iBooks for Music Educators with iPad/s

Help_I_am_an_elementary_music_teacher_with_one_or_more_iPads2.225x225-75The newest book I would suggest is actually free and is titled, “Help! I am an elementary music teacher with one or more iPads!” by Amy Burns

This a free resource book that provides elementary music educators with lessons and resources about numerous apps for classrooms with one iPad, a few iPads, or 1:1 iPad music classroom. The book includes lesson plans, video demonstrations of the apps mentioned and lots of ideas and information about how to incorporate iPads into Elementary Music Education.

Amy has a blog you should all be following by the way in your RSS feeds at – http://musicroomburns.net/Amy_M._Burns.html


iPads in Music Ed BookAnother great iBook is by Dr. Christopher J. Russell titled “iPads In Music Education“. This book was released in August 2013 and then updated last in December 2013. In his book Chris shares his wealth of knowledge about using iPads in all levels of music ed. He covers apps lists and even hardware like the Zivix JamStix. Assessment, video conferencing, classroom management, 1:1 settings and the latest iPads and iOS7 are all covered.



Practical TechChris has another book that is titled “Practical Technology for Music Education“. In this book other tech is covered besides focusing on just iPads, so you Android and Chrome Book users will be happy as well! Chris has spent many years teaching with technology in the music classroom.

In this book Chris takes you through things like the theories of tech integration, different levels of tech in music ed, different types of tech, like iPads, whiteboards, desktops and chrome books. SmartMusic, MIDI Labs, iBands, phones, the cloud, and app lists are all talked about and discussed. In fact he even gets into iBooks Authoring software, Bloom’s Taxonomy and Music Standards are all part of the fun as well. Of course I think one of the important chapters is the fact that he talks about blogging and why he (and YOU) should be blogging.

Chris also has a blog that all iPad toting Music Educators should be following – http://techinmusiced.wordpress.com


Recorder InteractiveThis next book is for anyone teaching recorders to kids, or trying to learn themselves for that matter. I really wish I was teaching recorders in the classroom just so I could use this book! The book is titled “Recorder Interactive: A Magical Method” and is written by Joanna Sisk-Purvis. A wonderful book full of multimedia that will capture and hold the attention of even the squirrelist  kids in your class. 

The book starts at from the very beginning and covers over an octave of notes, basic playing techniques while including 30 songs, play-along tracks, interactive quizzes, pop-overs and ear training challenges.

Guess what… Joanna has a blog you should follow too if you are a music educator – http://motleymuse.blogspot.com

Essential ElementsOf course I would be very remiss if I did not mention that the Essential Elements Book 1 has an iBook version that proves an amazing tool to use in band class. Of course students with iPads should also use this version of the book instead of, or in addition to, the printed version.

Even though I use SmartMusic with the Essential Elements Book built into that, I still use the iBooks version. In fact I have the conductors book and several of the students books scanned and in UnRealBook as well. I use UnRealBook because it allows me to have an index easily and quickly created so that I can find any page or any song with just a few taps of the screen – unlike ForScore which takes mush more set up to work with a book like this. THANK YOU ARON for giving us that capability!

Interactive ListeningThe last iBook today is an amazing approach to music history/listening. If I would have had this book while still in school it would have changed my entire approach to listening and music! Peter Carney and Brian Felix have written “Interactive Listening: A New Approach to Music

This book takes the reader on a totally engrossing, multimedia journey through the history, science and diverse languages of music. The book takes you from Tibetan Monks, a dixieland parade, and even DubStep, crossing 35,000 years and every continent. Discussing great topics such as why music has been written in caves, ships, and cathedrals. This is a book for the eyes, ears and mind – delighting you with tons of videos, sound and pictures. Beethoven, Miles, The Beatles…. they are all covered.

Apps for Marching Band Directors

What apps did you use during Band Camp? If you used another app during Marching Season leave me a comment below – I would love to check it out and add it to this list!

Here is what was on my home screen for easy one touch access all week.

ForScore Small IconForScore – These are the apps that hold all of my music for all of my groups that I teach – parts, scores, marching, pep band, songs for church, songs for anything!

UnRealBook Small IconUnRealBook – These are the apps that hold all of my music for all of my groups that I teach – parts, scores, marching, pep band, songs for church, songs for anything! UnRealBook has the advantage of sharing entire set lists with other people easier than ForScore. UnRealBook also lets me set up an entire index for books like Essential Elements so that I can quickly jump to a specific song/page in the book – this is way easier than setting up bookmarks in ForScore.

Avid Scorch Small IconAvid Scorch – It takes a bit of work to get all of my music into Sibelius but once I do then I am able to access any part I want with the tap of a button! Even easier than setting up all the parts in ForScore or UnRealBook.

DrillBook Next Small IconDrillBookNext – My newest app that has become one of those apps I will use constantly all season long! I will never again teach marching drill without using this app!

Remind Small IconRemind Safe Classroom Communication – THE tool to use for communicating with parents and students with mass texts. So easy for them to sign up and they love getting the Reminders from me about times, uniforms, place to be, things to bring and upcoming dates. Easy way to send out changes to schedules because of rain issues for instance or time changes for arriving back at the school on the bus.

AnyTune Icon SmallAnyTune Pro+ – If we are not actually playing our instruments while learning the drill then we are using this app. It is THE reason we are able to get so much learned in such a little amount of time! With this app we can set up bookmarks for each set, change the tempo, and then jump directly to any specific spot in the recording. If we want we can even loop back and forth between two spots.

Click Designer Small IconClick Designer – Great metronome app to that allows you to set up your entire song set by set if needed, then you will have a click track that is automated. So cool for marching bands and concert bands where the tempo does not stay the same for the entire piece.

TonalEnergy Small IconTE Tuner – My tuner of choice

FileMakerGo Small IconFileMaker Go13 – Amazing way to keep track of my students records, instrument inventory, uniforms lists and so on. You will need the desktop app to really make full use of this app though! You could simply use some of the builtin starter solutions but to customize it for you and your exact needs the desktop app is needed.

DropBox Small IconDropBox – My Cloud for all of my active music and documents like camp contract, camp rosters and students medical forms

PDF Expert5 Small IconPDF Expert – My go to app for annotating any PDF/Document that needs it. Has some cool options for when I am using AirPlay to display documents on the big screen for the entire class to see.

Documents Small IconDocuments – I use this access all my documents that I keep on my iPad. More importantly I also use this to access all of my cloud services from within one app – DropBox, Box, Google Drive and the list goes on.

Calendars 5Calendars 5 – I’ve covered this before – great calendar app with natural language input and awesome UI

GoodTask Small IconGoodTask – The best To-Do list I have found! I love this one because it really helps me be able to setup yearly To-Do lists  but not have to see those tasks that are months away. I still use Siri and Apple’s Reminders app but only to create tasks – It is very distracting with most of these apps to see a task that isn’t due for weeks or even months or even a year away! I don’t want to see it until it’s time to deal with it!

tweetbot3 iphoneTweetbot – The app I use for Twitter. I do have to admit that I am liking the newest version of the official Twitter app though.

Facebook – Yes, I use social media for my high school kids and parents – they are ALL on there. This means that they don’t have to open another app and look in a different place than where they already are! I do have separate accounts for my personal and my work though.

Traktor DJ for iPad now has SuperSlicer – Great way for students to earn money!

I am always on the look out for ways students can earn money in the music field. One of those ways that is always in high demand is for them to DJ for events. These could be at school (school dances and pep rallies), parties (the nonalcoholic ones of course), weddings and all sorts of community events!

Traktor DJTraktor DJ for iPad has been a great choice for an app to use for this sort of gig. Now with the release of their in-app-purchase (for $1.99) they have at their fingertips a new tool that makes Traktor an interesting app to look at for maybe even more than just DJ’ing!

The SuperSlicer is pretty slick – it allows you easy ways to slice up the music using the touch interface then you can loop, replay, add stutter effects and all sorts of little tricks. All of that means kids get to be creative and come up with new mixes based off from what very well might be old and tired music! You have to watch the video below to get the idea…

For us music teachers who are not quite as music techy and not really interested in mixing our own beats to become the next hit DJ for the teen crowd… I still think that this app offers us “old” school people a few interesting possibilities…

  1. Taktor finds the beat of the song for you! It’s scary good at doing this too – got that marching band tune you aren’t sure of the metronome marking for? Load it into Traktor and boom you have it! (Yes, I know you could pull out a metronome app and tap along with the song while it plays but then you wouldn’t be able to do #2….)
  2. There are 8 locate points that are quickly and easily set so that you can find any portion of the song that you want to jump to again and again! No more searching and ALMOST finding the right spot!
  3. I think this could open up new doors as a performance instrument! Anyone have an electronic music class?
  4. Think how cool you could be in class hitting that stutter button and mixing it up in the middle of choir rehearsal! The kids will look at you in a whole new light!

Here’s that video….


Pocket Studio by XME is Free! A 98 Track Digital Audio Workstation on your iPad…

What’s to think about it’s free! Go get it – Especially if you haven’t bought yourself an app that does the the whole digital audio workstation bit yet!

Plus their BeatPad Small IconBeatPad is on sale for $2.99 (down from $5.99). BeatPad and PocketStudio work hand in hand. Pass your beats you create in BeatPad off to PocketStudio then record your keys, vocal and guitar into PocketStudio. Don’t forget to add some live horns in there too!

Pocket Studio LargePocket Studio by XME here is a list of top features to tempt you even more….

• 96 Tracks! YES, NINETY SIX TRACKS! Create as many tracks up to 96 as your iOS device will let you. 
• BeatPad midi plugin: Tap the folder icon/new/track/midi then tap the Midi Track’s input button to select BeatPad. 
• Audiobus
• Record Digital Audio from devices plugged into dock connector 
• Record audio and midi tracks in each session 
• Available reverb and delay effect sends for each track 
• Unlimited Songs 
• Beautiful Design 
• Import Audio from Your Music Library  
• Import audio from email 
• Record audio from thousands of online radio stations 
• Quantize midi tracks to keep notes in sync 
• Tap and hold metronome button to reveal metronome UI 
• Tap and hold Input button to quickly reveal input plugin (BeatPad or Online Radio for example) 
• 118 BeatPad Kits available for download 
• Quick Punch Recording 
• Tap Docs button/NewTrack/Midi then set BeatPad as the input to create BeatPad midi tracks

BeatPad LargeFEATURES 
- Create Custom Kits by sampling microphone audio or Importing audio from email and the web! 
- Share your custom kits with friends! 
- Download Kits made by others from around the world 
- Universal App Installs on iPhone, iPad & iPod Touch! 
- Quantize: Automatic Note Sync keeps you on beat
- Email Your Beats to EVERYONE! 
- Upload Your Beats to SoundCloud, YouTube & Your FaceBook wall 
- Professional Sound Banks used by Real Producers
- 8 Channel Music Sequencing 
- Type and Save Your Lyrics to Each Song 
- Easy to use interface.. 
- Send your song files to friends for collaboration

Most Important Thing When You Get An iPad (iPod or iPhone)

blue-clouds-iconI’ve had this discussion with SO many people that it started to scare me that there are so many who don’t understand the first step when setting up your new iOS device!

STEP ONE – Set up an iCloud account and turn that sucker ON!

STEP TWO – Start playing with your new device!

Even if you are like my wife who never even realizes that she is using iCloud Step One is vital in the long run! You could use only Yahoo mail for instance, you wouldn’t even NEED to use the iCloud mail account for email. You might NEVER even look at your PhotoStream and honestly you may not ever even realize that there is such a thing! In fact, you may NEVER realize that you could go to a web browser on a normal computer to check your calendar for the day or to look up someones address and phone number. That’s OK!


Because in the situation that you actually need all the benefits that iCloud give you, there is nothing I can do for you if it’s not turned on.

You know when you used your iPhone to take all those pictures of your grandpa in the last month before he passed away? Well if your little sister gets you iPhone and changes the security code to something none can figure out and she doesn’t even know what the heck it was…. well, those pictures are gone too!

You know when you dropped that iPad onto the sidewalk outside and it hit on the corner and shattered? Well, when you go to turn your new iPad on you are going to have to find all those phone numbers and addresses from someplace!

What about all those passwords you saved in your Notes app? Hope you also wrote them down on a napkin and shoved it in your sock drawer because it’s going to be a bugger if you can’t recall all of those – think of it…. go ahead… what are you going to get locked out of? Your bank account… your mail accounts…. your wi-fi router… your Pay-Pal account…. AHHHHHHHHHH…..


So with iCloud turned on none of the horror stories above (all true stories by the way) would have occurred.

When I bought my iPhone the last time the salesperson asked if I needed help transferring all my numbers over from my old phone. I smiled, shook my head and proceeded to type in my iCloud user name and password (which I DO have memorized). Before I got to my car, al of my contact, calendars and email were already on my new phone. By the time I got back home and wasn’t driving I was enjoying the retina display to browse through my last 1000 pictures I had imported into iPhoto, man they look good on that screen too!

Safari bookmarks are synced if you would like them to be!

Currently I am trading iPads my wife’s iPad for another one with twice the amount of memory. As I go through the old device I am enjoying the fact that so many apps have used DropBox to store information on. This means that I can simply go to the new iPad, open that app, sign into DropBox and wa-la! My information is there!

These days more and more apps are allowing us to utilize other cloud services besides Apple’s iCloud and DropBox. We have many more viable options now…. Box, Google Drive, OnDrive and SugarSync to name a few. Of course we can’t forget SoundCloud.

For us musicians -

  • ForScore just put out an update that allows us now to access Box, Google Drive and OneDrive.
  • Documents by Readdle – This is the app I use as a gateway to ALL of my cloud accounts – It even allows me to access my personal Box account PLUS the Box account for the band!
  • PDF Reader – Same access as Documents
  • Cubasis – Allows access to DropBox and SoundCloud

The Cloud is awesome! Embrace it and dig in to see what app developers have taken the time to make YOUR life better by integrating the Cloud with your favorite apps!


Practice+ Tuner, Metronome and More App – iOS metronome for those who want to record their practice

Practice+ Tuner Large IconDynamic App Design has just released a new app aimed at those of us who need to use Practice while using a metronome+ tuner+ recorder. See what he did there… It’s not just a Metronome, it’s a Tuner, it’s a recorder, it’s a metronome….  it’s a Tuner, it’s a recorder, it’s a metronome… it’s a Tuner, it’s a recorder, it’s a metronome. …

The app is called Practice+ Tuner Small IconPractice+ Tuner, Metronome, Recorder and More… and costs $3.99. When you go looking for it in the app store type in more than just Practice+ because that will not find the app. Better yet… just click the affiliate link above.

Dynamic App Design already had another app out called Metronome+ that actually is a free app (with in-app-purchases) and this app is actually designed for both iPad and iPhone whereas Practice+ is only designed for iPhone currently. That means you just have to use it in 2x mode.

So why am I writing about this? Well, it’s marching season and I have been on the hunt for great metronomes and this is one of the ones I like! That’s why I write about any app here on this blog – if I am writing about it then you know it has my seal of approval – what ever THAT means.

So let’s take a look….

Practice+ RecorderThe first thing that caught my eye about this was that it has a built-in recorder inside of this metronome app! You pick the tempo you want, set the accented beats to what ever you would like, select the subdivisions and then make sure you have your favorite sound clicking away. whew… that is a LOT of options and there is a solution 

Then you tap the mic button, then tap the Rec button, start the metronome and start practicing. The app then records your practice for later review.

There is no editing the recordings as that is not the focus of this app – you record, give it a name and if you want share it through email or AirDrop. Actually, you can’t even edit the name after it’s done so get it right the first time or it will drive you nuts (see my typo?)

Practice+ SettingsPractice+ SetLsitsThe next feature that caught my eye is the fact that this app will save playlists for you. Remember ALL those settings we talked about above? Well, you don’t have to reset those every time for all the songs you are practicing! Simply store it as a favorite in your setlist.

It is possible to select different counts that are accented – so in the example to the left I have 5/4 as my time signature and the first count is accented along with the fourth count. If you have a time signature like 7/8 selected you have different options available like 3+2+2 or 2+3+2 or 2+2+3. much needed and much appreciated!

Then I also have selected 8th notes as my sub-division. With the sub-divisions there is a nifty feature called Complex Subdivisions – this adds some nice variation to the volume and tone of whatever sound you have elected as your click. 

Practice+ has a looping mode where you can set up how many times you would like to practice a section of your music while increasing the tempo after each repetition. So you can see below that I want four measures of click in 4/4 while hearing 8th note subdivisions at a tempo of 167BPM. After four measures the tempo is going to increase by 3 BPM’s. In the box to the right you can see that the app keeps track of your practice session for you – I started this session at 152BPM and did 5 reps to end up at 167BPM for a total of :34 seconds.

Practice+ Looping

There is also a tuner built into the app as well. The tuner will either listen to you play or the app will also generate a tone for you to listen to.

There are 5 different themes(colors) to pick from, you can see that I like purple!

Dynamic App Designs Metronome+ app that I mentioned has most of these same features and comes as a free app BUT you have severely limited options until you pay. Each mode is $1.99 (Options Mode, Record Mode, Pitch Mode, Practice Mode, and the Setlist Mode) or you can just pay $3.99 to unlock all modes as well as future modes. Metronome+ is designed for iPad but I am not so sure that it really looks all THAT much better than just using the Practice+ app in 2x mode.

This app goes into my folder of apps to use frequently! The fact that so man options are built in and I will not have to jump back and forth will be nice!

The Doors iPad App is Currently FREE!

The DoorsThe Doors iPad app is offering you a good taste of what the app has to offer for FREE! There is an in-app-purchase to unlock all of the content.

A comprehensive look at all things Doors, wrapped up in a beautiful app that will keep your interest WAY longer than that crappy re-en on TV tonight! Plus, who knows? You might even be able to use it as part of a music history lesson in your music class this year (actually, with as much content as there is in this app, you would be able to make more than just one lesson! Just be warned that the rating on this is 9+ for infrequent/Mild profanity and crude humor. I might not just turn kids loose with the app to go explore.

This type of app is one good reason that we teachers MUST have iPads with at least 64GB’s and I don’t even think the 128GB is an unreasonable thought. Especially since you can find the 128GB iPad Air in the refurb store every now and then which brings the price down!

Anyways…. go get the app!


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