Child's Play

Family Members Create Piano Lesson Book — On iPad

Posted: November 7, 2012

When Laura Swagerty started to write a piano music book for her three children about two years ago, the iPad wasn’t even in stores yet.

She just wanted to create simple, traditional Medieval-themed sheet music for her kids, who love dragons, knights and the like.

But it got slightly more complicated.

Last month, Swagerty, a piano teacher in Broadway, — with a team including her husband, Troy, her brother, Tim Cox, and his wife, Jenny, both of Dayton, Ohio — released a music book full of early-to-intermediate piano solos for the iPad.

“Medieval Melodies: A Fairy Tale Suite” is now available for download.

‘Ahead Of The Game’

“We wanted to get ahead of the game,” Troy Swagerty said. “A lot of publishers are headed this way.”

Each person in the team took a piece of the pie to work on. Artist Troy Swagerty created all the hand-drawn illustrations — everything from castles to princesses to waterfalls. Laura Swagerty wrote all seven pieces of music for the project. Cox has taken on all the technical and business-related duties, while his wife has been editing the project, including storybooks that the Swagertys are working on to accompany the piano suites.

In addition to the storybook, the team is creating a second piano suite for younger students. “Medieval Melodies” is the first of a three-part series.

“We’re hoping that we’re kind of on the leading edge of this,” Tim Cox said, referring to creating an interactive music book on Apple’s relatively new iBooks format.

A Family Effort

The more traditional eBooks format primarily supports text only, but Apple gave the concept more legs with iBooks, especially for artists like Troy Swagerty, who used Inspire Pro to hand draw the project’s illustrations.

“We’re one of the first ones really taking advantage of some of the capabilities of that new format,” Tim Cox said.

The Swagertys are presenting their work at the Virginia Music Teachers Association fall conference in Winchester this week. They also plan to contact local music stores to discuss selling their product.

The team is certainly hoping for success with their idea, but they’ve also thoroughly enjoyed the process.

“It has been a fun project to work on with family, so I’ve really enjoyed that aspect of it,” Tim Cox said. “And hopefully it’ll take off.”

The Swagertys claim they’ve worked together well. For some evidence, Laura Swagerty says her husband came up with the art and idea for the song “Night of the Unicorn,” which she consequently put music to, while she came up with the notes first in other instances.

“It’s kind of like marriage in a sense,” Troy Swagerty said. “We kind of work off of each other.”

And of course, the original catalyst for the project concept was the couple’s children — Trent, 10, Travis, 7, and Amber, 5.

“We want to provide fun and clean projects for kids,” Troy Swagerty said
For more information or to purchase the book, visit

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