You Have To Go Slow To Go Fast!

Time stops for no one!

Time stops for no one!

That is what I tell my band students all the time. We are gonna have to make some bad sounds in order to sound good. This is what I tell my band students all the time in rehearsals.

This also applies to using tech in the classroom. It takes some serious time invested in getting my iPad setup and ready for use in teaching. The first reason I bought an iPad for, on the first day they were released, was to put all my music on it in PDF format. That way I did not have to lug around folders and folders of scores plus it would also mean I did not have to go searching to find the correct scores in the middle of rehearsal.

So here is the process and why I say it takes time, a lot of time!

  1. Pick the music out
  2. Pull one original of every part out along with the score
  3. Take those down to the copy room and scan them (we call this process “digitizing the music”. I say we because thankfully I have students helpers that help out here.
  4. Once scanned it shows up in my email. I open that attachment and rename it then save it into DropBox. Since Mavericks has been released this process is a tad easier. I double click that attachment and once it opens I can rename the PDf, Tag it (love those tags!), and choose where to save it to right from the top menu bar on the PDF. (If I open that email on my iPad then I use the Open In menu to open that PDF attachment in the DropBox app. That way I can file it and rename the file right away. That also allows me to access the PDF file from any other app on the iPad)
  5. The next step is to open UnReal, GigBook, or ForScore on my iPad. I then access DropBox from ForScore and import the files that I need.
  6. The next step is to make a set list for each band that I conduct and insert all the correct PDF’s into those set lists so that it is easier in rehearsal to find the next song. I could just use the search function but once I have all the songs for all the bands I conduct in the iPad there is a pretty long list of songs. It takes too long to search for a song in the middle of a rehearsal with a group of middle students when they all hold noise makers in their hands!
  7. Once set lists are set up I could stop there and my life would be made easier my just having the sheet music in the digital domain BUT I think there is one other thing we can do! Let’s link a song from out iTunes library to the PDF file so that we can easily play a demonstration recording for our students.
  8. That means we actually have to have a recording of that piece in our iTunes Library! So sometimes I have to go make a recording, go download it from somewhere, or go buy it. Sometimes I use a service like Keepvid.com to pull a video from YouTube.
  9. Then once the MP3 is in my iTunes library I can then tap on the link button A)in ForScore (tap on the song title in the top of the screen – at the bottom of the menu that pops up is that link button) B)in UnRealBook you use the music menu at the top of the screen to link a song to the PDF.
  10. HINT – In ForScore you can actually link several MP3’s to a single PDF – so If you are a choir teacher for instance you could have a recording of the soprano part, another recording of the alto part and also a recording of the accompaniment all linked to the PDF of the music. Then if you are not a great piano player you don’t have to try to stumble through the playing of the parts, just play the MP3!

Now, since I teach 4 middle school bands that each play 3-4 pieces for the concerts and 2 high school groups that will play 6-7 pieces each you can start to see why this process takes so long.

BUT

Here is the final action to be taken…. Once this is done for each piece the first time you then make sure to make backups of you digitized PDF music and also backups of your iTunes library! This way the next time you perform and rehearse these pieces this entire process will take just moments! It is well worth the time up front because your rehearsals are easier to plan for and carry out as well!

I am very interested in how everyone is using the new “Tags” in Mavericks. I have started using tags more now and started changing the way I name my files. Now instead of putting the composer and arranger in the file name I simply put that info into tags. How are tags changing your workflow?

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One Response to “You Have To Go Slow To Go Fast!”

  1. Paul Says:

    Time stops for no one! So very very true. The process might take some time but the results are worthwhile.


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