Where Apple Music Fails

Apple Music can never replace the joy of walking into a used CD store and finding 5-10 CD’s that you have been wanting to add to your collection! Oh don’t get me wrong – I can sign into Apple Music and “listen” to those CD’s (maybe) BUT I want to “OWN” them – forever! I want my kids to browse through my CD’s and discover a new artist. I want them to discover a CD that they had no idea a certain had ever even recorded! I want to be able to pull that CD jacket out, I want to see pictures and check out how was in that band for that particular CD and I want to touch it!

By the way – Apple Music has a ton of music but It couldn’t pull up the track and title for the Chuck Mangione CD below.

GoodWill CD Find 2015

AudioBus Remote – Super Secret Project Is Now Here!

  No more waiting to find out what the AudioBus team has been up to. Today they released AudioBus Remote

Check it out and let me know what you think. 


BlueTooth MIDI Is Big and It’s Coming! (Actually it’s already here)

Kickstarter and IndieGogo campaigns are an interesting concept. I very much like the ideas that I see come across though. I also appreciate the ability to go to the masses for funding instead of traditional methods.

The latest two to catch my interest have to deal with BlueTooth MIDI – I can not WAIT to cut out all wires in my life! Of course I don’t think this will actually happen in my lifespan but we are getting closer all the time! MIDI is one of the necessities of musicians dealing with computers, controllers and keyboards. It also means wires and plugs. Try hooking up controllers to your iPad for instance… it can get messy REAL fast. Try hooking up those keyboards you have had around for a few years to your iPad and the adaptors, interfaces and wires get worse!

The good news is that Apple pushed bluetooth 4 out a little while ago and it is fast enough to handle MIDI! An additional benefit is the power consumption – very little power is needed to support BT4!

Here are the two products that are exciting me….

XKey AirXkey Air – is a small keyboard controller that works without wires! It has already been funded 5x’s over the original amount desired so this product is a go! There are two versions of the Xkey: The Xkey Air 25 that will retail for $199 and the Xkey Air 37 that will retail for $299

Pucpuc plus: Universal Bluetooth MIDI Interface – This device looks exactly like the name implies – a hockey puc but it’s serves as a Bluetooth MIDI interface for all your 5 pin MIDI devices and devices with USB MIDI! That means you now need even less wires!

One of the very nifty bonuses of Bluetooth MIDI is that the connection is FAST! The connection will allow for use during performances without worry!

Another nifty bonus is that you can have multiple devices connected through BlueTooth MIDI! Imagine an entire MIDI lab all running XKey Air’s!

Get in now to receive the lower pricing!

Exciting App Sales For Teachers!

There are some amazing deals to be had for teachers in the app store currently! In Apples Feature section all for 0.99 cents…. If you don’t have any of these apps this is a no brainier ! Buy the first three at least. As for Good Reader… It is a toss up between the Readdle Apps and GoodReader.  I don’t buy into their trying to sell me on using this app for music PDF’s though. ForScore and UnReal Book should be your go to apps there. I do applaud their adding the ability to control the app through the use of Bluetooth pedals though!


FaceTune For iPad

FaceTune for iPhone

Another app that is extremely useful is….

ScreensVNC – access your computer through your iOS device from anywhere! This app is at its lowest price it has ever hit at 50% off, making it $9.99 currently. 

Importing Instrumental Parts Scanned In NotateMe Into Notion Using Just an iPad – Tutorial

notatemelogoNotion Large IconSmartMusic LargeSmartMusic InBox Large

Most teachers use their summer time as a chance to rejuvenate and relax while at the same time planning and preparing for the upcoming school year. As a music teacher who likes to take advantage of the technology available to us today, I am deep into the prep work for my fall Marching Band Show. Currently I am working on the music. I wanted to share some of that process because the tools we have available to us are exciting. These tools open doors to new ways to teach, assess and improve our students/ourselves.

CURRENT PROJECT: My end outcome is that I want my marching band students to use SmartMusic to record playing assessments. This allows me a chance to hear each and every individual student, give them feedback to improve as an individual and then I also use those assessments to hone in on issues to work on with the full group.

THE PROBLEM: SmartMusic has an extensive repertoire for band students but my marching band music is not included in that list.

THE SOLUTION: Thankfully MakeMusic allows us to use Finale to create our own SmartMusic assessments.

THE PROCESS: Of course that means that we have to take each instrumental part and get it into Finale in the first place. Because Finale and I do not get along – I have other programs that allow me to work much faster – I utilize the XML file format. XML allows me to work with other music notation programs to create the digital sheet music that will then smoothly import into Finale which will translate that into SmartMusic.

As complicated as this process sounds it really is so much easier these days! In fact, much of the work can now be done using simply an iPad allowing me to work wherever I want to. I do not have to be sitting at my desk at my house or God forbid, the school! So here it all is….

STEP ONE: Using my iPad I scan each part into NotateMe working with the PhotoScore plugin. Neuratron has just updated the desktop version of PhotoScore to version 8 so this process can also be done using a regular computer. I’ve not yet figured out which is fastest, the computer or the iPad. Each works so darned well now that I think you are going to win no matter which way you go!

STEP TWO: Using NotateMe on my iPad I go through and carefully check for the following items – Time Signatures, Key signatures, Multi-measure Rests and then notation issues. If any of these, which I call the Big Four, are messed up then trying to import the NotateMe XML into another music notation app is going to be more work. Honestly, I don’t even worry that much about articulations, dynamics and for sure NEVER worry about markings such as rehearsal letters, tempo or style. Those items are faster most times to fix later in another app once all parts are imported.

Screen Shot 2015-07-13 at 5.07.48 PMSTEP THREE: I then take advantage of NotateMe’s XML export feature to dump the now digital sheet music into Notion on my iPad.

STEP FOUR: I double check that all is good once I open the music in Notion. Again I check the big four – I often find I missed something in NotateMe like a key signature change. Sometimes I find that measures of rests did not all import correctly.

STEP FIVE: If it is a transposing instrument I then transpose the part to concert key and then select the entire part and copy it.

STEP SIX: Then it is time to open the full score and paste in the individual part. You really must pay attention because if you missed one of those big four items in the above steps then when you paste in the new music EVERY SINGLE STAVE is changed and is now WRONG! Time signatures will be in the wrong spot, key signatures will be messed up etc… In fact – if you messed up the measures it is absurdly hard to fix it after pasting into the full score. I will just undo the paste, exit out of the score and go back to the individual part to fix any of the big four issues.

STEP SEVEN: Importing from NotateMe into Notion using the XML format messes with positioning of dynamics so you have to select the entire Notion score, tap the more option, tap the attachments option and select the auto position.

STEP EIGHT: I now go through the entire score to figure out where I have missing dynamic issues, to input rehearsal letters/numbers, set correct tempos and any other final details.

Screen Shot 2015-07-13 at 5.07.37 PMSTEP NINE: Then I export the score out of Notion as an XML file, Import that into Finale and save it as a SmartMusic file.

STEP TEN: Assign playing tests to the students

STEP ELEVEN: Listen to the playing tests and give immediate feedback!

This all sounds like it might take forever but in reality I can have a song completed in one day and STILL not get my wife too upset at me. :)

I’ve recorded this process in a nifty YouTube video for you to see the process of taking the scanned NotateMe music and importing it into your score. That is the part that takes a little bit of thinking so I figured a video may help some of you. If you have questions please contact me and I will see where I can help.


Notion Large IconNotion -Download on App Store (Just make sure you know that the Saxophones are an IAP for .99 each – STUPID)

notatemelogoNotateMe – Download on App Store (Make Sure to get the PhotoScore IAP too though)

SmartMusic LargeSmartMusic – Download on App Store

SmartMusic InBox LargeSmartMusic Inbox – Download on App Store

Finale – Web Site (as they do not have an app for the iPad yet for Creating Finale files)

Music XML – Can’t download this as it is built into various apps like Notion and Finale. It is owned by Make Music though.

Summertime Giveaway of S-Cubed Middle School Sight Singing Program for Beginners!

Screen Shot 2015-07-13 at 11.24.01 AMDale Duncan over at his blog “In The Middle With Mr. D” is running a Giveway of his S-Cubed Sight Singing Program for Beginners! It was at the Tech In Music Ed blog that I first found out about this program. Because of the fact that Chris heard of S-Cubed through another teacher in different Minnesota school district he decided give the program a run in his own teaching – read more about that and S-Cubed.

Dale developed his material from taking his own teaching experiences along with information and experiences he observed in other classrooms. Nw he wants to share what has been successful in his classroom, and looks like is working for many others too! He has more information at his website, Facebook and YouTube sites.

My own blog is about sharing my experiences, success’s and failures with others so I appreciate way Dale has developed, shared and sold his S-Cubed SightReading program. I appreciate the fact that Chris learned of the program through others and the reason he decided to give the program a whirl was because the other teachers success.

We gotta share people – share! Tell others! Tell others what works and doesn’t work for you in your particular situation!

Anyways – go enter the Giveaway!

(Look for this thingy at the bottom of the post – when I entered there was 36 hours left, now there is only like 34! The winner will be announced on July 15, 2015 so HURRRY!)

Screen Shot 2015-07-13 at 11.25.28 AM

A Word of Warning About iOS9 Beta’s – To all you pioneers!

Screen Shot 2015-07-10 at 8.44.26 PMThis is exactly why you should NOT do the iOS9 Beta when you have one iPad that you are relying on along with ONE app that is vital to your job! Beta testing is fun, adventurous and can also be disastrous! Same with upgrading even AFTER software and operating systems are released for real.

ForScore is in one of the app categories that I use every single day in every single one of my classes and lessons that I teach!

iOS9 beta tempts many of us with it’s shiny new tricks and since Apple released it as a public beta we tell ourselves, it can’t be THAT bad can it?

Well, case in point – install the iOS9 public beta and ForScore isn’t going to work AND it might not be fall until it does! Here is the word from ForScore’s news blog –

From ForScore about the iOS 9 Betas


An update to one of Apple’s support documents today suggests that a public beta of iOS 9 is coming soon. As with any iOS beta, we do not suggest installing prerelease builds on any device that you use to run forScore. This is especially true for iOS 9.

The three private beta versions of iOS 9 that Apple has released to developers so far have all exhibited an issue that makes forScore unusable. The issue is very clearly on Apple’s end, and the bug report that we filed has been marked as a duplicate (meaning that we’re not the first to report it and that Apple is definitely aware of the problem). Until this problem is fixed, forScore will frequently become unresponsive until the home button is pressed or double-pressed.

Rest assured that these problems will be fixed by the time iOS 9 is released this fall. In the mean time, please do not install any beta versions of iOS 9 unless you’re using a dedicated device or you don’t plan on using forScore until the fall (gasp!).”


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