 001

The piano teaching field is always unpredictable. Making a living out of it is a gamble, a risk. Like any other job, it has its ups and downs. I’ve had some wonderful students in the past but as my piano professors used to remind me—everything has a beginning and an end. No student, no matter how wonderful he or she is, is going to remain with a teacher forever. It’s a little sad when some students drop out for one reason or another; more so if they do so suddenly and I feel they have potential. Sometimes I click with a student, sometimes I don’t. And yes, at times they surprise me with stuff…like this new student who sent me this text. She was just shy and didn’t have a high opinion of herself, so I tried my best to coax her out of it by reassuring her that her piano playing would blossom and improve, given time. Getting this text from her meant a lot to me…at least I’m helping one student along and restoring her dignity to herself—she thought she’d lost it but it was always there, inside her…waiting to emerge.

Categories
General Music Teaching

Yamaha Piano Challenge 2012

After a hiatus of almost two years I’m back in the judge’s chair—this time for the Yamaha Piano Challenge 2012. Mrs. Fong asked me to judge the Finals together with fellow judges Razif, Soo See, and Mei Ling. The format was different compared to Piano Idol, with categories ranging from YPC1 (Beginners) to YPC12 (Advanced) and there were winners for each category. All in I think there were around 60+ contestants, and there were two sessions—one in the afternoon and another in the early evening. We had an early dinner around 5 pm. I brought my Canon EOS 550D along with the Speedlite 580EX II so here are some pictures.

Yamaha Piano Challenge 008

(Above) The stage is set at the Penang PAC (Performing Arts Center). That’s the Yamaha GB-1 baby grand piano together with the Digital Music banner. This is a smallish hall which can accommodate approximately 300 people, but it has great acoustics. The piano sound seems to bloom on its own accord. This would be a great place for solo concerts. I took this picture handheld, resting my elbows on the judges’ table, taking a deep breath before pressing the shutter.

(Below) Vincent was one of the guest stars of the day. He played Franz Liszt’s Liebestraum No. 3 in A flat major and Chopin’s Black Key etude, Op. 10 No. 5.

Yamaha Piano Challenge 012

Yamaha Piano Challenge 013

(Above) Adriana was the other guest star. She performed Chopin’s Etude Op. 25 No. 1 and Debussy’s Prelude from Pour le Piano. Both these talented pianists are my students and I’m extremely proud of them. They each won the Piano Idol in the past.

(Below) A candid view of the junior contestants in the afternoon session with their certificates of participation.

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Yamaha Piano Challenge 018

(Above) For the Senior session the piano was moved to a different angle but the sound was still great. A slow shutter speed emphasizes the dexterity of this contestant.

(Below) A cross-section of some of the winners in the Senior category.

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Yamaha Piano Challenge 032

(Above) Here I am, posing with Vincent after the whole show was over. The Speedlite 580EX II is fantastic; this was taken using direct flash and yet it handled the lighting conditions extremely well, exposing both of us just right.

(Below) I could recognize some budding talents today. Here I’m posing with Yeu May, the Level 8 winner. She played a scintillating Chopin waltz—I’d love to have this 15 year-old for a student.

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I have to commend Mr. and Mrs. Fong for organizing these competitions. They really foster and encourage the upcoming musical talents in our midst. I’m looking forward to more in the future.