AirPlay, iOS and Music Education

How many wire do you have running around your computers, speakers, band room, choir room or living room? I know I have too many, my wife doesn’t let me forget either! Plus hooking up all those wires takes time! Especially when you are in front of your middle school band kids who have the natural talent of talkign too much as it is PLUS they have noise makers in their hands (or swords if they are percussion kids).

So if I am in my Band class, standing on the podium and would like the students to listen to a piece of music I used to have to grab my iPad, walk over to the stereo system, find the cable and plugin my iPad then hit play. Now with Apple’s AirPlay things are much better. The only problem is that using ONLY Apple’s solution I can not solve the mentioned situation! I can play music going from my laptop TO my iPad but not the other way around! When I am teaching I want to leave the laptop alone! I want to stand on my podium and hit play on my iPad and have it shoot out through the classroom sound system without hooking up wires!

A while back I wrote about AirServerApp and how this piece of software allowed me to do just this very thing. Hit play on my iPad/iPodTouch and it shoots out to my laptop. It worked very well. The only issue was that ANYONE could connect to it at will. So I was in the middle of a rehearsal and some kid starts playing his song from the weight room down the hall way! As you can imagine this was a bit of a disruption!  I had to still go over and turn the volume up and down while not using the AirServer App my self – this I could do though a lot easier than going through all the “old steps”. I wrote to the developers about the possibility of putting in a password – much like you have to do when using the Apple Remote app. The developer got back to me and said – “great idea – we will pass this on to our programmers” then I never heard any more about it.

Tonight I dug in and read more about Rogue Amoeba AirFoil app they have out. I have seen this app in the past and I have been noticing a flurry of information about the latest update. Come to find out I think that Rogue Amoeba has given us the solution…. AirPlay from an iOS device back to a computer WITH a password! Now the only problem is that I seem to be having issues with my network tonight. When I first installed the needed apps in the needed spots and hit play it worked like would expect it to, for about 15 seconds and then it started stuttering. I was disappointed – until I switched over and tried the AirServerApp and that did the about the same thing. I think that when I don’t have3 teenage boys trying to pull video off my laptop or streaming songs from Pandora or watching their TV off the internet things might go a little better (which by the way says something for a 5 year old AirPortExpress and Charter Cable Internet!)

So go for it I say – try these apps out and tell me what you think. there are probably two questions you have though still…. 1)HOW MUCH – AirFoil is around $25 and AirServerApp is $5. Each company has apps for the computer as well as the iOS device. 2)ummm…. I forgot what the other question was – you tell me in the comments below……

You might be wondering why in the world don’t I just use Apple’s Remote App….. well both apps offer way more options than simply remote controlling iTunes from you iOS device – AirServerApp for instance will let you serve up video and photos!

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