About us

Nicola Cantan

Hey there, I’m Nicola Cantan, creator of Colourful Keys, Vibrant Music Teaching and Vivid Practice.

Vivid Practice is my latest brainchild and it came from the same place all my other ideas have – frustration, and then a dawning realisation that no one else was going to come up with a solution. So I decided to step up.

There are several practice apps out there, so I’m not claiming to have invented the wheel here. But there are a few key things I wanted to see done differently.


No Extra Clicks


My main frustration with using other practice apps, the thing that really got my goat, was the poor design. Websites should, above all else, be designed for the users. 

The “users” in this case, are us, the music teachers. And yet I was finding myself click-click-clicking around and wasting time. 

I hate wasting time. 

This extra time doesn’t come from thin air. It’s either additional office time for the teacher (ugh!) or it takes up lesson time that they should be focused on teaching.

Technology is supposed to enhance what we already do well. Not get in the way.


No Gamification


If you know me, you might be confused right now. I’m all about teaching with games, right?!

Right. But what I don’t believe in is the type of gamification through reward systems that I see in all these apps.

I get the idea. We want students to succeed in music. So we will try anything to get them practicing regularly so that they achieve what we know they’re capable of.

The problem is, it doesn’t last.

Some kiddos will be into the points, tokens, digital stickers and leaderboards in the short term. But then the novelty wears off.

And the lesson they’re left with is this, “There’s no point practicing if I don’t get anything.”

Setting up practice routines and encouraging students to focus on the results isn’t swish-bang-wow. But it is what works. 


Research-Backed Practice Strategies


Many practice apps focus on the amount of time students are practicing. That makes sense, because that’s the easiest thing to track.

But we all know a student can achieve more in 10 minutes than 30 minutes if they’re practicing the right way.

That’s where our four practice modes come in.

By giving options for the structure of students' practice, we encourage active participation. We get their brains to stay switched on for the entire duration of the practice session.

We still track the time they practice – because that matters too, it’s just not the only factor.


Encouraging Routine


When students first log into the app, they’re asked to set up a practice routine. They should sit down with their parent and fill this out carefully, figuring out what time is going to work each day.

They’ll then get a reminder at these times for an extra nudge to keep with the routine they set out.


Clean, Modern and Streamlined


Functionality comes first. But that doesn’t mean it can’t be pretty. 

If this becomes your go-to practice app, you’re going to spend a lot of time in it. I think you deserve to look at something beautiful during the time you spend with us. ❤️




Can students log in on the website? Can teachers log in on the app? 


The app is only for students and the website is only for teachers. Teachers who want to use their dashboard on a tablet or phone can simply use it in a browser, it’s fully mobile responsive.


What do I do after I create a student account?


You need to send the login details directly to your students. Tell them to download the app by searching for “Vivid Practice App” and then login with the username (not email!) and password.


What are the four different practice modes? 


Blocked is what I recommend all students start with. It’s basically a checklist of the items on their list. 

Interleaved flips between different assignments every 4 minutes. This encourages students to focus on one issue at a time. The Bulletproof Musician is a great source to learn about the science behind interleaved practice.

Pomodoro incorporates break times. Students can choose different increments of time and how long their practice session will be.

Focused is for doing only one of their assignments. It builds in short practice stints and shorter breaks between.

For more about these modes, read this article.


Where can I find the assignment template sheets?


We have a resource page where we keep additional stuff for Vivid teachers here.


What features are you adding soon?


This roadmap shows some of the features we’re working on at the moment.

If there’s something we don’t do yet, but you’d love to see added, make sure to fill out our feature request form.


Can students earn points/rewards/badges/stickers?


The short answer is no. See the above section titled “No Gamification” if you’re wondering why. :) 


Can I assign how long students should practice each piece?


You can write this in the notes, but no, we won’t set certain amounts of time for a piece within the app. My goal is to help students develop long term habits that really work and thinking about their practice in terms of minutes they have to do doesn’t generally achieve that.


Is there a multi-teacher/school account? 


Vivid Practice designed to have only 1 teacher per account. I have personally had the multi-teacher Tonara and for our purposes here it was better to just have all students under 1 account because too much was hidden otherwise (we want to be able to take over if someone is absent, etc.) and because of the loss of history when they changed teachers. So with Vivid Practice, schools have 2 options:

  • Use one account and have all teachers and all students there. In the name field, you can put Studio Name rather than 1 teacher's name. This is the option I prefer as I have quite a close and involved team of teachers.
  • Use an account for each teacher. This is better for schools where each teacher is quite independent from each other.


Do you have a listening for practice or compare recording feature (like Tonara did)?


No, we don’t have those. Our priority is in creating good practice habits which includes trusting the student to practice during the time they’re logging on the app. You will know if they logged 5 hours but no progress has been made that something is up and you can investigate further! But having it spy on their practice encourages this sense that it’s us against them…and really we’re all in it for the same thing: so they can learn how to play cool things.