Save Time In Front Of Class With LaunchCenter Pro for iPad

Teachers all understand the importance of saving even a few keystrokes, a few seconds, in front of a class of middle students! The more that technology takes a back seat in a lesson plan the better off we all are. If the tech isn't bringing attention to itself but the students learning is front and center then the tech is in the right place.

That means that we must become very comfortable with the tech we are using, we can not be stumbling and fumbling to make things happen. It also means that any shortcut we can use to get technology working faster and smoother is a good idea.

Launch Center Pro for iPad and iPhone has a simple mission statement that fits the above criteria…. “Launch actions, not just apps!” Think about it…. Why do we launch an app in the first place? We launch apps to do things. That means that once the app launches we then start tapping more buttons to do that “thing”.

I message parents frequently but I usually wait until after class…. What if I could speed that task up and send a message faster? Would I communicate even more?

I like to tweet about exciting learning taking place in class but opening the camera, then taking a picture, then opening Twitter to send the tweet is quite a few steps. What if I could do all of that in one step? Would I spread more news about the learning going on in class?

What about taking attendance…. Open Safari, open bookmarks then finally tap the website for school attendance. How about jumping right there?

Well if those sort of thoughts entice you to rethink your use of tech then you need to take a look at Launch Center Pro… There is the iPad version and then the iPhone version.

Here is the first line from their website…., “It’s like speed dial for everyday tasks. Launch Center Pro saves you time by launching complex actions in a single tap.”

 

 

Steamworx for Alchemy Available Now – Let’s Make Music! (and meet the National/State Standards)

Alchemy ScreenShotPart of teaching any class is making sure we meet state and national standards for our content area. One of those areas for music is composition. Part of being successful at  composing is simply the act of doing it – over and over, frequently! Of course we are not ever going to want to try composing and creating if it isn’t fun. That means we have to have something inspiring us to get at it and be creative. The iPad has a ton of amazing apps to help inspire us. Here is one of those apps and it is free to start out!

Alchemy Synth small iconAlchemy Synth Mobile Studio by Camel Audio is a free iOS synth available for your iPad. The price of the app is FREE! Alchemy is one of those iOS apps that make great use of the touch interface. The app goes above and beyond what we can do with keyboards and older controllers. Once you load the app up you will see a set of 2 X/Y pads with a set of 8 morphing pad below that and then the keyboard below that. Those pads give you 8 different various alterations of the basic starting sound. It is an easy way to loose an hour or two playing around, running your finger around those pads and becoming enthralled with the morphing sounds that transpire!

There is a 4 track recorder builtin, you get AudioBus and Inter-App Audio, Drum Pads/Sounds,

The synth comes with 30 great sounds built in and you will get an additional 35 when you register the app. There are also additional sound banks, with 50 sounds each, available as in-app-purchases. Camel Audio has released its latest just recently….

For $4.99 Steamworx is available – this bank of sounds is a cinematic netherworld featuring keyboard instruments made from clocks, drum kits built with steam-powered machines, fog-shrouded soundscapes and gothic choirs.

Take a listen to the SoundCloud demos below. These could be a great deal of fun in an electronic ensemble! I am always looking for sounds that we can put to use that will be different than simply emulating acoustic instruments. If we wanted to sound like acoustic instruments then we would just play those instruments! Instead we have this amazing world of different, inspiring, weird and wonderful sounds available to us because we have electronic controllers in our hand. Of course this set of sounds would be a great deal of fun as an individual with just one iPad as well!

Take a listen – Then go download the app!

https://soundcloud.com/camelaudio/sets/steamworx

 

 

Readdle Apps Are On A HUGE Sale Right Now!

Such exciting news this morning! Readdle is celebrating it’s 7th birthday and has all of their apps on up to a 70% sale for 48 hours (well now it’s less then that)

PDF Expert5 Small IconPDF Expert (version 5) is $4.99 instead of $9.99 – This is one of those apps that I use for most every other PDF document that I use for all of my life. It’s one of those apps that makes a huge impression on people. I use it to sign forms, fill out paperwork, and rearrange pages. This app let’s me get stuff done fast! My principals appreciate that! In fact I take my iPad down to them and just have them sign entry forms for festival entry right on my iPad – they are impressed.

Calendars 5Calendars 5 is $2.99 instead of $6.99 – If you are still using Apples Calendar app – here’s your chance to upgrade!

ScannerPro iconScanner Pro is $2.99 instead of $6.99 – When I need to get a physical document that I do not have on my iPad into a digital document this is the app I have found that works the best so far. Of course an actual scanner would be better but sometimes you just can’t get to one of those!

PDF ConverterPDF Converter is $1.99 instead of $6.99 – I use the print to PDF function all the time on my Mac and used to wish I could do the same on my iPad, well this app answers my wish. Now, if only my other two wishes were to be granted……

Documents App LOGODocuments 5 is free – Between PDF Expert and this app I have all my documents that I feel I must have with me at all times right on my iPad. I was blown away when this app went to the great price of FREE. It even has a media player built in now – even though I hardly use THAT!

Someone is going to ask about their Printer app – I do not use that app because I use Printopia.

PreSonus Capture App for iPad

If you read my first review of the PreSonus Capture App I discovered a few items that I needed to fix in that review! Here is the link to the review with the correct details in it!

https://ipadmusiced.wordpress.com/2014/07/17/capture-for-ipad-arrives-drop-dead-simple-app-to-record-with/

A few details I had messed up –

  1. You actually CAN get your recordings off your iPad WITHOUT needing StudioOne! Simply use iTunes file sharing.
  2. There is a much easier way to adjust the start and end of a recording – simply drag the start or ending points!
  3. Of course I discovered that you can record two tracks of STEREO after I had recorded the video. I edited the video to reflect this.
  4. I also now correctly note in the video that the volume slider does NOT adjust your input level.

As I mentioned in my first, hasty, review…. I think this app is a significant addition to the line up of iPad DAW’s available to users! Since the one version is free there is no reason to NOT download it and use it!

Here is the updated video as well…

Exciting News – Notion Music Notation App is bumped up to Version 5!

notion 5PreSonus has been busy, busy, busy! Not only did they release a new DAW for iPad called Capture Small Icon Presonus Capture, to use in conjunction with StudioOne but now Notion for the desktop has been updated to version 5!

Notion is PreSonus’s notation app that is truly cross platform – they have a version for Mac, Windows and iPad! Notion is probably your best choice for an all around music notation program because of that reason along with a few other details. Finale and Sibelius both have apps for the iPad that allow you to view notation files on the iPad but those iPad apps do not allow you to create and edit those notation files. IF you have Sibelius or Finale you should absolutely own those iPad apps though! For Sibelius users you should download Avid Scorch Small IconScorch. Finale users should download Finale SongBook Small IconFinale SongBook. They are both free and add an amazing level of access to those music notation files on your iPad!

Back to Notion V5….

HUGE BONUS THAT IS ONLY GOING TO CONTINUE TO GET BETTER:
You can go visit the Notion website to read everything but let me tell you why I believe this is a huge move for PreSonus/Notion. One of the new capabilities in Notion is that is is gaining some of the functionalities of StudioOne along with the look of StudioOne. What does that mean? That means that this nice notation app is gaining full-fledged DAW capabilities! New mixer, new plug-inslike Compressor/Limiter/EQ and by using Re-Wire you can even run a music notation file in Notion right alongside a recording project in StudioOne!

Do not underestimate the importance of this integration!

Another item that caught my eye is that Notion allows you to perform you Notion files live – adjusting tempo and volume to stay with the live performance simply by tapping along on a MIDI keyboard. PLUS Notion allows you to import audio files as a part of the project too! Of course one of the big new features is the ability to work with movies now. Sibelius of course has been able to work with video for quite a while now.

PRICE:
The price of Notion has gone up to $150, it used to be $100. If you have version’s 3 or 4 you can upgrade for $50. Now that $150 is the FULL price not an upgrade!

Compare that to the cost of Sibelius full price being $599 with upgrades costing from $50-$100 depending on which version you are running.

Compared to the cost of Finale full price being $600 with an upgrade costing you $140.

Just which version do you think students are going to be able to afford? Now, to be fair Finale does offer several slimed down versions of Final for $50-$120 and Sibelius offers a slimmed down version for $120. Both of those apps also offer educational pricing too.

Confused yet?

One more reason to like Notion – simple and straightforward and affordable!

WARNING:
These apps are going to cost you some hard drive space on your computer!

Notion – around 8GB
Sibelius – around 36GB
Finale – around 2.5GB

CHOICES: There used to be two main choices for music notation – Sibelius or Finale. Now we have a bunch of options! Some apps run on desktop as well as on iPad. Then we have some other options that are iPad only now. Here’s the run-down.
Notion – Desktop and Notion Small IconiPad version – $
Sibelius – Desktop version with Avid Scorch Small IconScorch (an iPad viewer) – $$
Finale – Desktop version with Finale SongBook Small IconFinale SongBook (an iPad viewer) – $$$
NoteFlight – works on desktop or iPad through a web browser – FREE!
MuseScore – Desktop version (FREE) with an iPad viewer $

SymphonyPro Small IconSymphonyPro – iPad app $
Tabular iOS Small IconTabular – iPad app $
NotateMe Icon SmallNotateMe – iPad app $ (Handwritten music PLUS amazing music scanning plugin – $)
SmartScore NoteReader – iPad app music scanning app (read about it here on Chris Russell’s website – http://techinmusiced.wordpress.com/2014/07/18/smartscore-notereader-is-available-how-does-it-compare/
Sonja Small IconSonja – iPad app free

FINAL VERDICT

If you only own an iPad and want a music notation app – Get Notion IF YOU HAVE SPACE – or SymphonyPro. You can NOT go wrong with either app!

If you want a great music notation app and you own an iPad plus you want to be able to work on notation files from the laptop as well as the iPad…. get Notion.

If you already own Sibelius and are as worried as I am about the future of Sibelius… (Heck, I haven’t even upgraded to version 7 yet let alone 7.5!) Notion is still going to be a great addition to having Sibelius. Especially since all three apps are Music XML compatible so you can transfer files back and forth easily!

Finale users are not worried a bit about the future of Sibelius but again Notion just might be a nice addition, especially the iPad version of Notion!

Capture for iPad Arrives – Drop Dead Simple App to Record With!

Capture LargePresonus released a new app recently that has high potential to make things simpler for us musicians. If you are a music teacher who needs to create accompaniment tracks for your students or if you ever record your performances this app would be an awesome choice. In fact, there are only two items missing from this app that would make it stand at the top of the list of iPad DAW’s – more about those two wish list items at the end.

WHAT CAPTURE IS: The purpose of this app currently is simple – it gives you a super simple way to record with your iPad. Capture gives you a mobile recording studio that you can then take back to the computer and edit further.

WHAT CAPTURE ISN’T: It is NOT a recording app to record from other iPad apps.

The app is called PreSonus Capture and it comes in two flavors – the FREE Version (Capture Duo Small IconPreSonus Capture Duo) and the $9.99 Version (Capture Small IconPresonus Capture). The only difference between the two is how many tracks you can record – free=2 tracks, not free=32 tracks! This pricing structure is a like getting a present at Christmas! – by offering you the free version, PreSonus has just given you a way to get those simple, straightforward recordings you need. For instance, Choir Teachers always need accompaniment tracks, Band Directors always need accompaniment tracks and we would all like to be able to record ourselves playing or singing our music. Now we have a great looking, simple and mobile solution that is free.

The app is very straightforward to use. Start it up, start a new session, select whether or not you want to monitor what you are recording in the headphones, tap the record button and start the music. Take a look….

Capture1 Capture2

One technique they have used for this app is to make it very easy to select the interface you want to use. The app works with the built-in mic and it also works with audio interfaces like the newly released (but not available yet) PreSonus AudioBox iOne or the iTwo or any other MFi iPad interface. I used it with my Line6 SonicPort just fine. Trying to find this interface selection in other apps and on the desktop is always a huge search, even for me!

EDITING AND SETTINGS:
It is also imperative that I was able to adjust my stereo/mono settings. It really annoys me when I record my keyboard and it is not in stereo. With the Capture Duo app it was easy, tap the single dot at the bottom of the input meter which will then become two dots indicating that you are now recording in stereo!

So just to make sure you are clear on what PreSonus is giving you – this means that with the Capture Duo app you can record 2 tracks of STEREO Audio! I can record a stereo piano track and then record another track of stereo drums as well! Nice

Here’s a picture of that….

Capture - Mono to Stereo

Adjusting and editing the audio was very easy. Just do what seems to be the right multi-touch gesture and you are probably going to be in business. Tap to select, double tap to bring up a menu to Cut/Copy/Delete/Duplicate/Split at Cursor or tap then hold for a second then drag the audio to a new location.

WRAP UP:
PreSonus has been very focused with the purpose for this app currently – A mobile recording solution to use in conjunction with other software that is easy to use. If you use it with Studio One it is even easier to work with your recordings because they will transfer wirelessly right into the desktop software!

I believe they hit the mark right on. I can not wait to see where this app is a year from now!

  • This app does not have to be used with Studio One on a desktop. Studio One is free though for Mac and PC both- PAY ATTENTION ALL OF YOU WHO USE THAT OTHER FREE RECORDING APP! Go download Studio One, it’s free!

WISHES:
I’ve got a short video at the end of this post for you to see how easy it is to use this app. First though a couple of observations:

  1. WISH ONE – With that being said, I really wish there were other ways to share your recordings from within Capture – Using the Open In option or to upload to SoundCloud or DropBox or even Box.net.
  2. WISH TWO – The app REALLY, REALLY, REALLY needs to get audioBus integration so we can use it to record other iPad apps! This would open up a HUGE open door! (I suppose InterApp Audio would help too.) There is a huge number of iPad Musicians who are using the iPad and apps as a very real way of making music! What used to have to be done in professional studios, on equipment that cost thousands of dollars, is now being done with apps and an iPad.

Side Note –

  1. If you use one of the new AudioBox Interfaces – the iOne or iTwo you will have to have the interface plugged into the iPad power adaptor.

 

and now a video to demonstrate…

 

 

As always – the links in this post are affiliate links. That means that if I inspire you to purchase any of the apps/music that I link to in this post I receive a small portion of that sales – something like 5% I think. This comes out of Apple’s share and the developer keeps their portion of the sales. It’s just a small way to inspire me to keep writing and sharing my ideas, thoughts and tech finding with you all.

The Future of Learning To Play

capo3-logo-headerWell, I wrote about the future having arrived a few days ago when I wrote about NotateMe. I wasn’t kidding either and apparently a LOT of other people were very intrigued as well! Thanks for reading that post about the transformation from NEEDING a computer to being able to work ONLY with a mobile device in music.

Now let’s talk about the future of LEARNING how to play a piece of music. For thousands of years people have relied on learning how to play music by listening to it – they repeated sections of the piece over and over, repeating what someone played for them. Simple call and response, over and over. When learning someone else’s music this tradition has not died even now.

Now though, it is going to be a whole lot easier! If you have EVER worked on figuring out a song by ear you know how many hours it takes us! (OK, well at least me a few thousand others who are not blessed with the ability to play anything we hear by hear!) This app is going to save you hours!

Capo3 Small IconCapo has been out for a while now on a normal computer and is now up to version 3! Now Capo Touch Small IconCapo Touch available for those using iOS mobile devices!

In fact currently both the desktop version and the mobile versions are on 50% sale! So the time to buy them is now!

Capo3 Small IconCapo3 for the Mac – $14.99 (50% off normal price)

Capo Touch Small IconCapo Touch for iOS – $4.99 (505 of what the normal price will be soon!) [runs on both iPhone and iPad]

Let’s talk about what Capo is since most of us don’t know….

CAPO….

  • Automatic Chord detection – it will TELL you the chords for any song in your iTunes library! Doc Brown would have hated us having this tool available back when we were taking Ear Training and Music Theory back in college!
  • Slows Your Music – High quality time stretching engine that will slow that music down to a learnable pace!
  • Looping Regions – Play it again Sam! Over and over, slower if you like, until you get it!
  • Transposition – Now we can instantly change the key of the song!
  • Chord Boxes – For those of you who are guitar players (or teach guitarists) Capo will show you how to play those chords it has automatically detected AND if you transpose the song it transposes those chord boxes too!
  • Capo and Tuning Options – yup got those covered too for all you guitar players
  • Metronome, Count-Off, and Effects – Not sure where that beat is? Well turn the metronome on silly!
  • Beautiful Interface – Gives you a great experience browsing you music library to pick that next song to learn.
  • iCloud Syncing – Work on you iPhone while out and about and then when you pull out your iPad later everything will be in sync. Of course, since Capo is also available on a normal computer it syncs there as well!

DESKTOP vs MOBILE APPS:
There is at least one difference between the desktop version of Capo and the mobile. On the desktop version you are able to actually draw in notes on top of the spectrograph, just like you would in a piano roll on a MIDI sequencer. Then, after drawing those notes out, you will actually get TABS so that you can learn the part on your guitar.

PRO MUSICIANS LIKE IT TOO!:

I am impressed at all of the pro musicians they have who are backing this app too! Go ahead, click that picture below and read everything they are saying about it! Pretty cool. These are not just some ol’ teacher like me – these are people getting paid good money for the music they make!

 

 

 

Capo Pros Shot

 

WHAT IS MISSING?
The app currently has tabs, chords, and chord diagrams for guitarists. Which is awesome but I would love to see the ability to have music notation instead of tabs! Even if I could export what I have done in Capo as an XML file to use in Sibelius or another notation app it would be awesome. I currently am using Capo2 and the export function does not work very well – OK, actually I could never get it to do anything – UNTIL I imported the MIDI file into Sibelius. Once it imported into Sibelius I was able to see the notes I had drawn in. Of course it was not performance ready but it would give us non-guitar players something to look at that would be better than tabs. Now, if it would just export the chords as well!

Maybe the export functions are better in Capo3? If someone has v3 and could let me know it would be awesome!

FINAL VERDICT:
If you are ever in need of an app to help you figure out how to play a song that you do not already have music for this is it!

In fact, this answers one of my issues I have with my own music – I play and record then I forget what I played and recorded! This app helps me solve that issue! Usually, I am composing in a DAW, like Cubasis or Logic and using audio recordings. Before this app there was no way for me to turn that audio back into any sort of notation to help me remember what in the world I played! Now, problem solved!

If you are a teacher, a performer, or an amateur musician, you would be crazy not to grab at least one of these if not both of them!

Capo3 Small IconCapo3 for the Mac – $14.99 (50% off normal price)

Capo Touch Small IconCapo Touch for iOS – $4.99 (505 of what the normal price will be soon!)

 

 

Remember – if you are inspired to purchase apps because of my blog, please click on my links and help give back to my efforts here. Each link is an affiliate link and gives me a small percentage of Apple’s profit on each app. The developer still gets their full profit.

NotateMe and PhotoScore IAP (compatibility notes too)

So I can say that the full version of the PhotoScore IAP for NotateMe works pretty well!

notatemelogoI worked on a score with 8 staves on it that was printed pretty small. Each 8.5 x 11 page had a top and a bottom to it with a total of 9 pages. When I used PhotoScore I took a picture of the top set of 8 staves and then I tapped the continue option to then take a picture of the bottom set of 8 staves. So in effect I had 18 pages to the score when I got done.

ERRORS:
In all of that there were three major errors –

1)On one page one measure got really messed up! I’m not sure, but I wonder if I cut off a bar line or something when I was taking pictures. No way of telling now though.

2)Four of the staves where Bb Instruments and then I had a Piano, Bass and Drums. The transposition here is really messing with me. I will have to play with it more to see how to make it work right. The Piano and Bass ended up in the wrong key though. So I ended up fixing that in Sibelius.

3)The Drum part used note heads that are X’s to indicate hi-hat and ride. PhotoScore does not bring those in as X note heads but it DOES bring them in as regular note heads. When there were 2 of these cymbals parts stacked on top of each other it just didn’t recognize what was going on though. The drum part did have a bunch of measures that came through really weird and so again I fixed this in Sibelius.

Minor errors – The scanning process missed a couple of accidentals in the piano part too.

SURPRISES:
The chords in the piano part all were recognized and pulled over into Sibelius just fine!

It took me about an hour total to end up with a recording exported out of Sibelius for my students to refer to and rehearse with! That is way less time then in the past when I had to either input the notes by hand or play them all in using my keyboard. This is a WIN!

OBSERVATION:
I think that with a larger score like this it may just be easier to export the XML file into Sibelius or Finale and do the editing on a bigger screen. When I was working with just one part at a time I did not mind doing the editing on the iPad but this was too much I feel.

 

COMPATIBILITY:
A few people have asked great questions that I should have pointed out a few days ago… Yes, NotateMe will export XML files that will work in Sibelius, Notion, or Finale. (it also exports MIDI for that matter and even PDF files too).

NotateMe –

Screen Shot 2014-07-09 at 1.28.28 AM

NotateMe Now –

Screen Shot 2014-07-09 at 1.30.26 AM Screen Shot 2014-07-09 at 1.30.33 AM

The fact that this technology is even possible on ANY iPad or iPhone astounds me! The fact that it requires the better camera does NOT surprise me at all!

CONCLUSION:
What does this mean for schools and students with older devices? Well, the handwriting part of these apps still give us an amazing composition tool to use in class and NotateME Now is FREE!

Those with the older devices will update soon enough and more and more students will have access to even the PhotoScore IAP!

That simply underlines what I have said all along – make sure you know what you want to do with devices like an iPad in your classroom BEFORE you make your purchase. Plan for the future too! You know that tech and app capabilities are going to march onward and demand more power, better camera quality and more storage so go as for as big a device as you can possibly get.

If you are a teacher then the 64GB iPad is what you should be looking at and I can NOT think of a reason to not get the iPad Air. Yes, it’s a few more dollars but it will be worth it as you will be using this deice for the next 3-5 years or longer. If you are not using it then you will have upgraded to the next latest and greatest and someone else WILL be using that iPad Air!

LAST COMPATIBILITY NOTE:
Android users rejoice – this app is one of the few music apps for Android! You are not left out in the cold this time so go support Neuratron for their great efforts!

Awesome Story Telling App That Looks Amazing!

Storehouse ScreenShotDo your students have access to iPads?

Can you think of any reason for them to create stories to enhance their learning?

Well then here’s an awesome app that will enhance their story telling. In fact, the end product is a very appealing, multimedia piece of eye candy!

The app is Storehouse Small IconStoreHouse. The app allows you to import up to 50 photo’s and videos (they can only be 30 seconds long). Then you add in text to tell and narrate the story line. The end product ends up on the web for all to enjoy and read. There are some awesome ones up there for you to check out.

The photos and video can be imported from the camera roll, iPhoto library, Dropbox and even Flickr or Instagram. Then you get to move them around, resize them and mix in the text.

After you have your story done you get to upload it to the Storehouse web servers and that is where it lives. You also can share it via Twitter, FaceBook, the Web, and even Tumblr.

Storehouse is a place you may even be able to find some stories from other people and places that you could use in your classroom.

WARNING – The video takes a long time to import even though they are only 30 second long clips.

Here is an example I found tonight….

The Old Mill

And one that I made tonight….

Kayaking in Munising

NotateMe and DrumLine – Percussion Parts

NotateMe Now does NOT scan in the Snare Drum parts that are on a single line staff. NOTE – The full version of NotateMe with the PhotoScore IAP will work only on 5 line staffs as well. Thanks Neuratron for a speedy answer to that question.

NotateMe Now DOES handle the Quad and Bass Drum parts very well. EXCEPT it does NOT pickup on 1 measure and 2 measure repeats like you so often find in percussion parts. So I had to keep adding in extra measures in Sibelius and used my hand-dandy-nifty shortcut that I had set up to create those repeat markings. By using the shortcuts it was fast to fix and add those extra measure.

I always kind of hate doing percussion parts by hand because it takes so long… not anymore! 🙂