Ok people listen up because this is important! If you don’t have an app to take care of all you passwords and vital information like card numbers, bank numbers and everything else you can think… More
I am currently at the Michigan Music Conference where all the states music educators meet up for our annual Professional Development that is so very vital to our mental stability as music educators!
I am pleasantly surprised by the high number of sessions being presented about song writing this year!
One great session I attended was by John Churchill from Go Like The Wind School a Montessori school in Ann Arbor, MI. John has been doing composition with his students for like 11 years now. He’s finding great success and satisfaction in this process – satisfaction for himself and more importantly for his students/school/community.
I simply want to point you in the direction of his schools BandCamp site where they have an amazing collection of student created albums from the past 11 years! Here is John website as well- http://johnchurchville.com
If you are not using these tools with your students you should be!
The last thing I want to leave you with is a discussion that Chris Russell from techinmusiced.com and I had tonight. Chris is actually here in Michigan and finally we got a chance to meet face to face. I say finally because we have “known” each other ever since the iPad was released and we both started blogging about it but since we live about 12 hours we have never actually met! Chris came to the Michigan Music Conference to present this year though so it’s been good to sit and talk as well as get a chance to watch him present. We also took the opportunity to record out 7th ME&T podcast while we were sitting in the same room! Look for that soon!
One of our discussions was music composition using todays technology – using tech like Ableton Live and Loops and Roli Blocks and the list could go on and on. It is such a different approach than we had back in the day we were learning traditional music composition techniques on traditional instruments. It is a great discussion to have with other music teachers!
Anyways here was my main point – put this tech into the hands of kids, give them some gentle guidance along with some restrictions (that they may or may not even realize is there) and let them go! Let them play!
To show you what can happen take a listen to this composition that was posted tonight in the iPad Musician group from another one of the people that is in my online professional development group that I will probably never get a chance to meet face to face because he is from Australia! Here is his post….
A bit of Saturday morning gadget fun. Lexington leads played by my 5 year old son, using ac sabre. Quite amusing to watch him get into it 😃
Their composition is at the bottom of this post. The two apps he mentions are….
AC Sabre is an iPhone only app because it uses the gyroscope in your iPhone and turns it into amazing messages that then control other apps like Gadget in this case – or go watch this YouTube video the developer made about controlling the Model 15 app – outstanding!
The AC Sabre MIDI Instrument and Motion Controller app is 60% off until January 31st by the way so it is currently only $4.99!
Here is that song father and son came up with –
Todays post is one that may surprise some of you. It is a post about lighting for your concerts, musical performances, music room, podcasts, or for that matter your home. Wait a minute… did I really just go there to the place of mixing performance lighting with home lighting? Yup! Stick with me and read along…
I’ve been fortunate to teach in a very supportive district with wonderful administrators and community not to mention great students and amazing parents. This is what led our district to build a better facility than a gymnasium for our performing arts groups! The new facility is not a full fledged auditorium but is pretty close! One area I’ve not been happy with in the performance area is colored lighting. We have pretty decent coverage with real stage lighting and a full fledged light board in the control booth. But white gets boring after awhile. We’ve done the gel thing but it is now 2017 and I know there are better options out there! LED lighting and the options there are just so much more amazing and affordable than what we had as choices 10 years ago. I also made the decision that I wanted lights that moved too!
So I had two options –
ONE – go the traditional route and find the money to buy DMX lights that you would traditionally find on a stage and that would be controlled by a traditional light board. This option is obviously a great choice but also would require some serious funds. I didn’t have immediate access to funds like that.
TWO – find an alternative. So I looked around and decided that possibly these fancy new “smart lights” from companies like Philips Hue and LIFX might work for us. This option also allowed me to start smaller – from one LIFX bulb costing $45 or a Phillips Hue Starter kit costing $199 and giving me 3 bulbs.
MY CHOICE? I think you would make the same choice as I did – start raising funds while we started small!
WHAT DID I FIND? I decided that since I had no one to really give me direct answers or to go visit to see what they were doing, that I would buy several of the LIFX bulbs as well as a Philips Hue Starter kit. How else was I really going to find out for sure which was best with out testing them!?
Part of the decision was that if we could DJ several middle school dances we could raise some of the funds to get started. So off we went to DJ. We got paid and made a trip to the store.
I came away with 4 Philips Hue bulbs and a Philips lightStrip and also 4 LIFX bulbs.
Then I had to find a solution to control BOTH brands of lights. Each brand has a great app for it’s own bulbs but I sure did not want to be jumping back and forth between apps during a performance. In my searching I found several apps that I thought would be great choices for filling in two separate needs –
- Light DJ Pro – I needed an app to use the lights to DJay dances – Kevin at NRTHRNLIGHTS, LLC has created an amazing app called Light DJ Pro – Light Shows for Philips Hue & LIFX
- Lightbow -I needed an app to be able to set the mode as I so chose for any given situation and Peter, from Brooklyn has written Lightbow that fits that need
THE HOOK UP – Upon getting the bulbs back to the school I started to find the reality of the differences between the two brands. Philips Hue requires their hub to connect everything to. That hub has to be connected to your wi-fi. The proved to be an issue at my school as the tech people did not want any part of my light bulbs on their network! Of course the LIFX require wi-fi access as well and we had the same issue there. Easy solution was that I set up an extra wi-fi router and created my own “lights” net work. I think the extra hassle of Philips having the hub for sure gives LIFX the first point for ease in set up. LIFX gets another point when it gets to be time to connect with another app – each time you want to connect with a new app Philips requires you to go push the connect button on the hub – LIFX is now two points up.
Once setup you will find that these bulbs are simply amazing to work with!
One beauty is that you can use whatever lamp fixture you want to put the bulbs in. I stole a couple of lamps from home, leaving the old dumb bulbs at home. Then I went to WalMart and bought like 6 el cheapo lamps for like $7 a piece for the other bulbs. This is a tie.
Using the LIFX and Philips apps are both easy to figure out and easy to operate. Both now have iPad as well as iPhone apps that work very well. So this is a tie here too.
Bonus – both brands have an Apple Watch app as well! Tie
Philips gets HUGE bonus points though because it supports Apple Home Kit. Now this is HUGE because using SIRI I can control the Philips Hue bulbs! It’s pretty cool to use my Apple Watch and say things like “SIRI, turn my lights on!” or “SIRI make my lights red at 50%!” – Personally this is HUGE for me at HOME, at school not such a big deal. Still Philips take this round!
LIFX gets points though for their colors and brightness. There is a noticeable difference in the richness and brightness of LIFX vs Philips bulbs. Now please don’t take this the wrong way – I was every worried that any of these bulbs would be bright enough to make a difference on my huge stage let alone simply in a small room or even on my desk. Both lights are great but LIFX gets an edge here!
LIFX also gets one last extra point because of the response time when controlling the lights. When using either of the two apps I mentioned above to make changes to all lights at once the LIFX are FAST while the Philips are always lagging behind. Again, don’t take this the wrong way because Philips isn’t exactly a turtle but LIFX is for sure FAST!
I have now used the lights at two middle school dances and also two Christmas concerts. They have exceeded my hopes for the dances and they also added such a nice ambience at the band concerts that everyone loved it!
If any of you have worked with DMX lights and DMX light software/hardware/light boards then you will be amazed at the ease of the smart bulbs. The benefits are that it is WAY easier to haul around 16 of the smart bulbs, plug them in, connect to the wi-fi network and use one of the four apps I’ve mentioned to control them. The other obvious benefit is cost! $45 for smart bulbs vs $99 and up per DMX light (and trust me those are the cheap lights!).
There are limitations when using smart bulbs compared to a full fledged DMX light rig. Those drawbacks are that DMX will do more animations and you can get things like movers with lasers! BUT do YOU know how to program all of that? Do you even realize the time involved in programming all of those fancy lights?
The bulbs are so very easy to control and adjust that anyone can do it! I will write my next blog post on the two apps I’ve mentioned to that I can go into greater detail about those apps.
These Philips Hue and LIFX bulbs are wonderful! I think I will continue to buy more of the LIFX products for school and I look forward to the day when they add Apple Home Kit capability to LIFX.
I’ve just got to share my feedback I just sent to a software company about their model of using subscriptions for their app. As an educator of 25 years I do NOT see subscriptions as a benefit in any way shape or form.
“Dear SOFTWARE DEVELOPERS,
I have one thing I’d like to share….
I fully appreciate your need to make money as a business but your model of a yearly subscription simply does not fit into an educational setting. There are so many variables we have to deal with from year to year and it is very difficult to tell whether or not we will have the $ to renew our subscription! The worst fear I have is to make a decision to use your software and then find out the $ is not there to renew so then we are left dead in the water because our software is no longer working! I HAVE to know that the investment I make this year is good for more than just the next 365 days!
I do indeed pay frequently for yearly updates to software which in essence is the same as your yearly subscription BUT the difference is that I can choose to NOT upgrade and still be left with working software when I have to skip a year.
Just some feedback from an educator….”
and then I signed it and hit the send button. I have not much hope of making a difference but I am seeing SO many companies/developers going to the subscription based model that I had to put in my two cents.
Our phones and iPads are such powerful devices these days, well assuming that you have a decent phone anyways! The real question is just what can they do? How can they be leveraged to help us and make our lives easier instead of simply annoying us with all those beeps, buzzes and ringtones.
One way is to use a scanner app like Readdle’s Scanner Pro to make all those documents you have to deal with easier to track.
This app makes quick work of capturing any sort of document – simply place it on a flat surface with a contrasting background, make sure you have decent lighting and point the phone camera at the document. Within seconds the app finds the edges and automatically snaps a pic. That picture is then turned into a digital document that can be saved as a PDF or jpg and synced almost instantly with a bunch of different services!
So for instance…. I have forms that I am collecting from my band. When a kid hands me the form, I lay it on my desk, open the Scanner Pro app and snap a picture. I then upload it as a PDF to a folder in my DropBox. It’s so fast that if I’m standing right next to my computer the message that it has magically appeared on my laptop pops up almost instantly! It’s SO much faster and neater than trying to walk down the hallway to the scanner and do this. Faster than even messaging it to myself or emailing it to myself.
The scans show up just as good as if I had used normal scanner or the really expensive scanner/copy machine in the teachers workroom.
Here’s another instance where eI used Scanner Pro just this morning – I needed ArtWork for the CD that the Marine Band sent me, for free I might add, of the latest recording from “The Presidents Own Band”. I could’t find a good jpg online as I would normally do. So I opened Scanner Pro and let it do it’s magic. Within seconds that message that there was a new file in my DropBox popped up on my laptop. Faster than trying to launch the messages or mail app on my laptop, find the message and retrieve it from there.
Before I show you the different options/results from the CD ArtWork – I should mention that if you are a music teacher and want the Marine Band to send you some amazing CD’s for FREE then you need to go visit their website! I so appreciate the Marine Band doing this as it is a great resource! They also have all of the John P. Sousa marches recorded along with free downloads of the sheet music as PDF files and even teaching material to go along with the recordings!
Here are some different results from saving the CD ArtWork….
Every music teacher should have a decent DB Meter available to them and with today’s phones there’s of course an app for that!
Decibel 10th: Pro Noise Meter, Sound Pressure Level is a good app to have in your arsenal of apps to help you out with seeing how loud your environment is, as well as checking to see what frequencies are bouncing around the room!
Make sure you visit the settings menu today and hit that Restore Purchases button today as that will get rid of the ads.
I have one one qualm with the app and that is the fact that it only works in portrait mode and I really don’t like that. But hey, it’s free:)
There are always SO many apps to wade through and unless you stumble across some of these or someone points you in the right direction you may never find some great ones!
Plus these are all on sale right now!
Screens VNC – Remote Control Your Computer – $9.99 ($19.99) This is the best app if you want to control your computer. Why would you do this? What about starting and stopping SmartMusic from across the room, starting iTunes from your seat with the trumpet section, or how about being able to hit record while you are standing on the podium ready to start the concert?
Duet Display – $9.99 ($19.99) – This is the app you need to turn your iPad/iPhone into an extra screen for your Mac/PC! Even cooler is that it will give us Apple Pencil capabilities ON OUR MAC! What’s even better than that? You know that fancy TouchBar on the brand new MacBook? Now you too can have one for a mere $10! This is an awesome app for those of us who use notation apps, DAW apps and so many other situations. Fast as can be and many times without any noticeable lag because you hook the iPad up with the cable directly to your laptop!
Air Display 3 – $4.99 ($14.99) (This is the lowest price this has EVER been!) This app also turns your iPad/iPhone into an extra display for your Mac/PC. This app also will connect via USB but will ALSO connect wirelessly! Take a look at the featured image – THIS is one reason you should have this app! Or Duet Display.
Tweetbot 4 – $4.99 ($9.99) – Ya know…. I like the official Twitter app but I like this one even better! (Price only good through Christmas day!)
Notability – $6.99 ($9.99) – My best note taking app going back a long ways!
Day One Journal – $2.99 ($4.99) – As teachers, as human beings, I believe we should be writing about our lives and our experiences. This gives us a chance to look back later to remember and to re-experience our history. We tend to forget easily!
Let’s end with two FREE apps! (free at least today – ALL of these app prices are subject to change as I like to point out when there is a good sale for us all to take advantage of!)
Fantastical 2 for iPad – $4.99 ($9.99) – you really are NOT using the Apple supplied calendar still are you?
Fantastical 2 for iPhone – $2.99 ($4.99)
Calendarium is a great app for those of us who like to find out what happened in the past on any given day! It also is an easy way to find out which day of the year we are on, sunrise/sunset – including length of daylight compared to the summer equinox (longest day of the year as I like to call it, of course my daughters were quick to point out that ALL days have 24 hours). Now, if only someone would make a musical version of this!
Incredibox is also FREE currently! If you have never seen or played with this musical app you need to do so NOW! So much fun! For us adults not to mention students! You have seven funky looking dudes just standing there waiting for you to dress up – stick with me now – as you put hats, glasses, ties, and other items like headphones on these guys they start to make music! Boy is it good too!
It is that time of the year again for one last chance to grab some amazing apps at an amazing price! I try to focus on apps that I have found useful as a musician and as a music educator. There are so many apps on sale for Christmas that this is not a complete list but hopefully a more focused list! I list the sale price then the normal price in ( ) so you can get a feel for how “good” of a sale these are. Traditionally the next sale is a LONG ways off so act now!
SampleTank is $11.00 ($19.99) and select IAP’s are up to 40% off
UPDATE #2 –
GeoShred will be on sale Christmas Day – $19.99 – This app is just sonically amazing, allowing for expression in playing like never before! Jordan Rudess is one of the driving forces behind this app and has done many videos of himself playing it. It is just magnificent with the headphones on especially! PLUS it is now at version two and here is the NEW logo, see if you can guess what they have added…. – yup, you read that right MIDI!
UPDATE #1 –
IK Multimedia apps –
iLectric – $11.99 ($19.99)
iGrand – $11.99 ($19.99)
VocaLive – $11.99 ($19.99)
iSem Synthesizer – $4.99 ($9.99)
Arturia iSpark – $9.99 ($19.99)
iProphet Synthesizer – $4.99 ($9.99)
KORG SALES ARE STILL ON! (How could I forget THAT!) Here are the best of the Korg Apps… All the Korg apps are up to 50% off until Jan 5 as are the IAP purchases! This means you can pick up the best apps available along with loading the up with some the best IAP sound banks possible for a TON cheaper than normal. For instance – the iM1 IAP’s are something like $3!
Korg Module – $19.99 ($39.99) – Want some gorgeous piano and electric piano sounds?
Korg Gadget – $19.99 ($39.99) – All in one music producing machine. It takes a bit to catch on to the interface of this one but this is the only app some people are using!
Korg iM1 – $14.99 ($29.99) – This app is an amazing app that will give you a TON of playable sounds RIGHT NOW to control with your keyboard controller or a DAW!
ORIGINAL POST FROM 9AM Christmas Eve Day STARTED HERE
Cubasis 2 – $24.99 ($49.99) – I’m going to keep saying it folks – If you don’t have this app yet and you are a music teacher than get it NOW! This is one of three app choices if you want to get serious about recording anything on your iPad. STOP using the audio memos app!
Symphony Pro – $7.99 ($9.99) – this app has come so far! It is one of several choices you have for music notation on iPad/iPhone/iPod and it is a great choice these days!
Notetracks – $4.99 ($9.99) – not music notation but this app is so crazy useful! It allows you to take notes for audio on your iPad. Marching Band Directors, Choir Teachers, Color Guard and DrumLine Instructor, composers, vocalists, and well…. just go check it out and see what it can do!
djay Pro – $9.99 ($19.99) – Do your own school dances! Make money. Train kids to do it and let THEM make the money instead of paying out to an outside source!
djay 2 – $0.99 ($4.99)
djay 2 for iPhone – $0.99 ($2.99)
Model 15 – $14.99 ($29.99) – This is one of those apps that came out this year and is on everybody’s short list to make app of the year!
Animoog – $14.99 ($29.99) – this is one of the apps that really started a revolution of wonderful music apps on the iPad – amazing sounds and the ability to play music with something besides a key on a piano. So many sweet ways to manipulate the sounds, so responsive.
Animoog for iPhone – $2.99 ($5.99)
Addictive Pro – $11.99 ($19.99)
Tera Synth – $11.99 ($19.99)
76 Synthesizer – $0.99 ($1.99)
Galileo Organ – $4.99 ($9.99)
Organ+ – $0.99 ($2.99)
iCathederal Organ $13.99 ($19.99)
Oriental Strings $6.99 ($9.99)
Magellan – $6.99 ($14.99)
Magellan JR – $1.99 ($4.99)
Laplace Resonator $3.99 ($5.99)
Lorentz Synthesizer $3.99 ($5.99)
Mersenne Melodic Percussion Synthesizer $3.99 ($5.99)
microTERA – $4.99 ($9.99)
Poseidon Synth $11.99 ($19.99)
VoxSyn – $6.99 ($9.99)
iVoxel – $4.99 ($6.99)
HarmonyVoice – $4.99 ($6.99)
Cube Synth $7.99 ($11.99)
Addictive Pro – $11.99 ($19.99)
Tera Synth – $11.99 ($19.99)
GuitarCapo+ – $2.99 ($4.99) – Most amazing acoustic guitar app!
Steel Guitar – FREE
Elastic Drums – $4.99 ($9.99) – amazing synth drum machine now with a BRAND NEW SAMPLER built-in!
GlitchBreaks – $1.99 ($4.99)
Alternative Interface Music Making Apps
Sector – $6.99 ($8.99)
Sliver – $1.99 ($5.99)
NOIZ:Make Epic Music $0.99 ($1.99) – Now THIS is straight out fun!
Cubasis 2 – $24.99 ($49.99) – Yup, I’m gonna mention it again down here!
musicIO: Audio and MIDI – $5.99 ($8.99) – Audio and MIDI over USB between your iPad and computer. Still blows my mind when I do this – I can use my iPad as an extension to my laptop DAW and it is all over one USB cable!
fluXpad $3.99 ($7.99) – Newer app that uses an innovative approach to making music (elementary teachers – this would be a blast with your kids!)
Music Studio – $9.99 ($14.99) – An app that has been around for a long time and is a great DAW
midiSequencer $3.99 ($6.99)
Genome MIDI Sequencer $7.99 ($9.99)
EFX APPS (Stick these into the effects slot and add some great flavor to your music!)
silQ Equalizer – $2.99 ($4.99) – a 32 band EQ for your iPad! Yes, I’m serious.
Stereo Designer – $2.99 ($4.99) This really helps open up those mono recordings from your iPad mic
Echo Pad– $2.99 ($4.99)
Johnny – $2.99 ($4.99) Play guitar, want some tremolo?
Loops and Pad Type Apps (SO MUCH fun!)
Fugue Machine – $4.99 ($9.99) – Yeah, if you haven’t seen this you need to!)
iMaschine 2 – $4.99 ($9.99)
Infinite Looper $14.99 ($19.99) – There are some SWEET updates coming soon for this app – like the ability to take audio input and turn it into MIDI data!
Quantiloop – $5.99 ($9.99)
LoopTunesHD – $2.99 ($6.99)
Apps to Control your apps and DAW’s
Sonic Logic – $4.99 ($9.99)
MIDI Designer Pro 2 – $14.99 ($24.99) – This app controls everything! You create your personal layout that you need to control your apps/hardware and make it do what you want!
As always – all links on my blog are affiliate links. This means that I get a small portion of Apple’s profit when you purchase an app using my links! This takes nothing from the developers but gives a little bit back to encourage me to keep writing my blog.
Thanks for your support, thanks for you comments, and most of all – Have a great Christmas!
ModStep is 50% off ($9.99) for a one day special sale (and then they have a special announcement too!)
ModStep is a very powerful MIDI Sequencer for the iPad. The things this app can do are pretty sweet, especially in terms of modulation! It is a bit of a bugger to figure out though so be warned but if you want to sequence other apps, hardware or even out to computers then this is an app to look at!
The second app is on a 30% sale and this is probably the app you should be using for notes!
Notability ($6.99) is just a rock solid, versatile, and packed full of features app that I use constantly to take notes with. I use it in front of the class as my whiteboard. I use it in meetings. I have all of our music theory notes for every single class in it. The list goes on and on.
You may just want to grab these two apps – they are free just for today (I know, I know – It’s a bit late to let you know this but it was a SNOW DAY here so my family took advantage of the extra day together!)
This is as straight forward as they come here people. Record audio. Record it in several formats, m4a, wav or mp3. Then share it via –
– iCloud Drive , Dropbox , Box , GoogleDrive , OneDrive , SoundCloud
– Wi-Fi file management (upload,download,edit…)
– File sharing / send files in another app “Open in”
Use this sort of app to record students auditions for All Star Band, Playing Tests or whatever else you can think of. Use this sort of app to record rehearsals!
Plus this has an Apple Watch App too! How cool is THAT!?
Gismart Ukulele – Real Ukulele is one of the most realistic hawaiian guitar (4-string mini guitar) simulator apps featuring a user-friendly interface and an awesome sound quality. All the notes have been recorded from the live ukulele.
This is an amazing opportunity to grab a great metronome!