Dealing with Documents As A Teacher

Technology is supposed to help us but if we don’t even know what is possible or the best way to handle situations then the tech is useless!

Like dealing with the overwhelming pile of documents as a teacher – and I’m not even talking about the music here in this post!

Since I am on Spring Break and sitting 100 feet from the Gulf of Mexico I’m going to make this short….


Hands down the best app for this task is Scanner Pro 6 IconScanner Pro and this is on sale right now for $3.99! Just go get it!



I use a combination of the following:

  1. DropBox – Cloud storage
  2. – Cloud storage
  3. PDF ExpertPDF Expert – $9.99 (Anything that I need to annotate and write on goes into this app!
  4. Documents Small IconDocuments – Free and the bonus here is that there are some SWEET updates coming for this app!

Borderlands Granular 50% Off

 Borderlands Granular is 50% through this weekend – best sale of the week right here folks!

Well this is welcome news! If you have never seen this app in action check out the YouTube I’ve linked in at the bottom of the post. This is one of the greatest alternative music creating apps I’ve seen, and believe me …. I’ve looked at a TON! It’s got so much potential o create everything from normal sounding to the WAY out there experimental stuff that some may not call music at all! Such a great app to put into the hands of students that are willing to explore and experiment!

As I am on Spring Break I’m going to cheat  here a bit and just post a clip from the App Store…. Check the video below as it will make you want to flip to the App Store and click buy NOW!


DayOne 2 App Goes Free! 

If you don’t have an app to journal in this is the time to move! DayOne2 has recently been updated to version 2 which has made an already stellar app even better! Plus it now has an IFTTT channel too! What you have to do though to score this deal is open the Apple Store app, scroll down towards the bottom and soon you will see this…..


Screens VNC 3 is on a nice sale for a short time. 

  Screens VNC 3

Even better than this sale is the fact that they are working in Screens 4 and it will be a free update for anyone using Screens 3!

This is a wonderful app that allows you to control your computer from an iOS device. Very useful for music teachers who have apps on their desktop/laptop they need to control – like when your laptop is connected to your classroom projector. Or when you need to control a DAW from your keyboard. Or when you want to record your ensemble from the podium and be able to playback from the podium all the while using your phone/iPad as the “remote”. 


Teachers Recording Ensembles – How and Why

As a music teacher you absolutely should be making use of easy to use technology to record your rehearsals. These are for you as much as your students –

  1. PRIMARY REASON – Students always think they are better than they actually are – until they hear themselves!
  2. SECONDARY REASON – Show progress and proof of learning your classes objectives. Record them sight-reading the piece and then mid-way and then at the concert.
  3. THIRD REASON – These let you sit down later and review what needs to be done in upcoming rehearsals!
  4. The list could go on and on but you can make your own list…. I want to share how I do this…..

HOW? Got a phone or an iPad? What about one of these little handheld recorders? Easy to use, easy to carry and they sound pretty darn good!

Tascam DR22WL.pngHere is one of the recorders I use – A Tascam DR22WL- it cost about $150. I love it because it has a Wi-Fi server built into it so that I can remote control it from my iPhone. So what I do is set the recorder up out front of the band, put my iPhone on my podium and from my podium I can start/stop/playback/set levels and other things without ever touching the recorder.

Of course I end up taking many recordings off the Recorder/iPhone/iPad and using them for reference in score study along with other reference later. This also allows me to make the three basic edits on each track – 1)Set the start/stop points so there isn’t excess noise 2)Normalize the volume and 3)Convert the file from Wave to AAC so it is a more manageable file size.


AudioShare.PNGI take the files from the SD card or simply hook up a USB cable from the recorder to my laptop to pull the files into DropBox. The next step is to use my iPad with a wonderfully handy app called

AudioShare SmallAudioShare. AudioShare allows me to pull each file (or a batch of them) from DropBox onto my iPad. Then once that file is in AudioShare I startediting/normalizing/converting – which takes about a minute per track. The final step is to upload those files back into DropBox so i can pull them into iTunes. Once in iTunes all my devices are able to see these files and play them because of my subscription to iTunes Match.

AudioShare SmallAudioShare will be the best $4.99 you’ve spent on an app in a long time if you don’t already own it and you are a music teacher doing this sort of thing.

BONUS – IN FACT…. If you just simply want to use your iPad/iPhone to record you can do all of this from AudioShare – record, edit and upload all from one little app!

New App – Transcribe+ is a winner for musicians and Teachers!

Transcribe+.pngTranscribe+ is a wonderful app for musicians, music teachers, amateurs and professionals alike to help in learning new songs or practice sessions. The app itself is free to download but requires a $4.99 IAP to unlock full access. HURRY!!!! This is a 50% sale at the time and the price will soon go up. I should have brought this app up about 20 days ago but have been a bit busier than normal with having a student teacher. Transcribe+ has even caught Apple’s attention as it has been on their top selling list of apps on the front page of the app store! Congrats to the developer Joe!

As a musician we are always trying to learn that next piece of music. If we are really trying to improve we always have a few pieces at least that are really pushing our level of performance to a new level! Which means we need to do a bunch of listening, rewinding, maybe changing the key of what we are working on and just looping sections many times over. Maybe you are trying to learn a piece of music that there isn’t even sheet music for, which means you are going to want to do all of the above to the nth degree!

“Back in the Day” I had to sit there with one hand on the tape deck and one hand on the keyboard while I transcribed and practiced those parts. That squealing of the tape deck rewinding still ring sin my ears but oh the satisfaction upon success!

Now we have technology to the rescue –

The basic premise is simple – play any non-DRM song in your iTunes library that has been downloaded to your device. While playing the song you can slow the speed down, change the pitch up or down and loop any section.

You can see how nice and clean everything is laid out in the screen shot below. To change the speed you simply drag the speed line left or right (here I’ve got things slowed down to .61 of the original speed . Also you can see below that you are given the ability to drop in markers to help in your jumping around. These markers are saved for every song you work on so don’t fear of loosing them! The loop is on in the screen shot below as well – that is where you see the waveform highlighted. You can drag the left or right boundaries to select the section that you want.


In the screenshot below I’ve got the speed and pitch both changed as well as zooming into waveform. In order to change pitch you simply drag up or down on the pitch line.


I am sure that this will add a few more features in the future such as maybe having a list of all the markers you have created so that it is easy to jump to a specific spot even if it is not in view. All in all Transcribe+ achieves it’s goal of giving us one more excellent tool to use in learning music!

Dynamic App Design has several other excellent apps available as well… (These both are free to download but require an IAP to actually unlock full features)

Practice+Practice+ – which is a metronome, tuner, recorder and a metronome looper/setlist.

Metronome+.pngMetronome+ – ummmm….. really I think this is just the old version of Practice+

Sale Prices On Important Apps Ending March 1st

If you don't have either of see apps and you are a musician then now is the time…..

Cubasis is 50%off at $24.99

AUM Mixer is on intro price right now. This new app is outstanding and solves some issues we have had to deal with thought the years of making music on an iPad.


Using Your iPad To Edit and Master Recordings

Our Band Boosters just held a 3 hour long variety show. During that show we ran all sound through PreSonus sound equipment which is just lovely! 32 channels from the StudioLive 32AI were all recorded into Capture so we could have a recording to refer back to later.

There are a few of those recordings that I really want to create mix downs of as they involve my performing groups and also some of our family.

So I took my daughters performance, grabbed the digital audio and pulled them into Cubasis small iconCubasis on my iPad (Cubasis is on a 50% sale currently for $24.99 by the way). I could have just as easily used PreSonus’s FREE StudioOne software but I wanted to use my iPad. I could have also used AuriaPro but since I am still trying to learn that app and I REALLY wanted to hear my daughter’s track I went Cubasis this time around!

There were two vocal tracks and two guitar tracks so this was a pretty quick and straight forward project. I ran the two vocal tracks through some Inter-App-Audio Effects – AltiSpace Small IconAltispace for Dan’s backup and then AudioReverb small iconAudioReverb for Montana’s vocal. I also used a Compressor and EQ from Cubasis. On the Guitar tracks I put her guitar through Stereo Designer Mini - Holderness MediaStereoDesigner and Dan’s guitar through the Stereo Width Effect from the IAP inside of Cubasis. Both guitars got the Reverb effect from Cubasis as well.

After I did a bit of editing the waveforms to clean out the unwanted portions, mixed the track a bit, added the effects I sent the final mix down over to Audio Mastering Small IconAudioMastering to add that final polish to the track. For those of you who don’t have a clue how to master a track, don’t worry neither do I! BUT I can also tell that many times after messing around in Audio Mastering I find a few settings that have improved the mix from where I started!

Take a listen to each of the tracks below from my SoundCloud and see if you can tell the difference between the original file and the one I ran through AudioMastering.

New App – Mersenne: Melodic Percussion Synthesizer App!


Well now, this app certainly looks and sounds amazing (That is if the YouTube Demo video is pulling sounds only from this app. I do not have confirmation of that yet)

Mersenne Icon.pngMersenne – Melodic Percussion Synthesizer has been created to give us some intriguing methods in which to play melodic percussion from our iPads. The app is 33% off for the introductory price and will cost you $3.99 currently.

Mersenne main.pngThe app supports Inter-App-Audio, AudioBus, CoreMIDI, VirtualMIDI and is at its heart a polyphonic synth. There is an included arpeggiator as well as chorus, delay and reverb.

Not much else can be found on their website but this is from IceGear Instruments which is the same company who has brought us several other popular apps. Laplace and Lorentz alongside Cassini, Xenon and Argon. So these guys are not new to the iOS world of music making.

Here is a YouTube demo from an artist that you can find on SoundCloud who goes by the name of Aero Finback….


Aero Finback on SoundCloud….

New iPad Mixer App

AUM Mixer.pngAUM Mixer – Introductory price for a limited time only, 50% off! /// AUM is the flexible audio mixer, recorder, and connection hub for your iPad, iPhone and iPod touch. Connect hardware inputs and outputs, Audio Unit extensions, Inter-App Audio apps, Audiobus, soundfile players, built-in signal processing and so much more!