iOS13 tip#5 – Quick Actions

So now the Share Sheet has s’more options for you to access so you can get things quicker so you can eat S’Mores!

Let’s say I want to take a screenshot on my iPad, edit it, then AirDrop it to my MacBook. Well now that is much faster to do!



iPad In The Live Performance and Worship Service

I will say that using my iPad since the day it came out as digital sheet music has been glorious. I don’t ever want to give that up.


My iPad is capable of so much more! With all the music apps available for it, iPad can now be a worthy instrument! I can do live keyboard parts that I only previously could imagine.


There is one HUGE factor that is a serious issue!

How do I keep the iPad charged? I mean the thing has a stellar battery life but once you start using three or four synth apps, a couple of Bluetooth connections, and a couple of mixing apps…. well that stellar battery life starts to act much more like a teenage boy at an all you can eat pizza Buffett!

Using Apples USB3 Camera Connector Kit dongle and the original charger might help SLOW the drain down.

Using an iConnect Audio4+ has been the only way I’ve been able to see a zero battery drain while using the iPad in live performance like I have been.

Now… why is this even an issue you ask? Consider that our Worship team starts rehearsal at 7:30. I get there at 7 to setup and make last minute sound checks if my sounds through the church sound system. Then once all is set and going I seriously don’t want to unhook the iPad or close apps down until after the second service which ends at noonish. So even if my iPad is fully charged it will NOT make it through all of that on its own.

What about if I teach all day and have a concert in the evening. My morning rehearsal starts at 7am. I’m there by 6:40. Teach all day and then after school usually have another shirt rehearsal. So that means my iPad is in use ALL day 6:45-3:30. Then back for soundcheck at 5 and the concert starts at 6:30 and runs until 7:45 usually.

All that to say…. ya know…. I kind of like having my old fashion keyboard that just simply plugs into an outlet and is ALWAYS ready to go as far as power. BUT…. MAN that thing is HEAVY!

MET Podcast #14 – It’s a New Year

It has been a little while since Chris Russell and I have done a podcast- OK, maybe since last June – YIKES!

So we finally figured it was time to talk about the latest in tech in our life’s.

Find the podcast here, on iTunes and even on Spotify now! – Go Chris!

Link to the audio file:



Updates to Cubasis and Sale!

If anyone is using Cubasis it just got updated. Now there is one more IAP with an arpeggiator…… and well…. just go read their blog.

But it is on sale for $25. Seriously… why would anyone pay full price for this app? It’s on sale constantly!

But hey…. in this last week of school before we are done for Christmas Break I did buy the IAP and it did remind how very sweet the MicroLogue Synth in Cubasis is.

Got creative trying to use the arps and learn what’s up.

I do have to say that the new arpeggiator is very cool the way it works…. very easy to figure out and tweak things.

Anywho… if you care to listen…

Performing with an iPad Using the KeyStage App (and a few others)

This post is about how I use an iPad, the KeyStage app and a bunch of other apps to make my performances so much more dynamic and easier as a keyboardist!  At the end I have a YouTube video to walk you through my performance setup. Here are some links to the apps you will see in the video.

KeyStage – $25 (It was on a Black Friday Sale when I bought it)

Korg Module

Korg iM1

AudioKit Digital D1 Synth

AudioKit Synth One Synthesizer

So I am having a harder time these days using an iPad for simply just reading music from during a performance. Putting all my sheet music on an iPad is one of the reasons I purchased an iPad the day it first came out. It is still one of the biggest reasons I use an iPad. It helps me stay organized on a daily basis. I can not fathom having to go back to paper music.

With that being said though….

There are SO many amazing sounding music instrument apps available these days that now I REALLY want to use my iPad as an instrument! Thankfully I get a chance to do that because I play at church frequently. When I do I usually am not the main keyboardist so it allows me the freedom to provide backup sounds and to play with all these amazing apps!

There are several different stages of using your iPad as an instrument.

BASIC – The most basic is to simply use the screen of the iPad as the playing surface and to use one app as the sound source. Animoog, ThumbJam, GeoSynth, and GeoShred are some fine examples of great apps that go beyond simply offering a traditional keyboard to play on.

INTERMEDIATE – The second level would be to use an external controller combined with one app on your iPad. So for instance a MIDI keyboard connected through the camera connector kit to Korg Module. This would offer teachers amazing sounds played with a traditional keyboard.

Another example would be to use a Roli Seaboard Block and their Noise app. By the way…. the Noise app is a lot of fun to use as a basic performance instrument! IT offers greater flexibility and nuance to the sound you produce then using a traditional keyboard. Of course if you use the external SeaBoard Blocks you get even greater nuance to your sounds! But that is an entirely different post!

ADVANCED – I think there is a more advanced level which is even more satisfying! (which by the way does NOT mean difficult to pull off!)

This is what I am doing Sunday mornings at church right now. I am using several different methods to play with the worship team…

1)Using the AUM-Audio Mixer app with two external MIDI keyboard controllers, one for playing and the other for mixing the sounds coming from multiple apps.

but the next method provides even greater flexibility…

KeyStage Icon2)I’ve started using the KeyStage app by Ali Gokturk. This app is mainly for keyboard players who want a master controller app to control multiple hardware and software instruments.

The benefits of using KeyStage are that I can now load up all the  apps I want to use for a particular setlist, plugin multiple hardware controllers and set up all my sounds in/on each app/instrument so that I can quickly switch between songs!

Using AUM I had about 15-20 seconds where I had dead time on my part if I want to use the same app but different sounds. So if I want to use an electric piano for the first song and then switch to strings in the second song it took me a few seconds to jump into the Korg Module app to switch sounds.

Using KeyStage I now have NO downtime between changing sounds in multiple apps! In fact I can have my sounds change while going from the verse into the chorus! It is that easy and fast! Using KeyStage I can even setup layers and splits with ease. So if I want to have a pad sound being played with my left hand and a bell sound being played with my right hand it is SO easy to do do!

KeyStage Screen 1.png

Another super nice feature is that Ali has a Performance Mode in the app. This screen has nice big buttons at the bottom of the screen for jumping between sections of the songs. Here is the blurb from the App Store about the live Performance Mode….

“The live console of KeyStage is optimized for live performances. For each section, you can view one of the five live units in the live console:

1. Info Unit, which show an overview of the section including the keyboard ranges, volumes and pitch translations of each instrument
2. XY Touch Surface, where you can assign control change or pitch bend parameters to x and y axis
3. Lyrics Unit, where you can show the lyrics for the section
4. Media Unit, where you can view PDF and JPG files
5. Piano Unit, which is a virtual MIDI piano with a pitch bend”

KeyStage Screen 2.png

There are now so many opportunities to get a sound out of my iPad that I never could have gotten before I found KeyStage!

Ali is a great guy who is VERY responsive to questions which I have posted on his YouTube tutorials. He would rather you find his FaceBook page though!

Now… I do have to warn that the music scene on iOS is chaining in big ways, growing fast and yet is still in it’s infantile state.

In order to connect apps together to make music in the beginning there was AudioBus. Then the developers (or was it Apple?) developed Inter-App Audio. But NOW There are AudioUnits! Sound confusing? Well, join the club!

The short explanation of the three is that AudioUnits simply rock! For one, you can use multiple instances the same app plus AU’s save their state! That means that everything is exactly as you used it the next time you load that AU back up!

BUT since not all apps are AudioUnit’s yet you do need to be able to tell these apps which sound you want to use for each section in KeyStage. Thankfully there are a good number of apps that use program changes to make this easy. The good news is that Ali has put in an editor in KeyStage to accomplish the magic here. Some apps, like the ones from AudioKit, make it super easy to figure out the program changes. Ali has made it super easy for us to setup the patches for each app once you figure out the correct program change and bank select messages! (and before anyone asks – I misspelled iProphet below and NO it does NOT support program changes – none fo the Arturia apps do)KeyStage Editor.jpeg

In testing KeyStage with the apps I have I have found several that just don’t work – Like SynthMaster One – BUMMER! The good news is Ali knows that developer and they are working on fixing this issue.

In speaking with Ali I asked which apps he has personally used with KeyStage. His response was…

“Jordantron, Sampletank. Geoshred, Sunrizer, iSymphonic Orchestra, Galileo, SampleWiz, SynthMaster Player, Korg Module, ThumbJam, iGrand Piano, Digital D1, LayR, Magellan, Animoog”

I will start a separate page soon with a list of apps that I have found that work well.

In order to make it all easier for you to get an idea of how I am using KeyStage I’ve created a YouTube video because you know what they say…. A picture is worth a thousand words and a video is worth a million! (Do they say that?)

Best iOS DAW’s for iPad/iPhone (Several are on sale right now too!)

I’ve got several suggestions every time someone asks me what I would suggest as being the best choice for music educators who want to record a concert and then edit that recording. Maybe they want to add some EQ, Reverb, trim excess noise and push out each individual song. Here are what I consider the top four players in this world of apps for recording audio.

Cubasis LogoCubasis – Full blown DAW (Currently on sale the week of Black Friday for half price!) $24.99

Cubasis does all the audio editing you’ve ever dreamed of on an iPad! It also allows you to insert effects. There are some that are available inside of Cubasis as part of the original purchase and then you can expand on the capabilities with IAP’s or other apps from other developers.  Cubasis also allows you to record and edit MIDI tracks which is amazing for when you need to create accompaniment tracks for your choir or solo kids or anything.

Auria LogoAuria Pro (or Auria LE) – Full blown DAW (Currently on sale the week of Black Friday for half price!) $24.99

Auria, I believe, was one of the first apps that was advertised as being able to record multitrack audio on an iPad before that was even thought of as being possible! It really was an eye opener to watch that video back then and read about the upcoming possibilities. We simply held our breath hoping that all they promised would come true. It did. In fact this app has simply gotten better over the years.

MultiTrack DAWMultiTrack DAW – simple and straight forward. Also works on iPhone

When you just want to open an app on whichever device you might have with you at the time, add a track and hit the record button this is the app for you. Simple and straightforward. I like that MultiTrack DAW offers the ability to transfer it’s recordings via wi-fi from inside the app. I mean…. at some point in time you are going to want to do more with your recordings and this allows for easy and quick transfer to a laptop.

Ferrite RecordingStudioFerrite – free – has IAP’s to unlock more than 3 tracks and an hour of music. This app was really created for making Podcasting easier but has such amazing potential for recording audio for anything.

Apps on Sale – Thanksgiving and Black Friday 2018 Week

Oh man…so many apps and music things on sale this week!

AirTurn Pedals, iPad Holders, and Stands are all 20% off!

PreSonus Notion is 50% off as is StudioOne for the desktop. No iOS sale yet.

Below is a collection of apps that I have found to be amazing music performance apps/music education apps. All high quality and now is a great time to purchase!

  • SynthMaster One
  • Xequence
    (Plus the IAP’s!)
  • Brusfri
  • Grand Finale
  • SampleTank
  • Neo-Soul Keys Studio
  • BeatHawk
  • Animoog
  • Model 15
  • Model D
  • Zeeon Synth
  • Sunrizer
  • Impaktor
  • Patterning 2
  • Wizibel – Add some sweet effects to music videos.
  • VirSyn Apps

Playing in the SandBox – Using Technology to Create Music

This video is what happens when you eat an Angry Who-Roast Beast Omelette and then have the next day off from school. You play in your sandbox and create using technology.

Ok, Ok…. maybe this is just what happens to ME!

What if our kids could do this on a daily basis though – use technology to create? Oh how I wish………