How an App Helped This 11-Year-Old Win a Piano Competition

When her in-person lessons were put on hold before a big competition, this young pianist turned to the flowkey app to keep the music alive.

by Rhian Avery

Preparing for a big piano competition is tough enough in normal circumstances. Now imagine doing it without a teacher sitting by your side to guide you. That’s exactly the situation that 11-year-old Beatrice found herself in. Here's how she rose to the occasion with a lot of determination and a little help from a piano-learning app called flowkey. 

Taking on a big challenge

Beatrice’s piano teacher knew she had a gifted student. So when she heard about an upcoming piano competition, she asked Beatrice if she felt ready for the big challenge. Beatrice was bold enough to say yes and decided to present Chopin’s "Nocturne in E-flat major" – one of the composer’s best-known pieces, and also notoriously difficult to master.

"Chopin is one of my favorite composers," says Beatrice. "His music is beautiful. It has incredible dynamics and rhythms, and makes you happy, or sad, or dreamy in an astonishing way. I knew [the Nocturne] was hard, but I am quite brave."

Beatrice was all set to start practicing with her teacher and get the piece just right for the competition. But then the pandemic hit, turning her plans upside down. 

"There were no in-person classes and I had to learn this amazing but difficult piece really quickly," recalls Beatrice. "My teacher was a bit afraid to try since we [could] only have video lessons, [but] I knew I could do it."

Getting a helping hand

Beatrice was determined not to let the lack of lessons hold her back. But she knew that it would be an uphill battle to master such a difficult piece on her own. She needed a better way to practice Chopin than simply sitting at the piano alone—and that’s when an idea came to her: she remembered seeing an app called flowkey on YouTube, and realized it could be just what she needed to resolve her dilemma. 

The app helps you learn songs by showing you how to play each note and gives you instant feedback on your playing—almost like having a real teacher there as you practice.

After signing up for a free trial and seeing how easy it was to practice piano with flowkey, Beatrice asked her parents to buy her a Premium subscription so she could learn the Nocturne.

"flowkey helped me a lot: quicker score reading, the fingers are shown very well, the possibility of changing the tempo, the possibility to practice parts individually and each hand individually are really amazing," explains Beatrice. "I was able to learn the piece in about three weeks."

Then it was time to perfect the song, which proved to be a trickier task, as Beatrice notes: “The dynamics are hard. I couldn't get them quite right, so [my] teacher set some Zoom meetings with me and gave me directions on how to do the dynamics correctly.”

After lots of practice, and support from flowkey and her piano teacher, Beatrice was ready for the competition. And her hard work paid off: She won first place with a brilliant performance of the Nocturne.

Bright future ahead

Beatrice’s story shows that even when things seem impossible, it’s important not to give up. She doesn’t intend to rest on her success either—she already has big plans for the future (all involving piano, of course!)

“There are many pieces that I would love to learn,” she confirms. “All of Chopin's nocturnes, some beautiful Mozart sonatas, Debussy's ‘Claire de Lune’ and Beethoven's ‘Moonlight Sonata’. I want to become a well-known pianist and composer, to travel the world, and to delight people with my music.”

flowkey can help you reach your musical goals too

If you’ve always wanted to play the piano or perfect a song you love, flowkey can help you make it happen. It’s designed to make learning piano easier – letting you play a huge variety of songs that fit your skills. 

Try it for yourself by signing up for a free trial now. You can explore flowkey's library of 1,500+ songs and step-by-step courses, and see how easy it is to make your own piano-playing dreams come true.

Start learning today with no obligations

Create an account to enjoy a selection of free lessons and 8 free songs

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