iPads and Teaching Private Music Lessons – Can your life be better?

That question is what I approach every app that I use with – How is this app going to improve on my life? Is this app going to make my life easier? Can I do something because I have this app that I could not do before OR does this app allow me to do what I have been doing in a more efficient manner?

Moosic Studio AppCarlos, over at http://www.moosicstudio.com, had these questions in mind when he developed Moosic Studio. He developed this app to make Private Music Teachers, who have a music studio, more efficient. I love this paragraph from the App Store – “A music studio can be a chaotic and cluttered place. If your music studio was anything like ours, you probably have a laptop with Excel running, notebook, camera, maybe a video camera, a calendar, a stack of invoices, receipt book… all piled up and cluttering your piano workspace. On top of all this, you have students coming & going with their assignment binders.”

Moosic Studio is one of those apps that falls into the category of “not for everyone”. It also falls into the category of “expensive” compared to all other apps. I believe thought that this app is one of those apps that is indispensable and worth it if you are in the situation of needing to keep track of who you are teaching, what they are learning, who needs to pay you and needing a quick and fast way to do it!

You really need to sit down and work through all that Moosic Studio offers you. It is not an app that you will be able to “figure out” at one glance. You WILL be able to understand the basics of what it has to offer immediately though and get started quickly. Every time I sit down to enter more information into the app though I continue to find new capabilities and ways of tracking information.

Opening Screen
Opening Screen

Let’s Dig in – When you start the app this you will see the “opening screen” shot that i to the right.

This is your Dashboard – Here you can see projected income for the month (you do have to pay for this app some how right!) You will see a quick number of lessons remaining for the week, how many active students and how many items you have in your Music Library. On the left you find a list of basically the same items with a few additions. Tapping on the Projected Income for this Month does nothing currently – I believe Carlos is possibly going to be connecting future features here – right now it is informational only.

SCHEDULE
Tapping on the calendar icon is the same as tapping on the schedule – it pulls up a list of upcoming lessons on your callendar for the rest of the week. You see what time the lessons are scheduled for, who the lesson is with and what type of lesson it is. By type of lesson I mean – Piano, Guitar, Violin, Voice, Recital, Group Lesson, Camp, Workshop. Performance, Field Trip, Competition or Other Lesson. While looking at the schedule you have a nice feature available to you that allows you to print your schedule or email it – I really like how it looks when you do this.

Calendar View
Calendar View

STUDENT LIST
Tapping on the Active Students icon is the same as tapping on the student list – this brings you to what you would expect, a list of your current students. You can sort them by Instrument, Skill Level, Age, Grade or School Type. The useage of School Type here is an interesting choice to me. Not really sure how many teachers will find this useful.

Student List
Student List

LIBRARY
This is where you input all the materials you will be using for teaching your students. Things like Theory Books, Technique Books, Sheet Music, Sight-Reading you will use, Writing and Activity sheets and other types of things you would use to teach your students. you also get to list what level these materials are at. Later when you enter information for a students lesson you will be using items from this Library to fill in what the student has worked on and has been assigned to learn.

BILLING
This is currently a work in progress – Very useful in it’s current state though as this is where you will put in info about student’s parents and link them to a student.

LESSON INFORMATION
This is the fun part – Create a lesson for your student and schedule it.

Lesson Creation
Lesson Creation

Then you go in and start keeping track of what you are teaching those little buggers. You keep track of things like if they attended, if they brought stuff, how well they did, some comment that you make (These are not shared with the student), some notes (These ARE shared with the student), Circle of Fifths – materials used or to be used (This is from your Music Library) and then you can attach recordings – audio and video! I mean come on! How better to use that iPad with a video camera built in than to record specific items from a students lesson – like their finger position that they need to be reminded of – or a recording of you playing a demo of a piece or a recording of them playing ti to listen back to later. This would show improvement and allow you both to track how they are doing and what has been learned. You could even record their performance during the recital and stick it in here! How much fun is this going to be! Proof of what happens in the lessons when talking to Mom later.

Lesson Info
Lesson Info
Lesson Info Page
Lesson Info Page

 

CONCLUSION
If you are teaching private lessons – MoosicStudio is going to be a huge asset to you.

This is not one of those apps that you buy on a whim though. You have to know that you will use this app and make money back by saving time on your end and becoming more efficient.

Carlos is planning updates already – think invoicing. He is also going to continue to develop the app. Contact him if you have ways to make this app better! I do notice that the app school levels and terms are a bit more oriented with Europe than the US.

By the way this app is currnetly on sale because of the Music Education Expo going on in London so get it now at a much cheaper price! (3-20-2013) I am not sure how long the price will be lowered so….

 

Lesson Info Page

Opening Screen

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Creating Music with iOS – Meeting National Music Standards

MusicStudio

iPads in music education can open the minds of our students to wonders that they have never imagined could be theirs! I get reminded of these moments of amazement when a students walks in while I am using technology. So many times they are wide eyed and captivated by the possibilities. Everything from playing my keyboard and having the notation instantly show up on the computer to a student asking what the name of the song is that I am playing for them to listen to and hearing their reaction when I tell them that the song was one I created on my iPad the night before. I can see the wheels spinning in their heads – “What if I could do that?”, they are asking it…. All they need are the tools! Now don’t get me wrong, I know our kids have been creating music for years with the traditional band instruments, singers, drums and electric guitars but I am not talking about the traditional here. I am talking about being able to have one iPad, a set of headphones, and a desire to create!

What if you were able to put a recording studio in the hands of your students, show them a few apps, and then give them the freedom to create? How would your students change?

iPads can open up a whole new world to our students – a world that once was cornered by only those with lots and lots of money! Now an iPad opens up the possibility of an entire recording studio filled with amazing synths, guitar amps, and recorders. Those come in the form of apps, apps that cost any where from being free to $5, $10, $15 and up to $20 and $50! Of course if you take into account the ability to record themselves with the built in mic or if they want even better quality they can hook up and external mic through the camera connection kit.

Tonight was an exploration of several apps for me…. I used MusicStudio as the multitrack recorder. For sounds I used AddictiveSynth, Sunrizer and ThumbJam. I of course used Audiobus to get them hooked together. This recording has 9 tracks.

I would be crazy excited if my students were creating music at home like this! (Not that I think this is anything spectacular – but instead just because they would be exploring and composing and enjoying themselves!)

AddictiveSynth + sunrizer-icon +  thumbjam_bannerAudioBus + MusicStudio = one evening of great fun!

 

Creating Music on an iPad – New Musical Interfaces

How can I inspire students to create music? By giving them exciting tools that will enable them to create something that sounds good, is fun to use and engages them!

Chordion kept me busy for a long time tonight – of course that’s not saying TOO much! It was great fun exploring the user interface…. Here’s a screen shot….

Chordion

 

You can see the chord buttons on the left and the keyboardish looking section on the right – as it says in the blue screen shot you play with two hands in this app.

I kept thinking about what my elementary kids are going to be thinking when I let them try the app out. I know that it would be an easy experience for them! The way the app is set up you are not going to hear wrong notes. The bad news side of that is I found it a bit limiting and kept wanting to be able to play other notes! Well, after diggin down into the settings I discovered that my wishes could be granted! You can set the right hand side of the screen to play any scale you want! There are quite a few built in as pre-sets scale patterns.

Then I discovered the play button that starts the drum patterns – that along with the arpeggiator makes things more interesting to play along with!

Of course I got bored pretty quick with that one sound so I started fiddling around with trying out all the different sliders and waveforms along with the effects settings. Then I decided to tap on the disk icon and discovered the online sharing world of settings there! (good and bad can be found!)

Tapping on the Record icon gives you immediate access to sharing your newly created masterpiece to iTunes, DropBox or SoundCloud. I found the SoundCloud integration refreshing – not enough apps utilize SoundCloud – it is a fast, fun way to share you music! Here is my “masterpiece

Go check it out and play with this app – you should be able to imagine a place to put it to use if you work with kids that are creating music on iPads!

PS – I almost forgot to mention that Chordion has builtin in MIDI capabilities as well! That means you can use Chordion to play other apps – For instance play SunRizer with the chords and ThumbJam with the keyboard!

WISHES – I do wish that Chordion would get a bit more creative with the capabilities on the keyboard – give us some variety depending on where you finger hits (far right – middle – far left). This sort of interactivity is pretty standard in iPad keyboard apps. Even if I could control the volume by where my finger was hitting it would be a step in the right direction.

Music Resources iPad app Give-Away

MusicResources
Music Resources is an iPad app that is full of pre-designed music theory worksheets and handouts that you can print for your students. (here is the Web site with a video and more details)  There are all sorts of different categories from blank staff paper to chords, flash cards, games and puzzles to worksheets dealing with Keys and Scales. I love the fact that they included rudiments that I can print for my percussion kids too! There are Practice Theory Exams and many more!
PrintopiaAll of these can be printed right from your iPad assuming you have a way to utilize AirPrint. In fact if you are using a mac and have not seen Printopia you really need to take a look at this excellent resource that allows you to AirPrint from your iPad to a printer that is available via that mac running Printopia.  Seeings as how your iPad is accessing this via the wi-fi network that means I can leave my computer running Printopia on my Desk in my Band Room office and I can still print from  anywhere else in the school! Printopia offers several other options as well, like printing to PDF on my Desktop or sending to DropBox even!
But I get sidetracked way too easy! the developer of Music Resources has given us some promo codes to give away to the first people to grab them! This is a great resource to have available to any music teacher! If you are the lucky person that gets the promo code…. just pass the word on to others about the app please!
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iPad in the Elementary Music Classroom

Screen Shot 2013-02-18 at 9.49.45 PMI have two iPads now that I am using in my teaching. One of which I have started letting my 1st graders use on a daily basis. We are working on reading rhythms so that we can play the drums in our spring concert the end of April. So I loaded up RhythmCat Lite and we have been having a blast! In fact they like it so much that I bought the RhythmCatPro version.

FlashNoteAnother app we have been using is FlashNote Derby. This app allows me to pick the notes on the staff that I want the students to learn the names of. Then we start…. there are two horses on screen that race while the kids pick which note it is that is being shown. I have one kid man the iPad while the rest of the class helps out by saying which note it is. Of course the student at the iPad has to use their own knowledge along with what the class is telling them the answer is and decide the final answer – things get intense! It really cracks me up when they start yelling out answers BEFORE there is even a question up on the screen. They settle in though quickly and stop just guessing!

I’ve included a video to show you how the FlashNote app captures the students attention at the end of the blog post here.

ClassDojoI do have to say that I’ve also had to figure out a way in which to keep track of who has taken their turn on the iPad – This is a HUGE deal with 1st graders! (I guess I can understand why!) So I started using ClassDojo with the 1st graders as well as my Band Students. If you have not seen ClassDojo it is a great app to keep track of all sorts of thing – quickly and without wasting time. You set up your list of names, then you set up your list of things you want to keep track of and then you start giving points. A few words of warning here – There is an iOS app out – it is ONLY FOR TEACHERS! This is the app I use all the time in class. There is also set up that needs to happen FROM THE WEB SITE! I strongly encourage you to tryout their preset list of actions to give points for but then quickly make that list your own (or let your students help you create the list)

The 1st graders are doing great with these rhythms in RhythmCat that include Whole notes, half notes and quarter notes. The quarter rest is really throwing them for a loop though! Anyways… here is the video link to the students using FlashNote Derby.. enjoy….