Online Lesson Planning – CloudSchool

I’ve just got to mention this opportunity now as there is a bunch of us all looking for ways in which technology can make our lesson planning and teaching loads easier to handle!

I will be working more with as I get ready for school and will report back as to what I think. I would also love to hear you all thing and what apps/tech you are using to help you prepare, teach and then report back to your administrators. Leave me a comment below! SHARE with me people, SHARE!


Patterning, a New Drum App for iPad – Musicians and Music Teachers Everywhere Take Note!

Patterning Large IconPatterning by Olympia Noise Co. is a new iPad app that has just been released in this past week! I would have written early but I was off to band camp and was a bit preoccupied. This app comes at a time when teachers are all busy getting prepared for upcoming classes that they just started teaching or soon will be. Even in this hectic business you need to do yourself a favor and pay attention to this new app! I don’t care what kind of music class you are teaching I am sure that somehow you will find a way to fit the use of this app into your curriculum!

Patterning is $9.99 – not quite an impulse buy but for any music teacher this app needs to be in your kit of must have apps! The flexibility and fun you will find with this app is going to surprise you!

From the moment I saw the screen shots of Patterning I figured we were going to be in for a treat, in for a special moment with an app that gave us a new approach to creating beats. Boy was I right!

Patterning Screen shotTake a look at the screen shot to the right here and you will see what I am talking about if you are familiar with working with drum machines at all! Usually you get this boring, blank grid of a bunch of squares that you have to start inputting where you want notes. Well in Patterning you get this nifty, colorful, circle that serves as the basis for entering where you want not only notes but a slew of other important info to be played at. On the left you can see the 8 slots you have that are your 8 “instruments” for your drum beat. In this case I have a Kick at the top then Snare, Closed HiHat, Open HHat, a Percussion Instrument, Rim Tap, Tom and another Closed HiHat. The rings around the circle represent each of the instruments. As you tap on any of the individual instruments that ring grows big while the others shrink.

Now comes the really fun stuff! Notice the waveform on the right? Yup, you guessed it! Patterning uses SAMPLES! Under that waveform are the different ways in which you can alter that sample – giving you some nice control and flexibility!

Take a look at the next screen shot- This one show you on the right side of the screen the different options you have for each ring – notice I said for EACH ring. Patterning Steps Screen ShotFor each instrument you can choose the following options –

  • Note value – from whole note to 32nd notes, including dotted notes and tuplets!
  • Steps in the pattern – from 1 to 64 (Most drum machines give you 16 and assume that those 16 steps are all 16th notes.
  • 5 different Playback modes – Forward, Backward, pendulum 1 & 2, Urn
  • An Auto-Rotate option! Oh man… are you seeing the opportunities yet?
  • and of course it don’t mean a thing if it ain’t got that swing!

This section should be blowing your mind and making little drummer boys run around inside your brain with all sorts of giddy excitement! The poly-rhythms you can get out of this app are gonna be crazy fun! The ability to set different lengths for each instrument alongside the auto-rotate and mode is going to give you a drum pattern that is going to sound fresh but still keep the groove flowing! This is not your Daddy’s drum machine people!

Patterning Pencil ScreenWe still are not done with the crazy fun options in this app either! Take a look at this last screen shot! When you click on the Pencil icon you get access to all the layers that you can program for each layer! Look at all the automation you get going PER INSTRUMENT!

  • Velocity
  • Coarse Tune
  • Fine Tune
  • Pan
  • Attack
  • Hold
  • Decay
  • Filter Cutoff
  • Filter Resonance
  • Delay Send
  • Reverb Send
  • and most awesome of all….. Probability! Now we have just ratcheted up the level of fresh sounding beats pounding out of your speakers at your next concert!

The pure genius built into this app is going to inspire you and your students to really get down and groovy! There are going to be rhythms and beats that you have never imagined coming out of this thing!

Thing of the fun ways to use this in a class room – get some beats going for warmups, use this as back up for your scales, use this to demonstrate all those poly-rhythms in your band and choir pieces, use this as the basis for kids creating improv recordings over. the list goes on and on. The ability for the students to see what you are doing when you mirror your iPad onto the big screen will make them appreciate it even more!

Here are a few more highlights –

  1. There are some real fun drum kits built right into the app – 63 of them to be exact. You will be able to load your own, create your own and buy others.
  2. Song mode allows you to string a bunch of multiple patterns into one long song
  3. The mixer is well designed giving even people like me with big fingers, easy access to control volume, solo, mute, pan, delay and reverb send.
  4. FX are built in – Reverb, Delay, EQ and even Distortion!
  5. MIDI capabilities are there too – the clock can easily be synced to other apps AND each of the 8 instrument slots can control external MIDI devices/apps!

Let me conclude with a full list of what Olympia Noise has on their web page about their app. At the very end of this post is a video so you can see the app in action!


  • Unique circular sequencer with independent settings for each loop in each pattern.
  • Variable loop lengths from 1 to 64 steps.
  • Step durations from a thirty-second note up to a whole note, with dotted notes and triplets along the way.
  • Get wild with loop modes : Forwards, Reverse, Urn (random without repeating), and two Pendulum modes.
  • Auto-Rotate feature spins the loop after each rotation.
  • Euclidean mode allows you to explore exotic polyrhythms like 7 against 11, 35 against 36, or even 3 against 4.
  • 64 bits of sample velocity trigger sensitivity.  (That’s a lot of sensitivity!)
  • Automation layers for animating track parameters : coarse and fine tuning, effects sends, panning, filter frequency and resonance, probability, and envelope settings.
  • Draw and erase tools.
  • Special “Pen Echo” mode for quick entry of repeating patterns.


  • Extensive built-in sample library.
  • Easy import of user samples with Dropbox, Audioshare, iCloud, or iTunes File Sharing.
  • Modify sample start and end times.
  • Sample gain.
  • Attack, hold, decay amplitude envelope for shaping your sounds.
  • Coarse and fine tuning.
  • 2 choke groups.

 Mixer Section

  • Per track multimode filter with variable resonance and cutoff frequency.
  • Per track delay and reverb sends.
  • Panning
  • Mute / Solo
  • Track Volume
  • Amazing visualizer!

 Drum Kits

  • 63 kits and counting!
  • An assortment of classic and modern factory drum kits included.
  • Artists drum kits curated and created by contemporary producers, engineers, and musicians.
  • More drum kits available regularly through free in-app downloads.
  • Create your own kits and export them to share with other Patterning users.

 Song Mode

  • Fill the timeline with patterns to create songs.
  • Seamlessly toggle timeline on and off during playback.
  • Loop mode for endless pattern sequences.
  • Double tap to jump to a block in the timeline.
  • Time signature and snap settings for maximum flexibility.

FX Section

  • Digital Delay with feedback filter.
  • Tempo sync & free delay time modes.
  • 3 band EQ.
  • Unique distortion unit.
  • Reverb.


  • Per track MIDI settings allows maximum flexibility for ports, channels, and pitch.
  • MIDI clock sync courtesy of the Spectacular Sync Engine.

Phase84 Synth App with a great Performance Interface – On Sale!


photoRetronyms has some great iPad music making apps available. Amongst those is one of their first standalone synth apps, Phase84. The app was released in December 2014 so it is not new but the price is :)

Phase84 LogoPhase84 is what’s known as a Phase Distortion synthesizer. This form of waveshaping synthesis has its roots in Casio’s brilliant CZ line of digital synthesizers from the 80s. It is designed to have the warmth of a subtractive (analog) synthesizer, yet be capable of the squelchy tones and sharp attacks of an FM synth. Phase84 in particular can create warm pads, glitchy sounds, dirty basses, filthy sweeps, screaming leads, and anything in-between.

What in the world does all that mean right? Well, here is my take on the app – Phase84 fits into that category of apps that try to give us music makers a new way to interact with our synths, a new way to perform and new ways to manipulate the sounds coming out of our iPads during a performance (or when we are just messing around exploring music!)

There are a ton of iPad apps out there that simply emulate hardware and give us a collection of great sounds but I would never actually perform without the aid of an external controller for those kind of apps.

Phase84 has a performance screen in fact – what does THAT tell you? It is made to perform with…. perform while touching the app and interacting with it! Take a look at all the options you have to control the sounds pumping out of this thing! Two XY pads, a 16 step gate sequencer, knobs, fliers, and the list goes on….

Phase84 Performance Screen

Another reason I like this app is that Retronyms has out a series of 8 videos that gives you an overview of some of the capabilities built into this app…. A Teacher could easily use these YouTube videos as lessons alongside the app for a classroom of Middle or High School students. How much fun would it be to have a classroom of iPads where the kids do an entire concert using apps like Phase84 – creating music that in no way shape or form could ever be created on traditional instruments/hardware?

Anyways – get it, play it, perform with it!


Here are those YouTube videos… and as always, if you do decide to grab this app while on sale…. use the link above because it will help support my blog here while taking nothing from the developers.


Korg Apps On Sale Right Now

Sorry I have not mentioned this earlier – it IS band camp season though. Plus I took four days to go with my kids to Unity Christian Music Festival last week. It was a wonderful time to hear bands I’ve never heard live, to hear bands I’ve never hear and to gain a renewal of musical worship and praise.

Korg has their music apps on sale until August 21st! The apps are up to 50% off currently. Might be a good time to grab an app you don’t have. Might be a good time to grab these for your school owned iPads too! Makes you budget go a bit further!

Before you ask, yes these apps really are worth that much money! If you have not bought any serious, professional level music instrument apps yet you may be expecting $5, $2 maybe even $8 but considering that these apps give you an excellent recreation of the original hardware that they are emulating…. which would cost you WAY more than the app would! Plus you can carry it around with you in your shoulder bag! These are serious music making apps people! The sound quality is outstanding and the workflow is outstanding!

There is a good reason to haul that old gear around with you on stage like the bass player from the David Crowder performance I saw last week – that old moog modular synth on stage looked REALLY REALLY REALLY COOL and the audience loves seeing you twist and turn those knobs! Nothing on an iPad will replace that experience but these apps are pretty sweet! (Check out the picture at the bottom for that synth from the David Crowder setup!)

Korg Gadget Small IconKorg Gadget – $29.99 (down from $39.99)

Korg iM1 LargeKorg iM1 – $19.99 (down from $29.99)

Korg Module SmallKorg Module – $29.99 (down from $39.99)

iPolySixKorg iPolysix – $19.99 (down from $29.99)

iMS20Korg iMS-20 – $19.99 (down from $29.99)

iKaossilator Small IconKorg iKaossilator – $9.99 (down from $19.99)

iElectribe Gorillaz EditionKorg iELECTRIBE Gorillaz Edition – $9.99 (down from $19.99)

iElectribeKorg iELECTRIBE – $9.99 (down from $19.99)



(and just in case you were wondering – that guitar player is a legend… played in the Ragamuffin Band with Rich Mullins! I loved seeing and learning of some connections in the music world between bands of old and bands of new!)

My Most Used Music Apps – UnRealBook and ForScore both updated today!

unrealBook   ForScoreIt is unreal how many musicians still aren’t aware of apps like UnRealBook and ForScore! These are iPad toting musicians too!

Using my iPad for reading my sheet music is one of THE reasons I bought an iPad! Back in the very beginning we had to wait for musicians to develop us an app made for musicians! Aron Nelson was one of the first with his UnRealBook. ForScore is a team of developers and they soon came along. GigBook would be a third app I’d suggest as a possibility for storing all your digital sheet music in.

These apps are being used every day by real musicians who perform, teach and just play music for the fun of it. Billy Joel is using UnRealBook on his tour in fact! UnRealBook is one of the apps that still supports the iPad1!

Anyways – back to the news of today – UnRealBook Small IconUnRealBook gets a small update and ForScore Small IconForScore gets a massive update taking it to version 9.

What’s New in Version 9.0

• Set goals and gain valuable insights into your playing habits with the new Dashboard feature
• Place Buttons anywhere on a page to change the tempo, control audio playback, send MIDI commands, and more with a single tap
• Access forScore’s audio tools right from the main control bar and effortlessly switch between the metronome, pitch pipe, and tuner
• Organize your scores with a new “labels” metadata field, and rename most fields to better suit your needs
• Create stamps from images in your photos library, now up to 72 pixels wide and tall (or 144 pixels for Retina displays)
• Open files almost instantly with smart on-disk caching of the first page of your most commonly viewed scores
• Customize your forScore experience with new full-screen menu and metronome sound options in the Accessibility section of the settings panel
• Add delays between sent MIDI commands to ensure that your device handles instructions properly
• Use the setlist creator to add bookmarks to your setlist even if the “score menu includes bookmarks” setting is disabled
• Reuse your favorite colors with saved swatches, available in all of forScore’s color pickers

Explain Everything – Essential Teacher App (Getting update AND price increase)

Explain Everything AppExplain Everything small iconExplain Everything is one of those apps that I purchased early on in working with my iPad as a teacher in the class room. Tomorrow, or at least very soon, it will be going to version 3 with some nice new features, redesigned workflow and other benefits. The price will also be going up from $2.99 to $3.99 – thanks to my Twitter alerts I became aware of this. Bonus – if your school uses the volume purchase program you can get a 50% discount on the price!

Explain Everything is available now for iOS, Windows and they have just released a ChromeBook version as well!

Not sure what Explain Everything is? This app is one of the best app purchases I’ve made and offers an amazing set of capabilities for such a tiny price!

Explain Everything is an easy-to-use design, screencasting, and interactive whiteboard tool that lets you annotate, animate, narrate, import, and export almost anything to and from almost anywhere.

Power Point, Interactive whiteboard, Screencasting – it’s all about ways to grab the attention of the students and help them learn in new ways.

This process goes two ways –

1)I use Explain Everything as a teacher to create engaging videos that help me explain things we are working on in class. Where some teachers use the whiteboard – I use Explain Everything.

2)Have the students use Explain Everything to create presentations that demonstrates their comprehension of the material they are working on. Imagine giving students the ability to Add new or existing photos and videos, Import PDF, PPT, DOC, XLS, Keynote, Pages, Numbers, and RTF files from Evernote, Dropbox, Box, GDrive, WebDAV, Email, iTunes, and any app that allows you to open these files types using “Open In…”. Export MP4 movies, PDF documents, PNG images, or XPL project files directly from your iPad and iPhone.

Those boring ‘ol book reports/stand up front and talk about it presentations will never be the same!

Check out their web site for some videos and check out the ability to animate what is on the screen!

Screen Shot 2015-08-12 at 7.50.13 PM Screen Shot 2015-08-12 at 7.50.38 PM

Here is a YouTube video about creating a VideoCast:

Reminder – Don’t get crazy and try iOS9 public beta UNLESS….

if you are like most humans you want that new shiny operating system…. Yu  know the one that Apple put out a PUBLIC BETA for. Come on…. It can’t be THAT bad can it? Why would Apple let ANYONE download it then?

I’ve said it before and I’m saying it again right now! Don’t do it if your one iPad you have available to you is the lifeblood of your current gig! Like me, I’m getting ready for band camp and school. You might have an upcoming concert that you are going to use your iPad for PDF sheet music with an app like ForScore. Or what about using an app like Cubasis as backing tracks for your solo gig next Friday. These things are our lifeblood.

D O     N O T    U P D A T E to the beta! Not everything is working yet!

Just wanted to be nice and remind you…. Let us other crazy people work out the kinks. For now watch the pretty movies and read the shiny Apple website to fulfill your wanton desire for the shiny new stuff!


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