Alternative Musical Interfaces

 One of the reasons I really enjoy iOS for making music is the fact that it is so easy to make music with an alternative interface/design. I ran across a new one today that I thought I would share with you.

Temperament provides you with a nifty three circle design giving you the chromatic scale on thirteen circles with each ring going one octave higher. Simple and yet effective. Even better is the fact that it is not a piano keyboard.  Not many options for built in sounds and no option for MIDI control to a different app currently. Maybe the developer will keep adding more options in the future.

There are options though for adjusting what happens when you move your finger on the X or Y axis.

Just fun to play with. Free too.

Drill book Next Apps On Sale – Marching Band Directors/Students Buy It NOW!

Drillbook Next Logo LargeIf you are a marching band director or student then you know the pain and anguish we all go through each and every marching season – Those printed page after page of drill charts – or maybe your band uses those little tiny coordinate sheets. Either way ya gotta deal with them. How do you? Over the years I have finally decided that the best way my bands and I worked was to print drill chart books for instructors and several to scatter throughout the sections. Everyone else gets coordinate sheets. Those little sheets were a life changer!

Last season I picked up DrillBook Next and found the next revolution! This app is just simply amazing! I’d always wanted to bring my laptop with Pyware all loaded up, out onto the football field. I pretty figured that would be a disaster so I never did. Now, this is actually BETTER!

I have in my hands every kids charts, coordinate and I can animate the entire drill! It’s insane! This next marching season we are going to have 3-4 iPads on the field so every section can animate and see what the drill is supposed to do! I can not WAIT! (Well OK, that’s kind of a lie – I really CAN wait because honestly, I just got out of school and I haven’t even written the drill yet!)

Which brings me to what this is NOT going to do…. I just do not see this as ever replacing Pyware on my computer. Instead what happens is I print the coordinate sheets from Pyware and THOS get imported into DrillBook Next. It’s very fast, easy and super simple.

Updating the show as the season goes along makes things even easier with pushing out updates to my instructors. I push the update and their iPad downloads it. Boom – updated show! :)’ing instructors and more efficient teaching!

Currently there are several flavors of the app – all of which are 50% off currently. For how long I don’t know – seriously, go download this if you are a Marching Band Director using Pyware (I know Pyware has their own app out but since I haven’t upgraded to v8 yet I can not use that app. Pyware is amazing software but the yearly update costs are crazy high and I don’t “Need” the update. The new features do look absolutely astonishing though! But when you teach at a small school with a small budget and the kids are playing on 30+ year old instruments, it becomes difficult to justify the upgrade price every year!

Drillbook Next for Directors on iOS which is universal for iPad and iPhone – $4.99
Drillbook Next Reader HD on iOS which is for students using an iPad -$2.99
Drillbook Next Reader on iOS which is for students using an iPhone/iPod Touch – $2.99

It appears as though on Android the Reader App is available for $2.99 as well.

DrillBook Next Screens

New Waldorf-Music App Released – Attack Drums

For those of you who want to make music with your iPads, instead of using it just for a glorified calendar – exciting news for you all! Waldorf-Music now has two iPad apps for your creative minds to play with. NaveNave has been out for awhile now and is on of the great iPad synth apps that really shows off the capabilities of what is possible with mobile music making.

Attack Drums LogoTo expand on their iPad offerings, Attack Drums has just been released on June 12, 2015.
The app is currently on sale for $14.99 and will go up to $19.99 on June 26

I like what the iTunes page says about the app –

“Attack Drums is a synthesizer designed mainly for drum sounds, but the powerful sound engine can also be used for everything else – including vocals. Based on the Waldorf Attack VST PlugIn from 2001, it consists of a 24-part sound engine, now packed with a pattern sequencer and a versatile effects section.

One highlight of the effects section is the new Phrase Vocoder, a vocoder that uses written text instead of spoken words. Lyrics in – song out, adjust gender as you have always wanted!

Just like Waldorf Nave, Attack Drums is a seriously in-depth musical instrument – easy and fun to use, but a a sonic beast at its core!”

This app goes beyond simple drum machine programming – the Phrase Vocoder could be an entire unit in an electronic music class! Type in lyrics and this app will sing them! Just for people like me who no one wants to hear sing! Now of course this is going to replace your school choir but it’s sure is going to be a ton of fun!

They have also put in a nifty 24 track mixer that is going to be nice to use! The way in which they designed the sequencer and pattern windows is going to make this part of the app easy to use!

For those of you who want to read the PDF manual they even gave us one!


Screen Shot 2015-06-13 at 1.58.13 PM Screen Shot 2015-06-13 at 1.58.03 PM

SampleTank iPad App On a 50% Sale Until the 18th (Some of the IAP’s are 50% too!)


SampleTank for iPad – $9.99 (50% off)
Even bigger news as I am sure many of you already have this app, is that you can get the All Sounds Sound Pack for only $19.99 (50% off normal price of $39.99)! [I’m pretty sure that the All Sounds Pack does not include the SampleMoog, Miroslav or Sonik Synth packs – please let me know if I am wrong or correct by leaving me a comment below]

Here is a list of all the sound packs and their individual discounted prices if you only want a few of them –

SampleTank Expansion PacksSampleTank Discounted In-Apps:
All Sounds Pack – $19.99 (normally $39.99)
SampleMoog™ – Mobile Edition – $9.99 (normally $19.99)
Miroslav Philharmonik – Mobile Edition – $9.99 (normally $19.99)
Sonik Synth – Mobile Edition – $9.99 (normally $19.99)
The Grid – $4.99 (normally $9.99)
Sonik – Keyboards – $4.99 (normally $9.99)
Sonik – Guitar & Bass – $4.99 (normally $9.99)
Sonik – Electronic – $6.99 (normally $14.99)
Sonik – Drums – $4.99 (normally $9.99)
Trons – $4.99 (normally $9.99)
Piano – $4.99 (normally $9.99)
Bass – $4.99 (normally $9.99)
Upgrade to Full – $9.99 (normally $19.99)

If you are an iPad toting musician, buying the SampleTank app for iPad is one of those kind of apps that was the reason you bought an iPad in the first place! This app is also a reason NOT to get a 16GB iPad, for that matter even a 32GB is questionable as a musician! In the basic download this app requires 1.03GB of space. Start adding in the IAP sound expansions and you will need even more space! The good news is that this app is worth that space. The sounds are without question at the top of the list for quality! The app is pretty straightforward – high quality sounds, four part multi-timbral, four track sequencer, along with InterApp Audio and AudioBus!

What that means is that with just this app, or an external MIDI keyboard, you can create some great sounding recordings with little effort!



SampleTank is a professional-quality sound and groove workstation that puts hundreds of world-class instruments and patterns at your fingertips: piano, organ, drums, bass, guitar, strings, synths, percussion, vocals and more!

SampleTank gives you 16 instrument categories for an expandable sound set of over 600 instruments that cover virtually every acoustic, electric and electronic sound you may need. Plus, each category includes instrument riffs and grooves, so you can immediately use the over 1,000 included patterns.

Its instruments give you unmatched realism, sound variety and audio performance: It’s a true premier for the iOS world. For the first time on this platform, hundreds of professional sample-based sounds and patterns can be easily accessed, layered and used for playing live. Now you can make music anytime and anywhere the inspiration hits you.

SampleTank comes with 136 instruments and over 1,000 patterns. You can expand your sound library a-la-carte via in-app purchase with 22 Sound Packs for each instrument category including Drums, Bass, Guitar, Piano, Electric Piano, Organ, Chromatic, Strings, Brass, Woodwinds, Synth Leads, Synth Pads, Trons, Voices, Ethnic, Percussion and Sound FX (or download the complete SampleTank Sound Packs bundle). You can also purchase the new SampleMoog™ – Mobile Edition and Miroslav Philharmonik – Mobile Edition downloadable Sound Collections in the in-app store to add over 200 of the best analog synth and orchestral instruments from these legendary libraries.

SampleTank Screen

Got Things 2Do? 2Do apps are free this week!

2doLogoIt would be very bad of me not to mention Apple’s Free App of the Week 2Do

iPad and iPhone Version FREE (Usually $14.99)

As music educators, husbands, wives and just people we constantly have stuff to do, things to get, and lists to keep track of. That is why you HAVE to have an excellent To Do app. Since 2Do is free for the iPad, iPhone AND even the Apple Watch – this is a great time to grab it up and try it out. These apps are not usually on the cheap end of prices as far as apps go.

2DoAppIcon.200x200-75They even have a Mac version of the App that is currently half off! Of course at 1/2 off it is still $25. There is a Demo you can download from their website to get a good chance to try the app out before you plunk down your hard earned money.

The price is one of the reasons I never got into this app in the first place – they wanted a pretty high price for iOS and then $50 for the Mac version! Yikes! I don’t like To Do apps THAT much. But with the price of free and 1/2 off it is more appealing.

With all versions of the app you could REALLY tie in all of your devices and stay sync’d everywhere! I should mention right now that this app WILL sync to Apple’s Reminders app – this is vital for me. In fact, if a To Do app doesn’t have this ability the developers should just go get another job right now! Being able to use SIRI to create reminders is something I do many times every day! In 2Do you will have to dig into the sync settings and select the CalDav option, type in your Apple ID and password and you will be all set. It does take a couple of moments before it actually syncs so don’t freak out if you don’t see all your Reminder’s there right away – patience my friend!


Using iMovies Trailer Feature in The Classroom!

So every student and teacher deals with the dreaded exam! Why not get creative with your exam and at LEAST build some excitement about the upcoming opportunity for your students to demonstrate the amazing skills they have learned all year?

iMovie for iOS has a wonderful “Trailer” feature! If you have not tried this yet you really have to! It’s quick, it’s easy, it’s already played out for you and man do the kids love it!

Here is the trailer I made for my “Join The Band” push that the 4th graders get to watch –

Here is another Beginning Band recruitment trailer –

Here is one I made today (in about ten minutes by the way) to hopefully inspire parents, friends and family to watch our students final projects….

Using Google Drive and Forms to Help Enrolling Music Students for Next Year

G DriveSo do you have to get your parents to sign their kids up for next school years music class?

Create a Google Form, embed it on your website and send a link home to parents. Post the link in your Twitter feeds and get the school to put the link on the front page of your school web site – Make stickers and pass them out to the kids, they love stickers!

Using a Google Form gives you some flexibility that you would not be able to have as easily with using simply paper forms:

1)Once your parents start signing up then you get a nifty spreadsheet with all of their answers. The information in that spreadsheet can then be used from that point – personally, I have a database that I have created in FileMaker that gets used heavily every fall. That database is my lifesaver for the first month of school with that beginning band class. I have everything I can think of that needs to be kept track of in that database. The beauty of the database is that I can look at that information in any which way that I so desire – that is the reason I take the spreadsheet information and import it into my FileMaker database.

2)You can change the form easily in the middle of sign ups if you discover you need to tweak what you started with.

Google Forms Signup


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