GarageBand Updated to support AudioBus

If you have not checked out your updates for your iPad apps GarageBand was updated today to support AudioBus! This is pretty significant. This indicates that Apple is throwing their support into the AudioBus app arena. Considering that Jack just announced their new app that is similar to AudioBus. If you want to read some more on Jack this is a good review….


SmartMusic for free! (If you are a new customer)

If you are not a SmartMusic customer yet y really need to take advantage of this deal! MakeMusic is offering new customers a chance for a year of free SmartMusic! All you need to do is attend three online clinics. See the link below for information….

SmartMusc free for a year

If you didn't know already, SmartMusic will be arriving for iPads this spring!

If you would like to visit the MakeMusic website and simply read up on what SmartMusic is all about here is the link to do that. Of course if you are a music educator and don't know what SmartMusic is then you need to go do this! It's free…. What better way to explore the possibilities!



Chromatik in the Band Room

Chromatik logoNo, no, I am not talking about the chromatic scale! I m talking about the online music website for “learning music together”. Well, that’s what THEY say on their web site! Practice, Share, Record and Collect your music online – those are the highlights of what this site is about.

What Chromatik allows us musicians to do is to put our PDF sheet music online and access it from a web browser. Once that PDF Sheet Music is online then you are able to view and practice with that acting as your sheet music instead of actual paper music. But it does get better than this! As you practice you are also able to record yourself! After recording your self you can share your recordings with other people. Another possibility is that you can create playlists of your PDF Sheet Music and share those playlists with others. So that way we can all work on that music in an online environment and give each other feedback on how we are doing. Here is the link to their information page that just so happens to have a video on it – we all like a little TV right?

Of course, since I am tech minded and always searching for new and different ways to teach and learn music, I am starting to use this web site with my band students. So here starts my journey of sharing about this process online! Look forward to more posts about this resource over the rest of this school year!

First thing I would like to share is the best method I have discovered for uploading my files to the Chromatik web site.

BACKGROUND: All of my Band Music I am digitizing slowly. Each piece we play gets scanned and stored in our digital music library. I end up with two PDF files, one for the score and another for the parts. Each file actually contains the words – “Score” or “Parts” in the filename. This makes it very simple to do a spotlight search, find the appropriate file and make use of that file.

WHAT NOT TO DO: The first things I have discovered that is a horrible, horrible situation is for me to take that PDF file with ALL the band parts and upload that file to Chromatik. when I try to access that PDF (even though it is usually only a 3-4 megabyte file) it is painfully slow to deal with online. I am not sure if it is an issue with the file size or because there are so many pages involved. Either way… don’t do it! I’m sure this situation will only improve over time.

WHAT DOES WORK: I upload each part individually as a separate PDF file. This means that I open the Parts PDF in preview, I am working on a mac here but the process and ideas are the same for windows. Then I select the flute pages and drag them out into the finder to create a new PDF with only the flute part in it. I then do the same for the Clarinet part and so on until I have a new PDF for each instrument. This is a bit of a hassle but in reality it only takes about 5-10 minutes max to drag each part out and re-name it so I know which PDF contains which instrument. Then each PDF gets added to my library in Chromatik.

TRICK: This is the part where you need to pay attention folks! Chromatik does not make it obvious as to the best practice in this process. I did discover though, by accident, that I can have ALL the different instruments show up in my Chromatik library under ONE Piece Name vs every PDF showing up and creating a VERY long list! See the screenshot below… you see that I had uploaded Five Good Natured Variations BEFORE I discovered this process. I had a whole bunch of PDF’s showing up (with the instrument as a part of the title) creating a very long list in my library (I was already DREADING having very many pieces in my library because of this issue – Management was going to be a nightmare!)

Example of each individual PDF vs All PDF's listed under one song title
Example of each individual PDF vs All PDF’s listed under one song title

Then I discovered that all I had to do was give each part the exact same Piece Name as I uploaded them to my library and then Chromatik created a folder for me and listed all the different parts under one Piece Name! This process was a bit hit and miss though – sometimes I had to type in the Piece Name twice to get Chromatik to pick up on the fact that this was a piece that was already in my library. Once Chromatik did pick up on that fact the name of the Author automatically popped into that field. Then I had to pick which part I was uploading. Then all the parts show up in my Library as a drop down menu list under the Piece Title as you see in the above screenshot for Variation Overture.

Here is a screenshot of the uploading process – you can see that I typed in the Piece Title and then Chromatik input the Author Name (that’s why it is a darker grey)

Naming uploads
Naming uploads

There will be more to come as I work through figuring out this web site.

I am fully behind the ideas they are working to implement here. I also realize that this is in the early stages of it’s life. That is why I am willing to overlook some of the annoying issues I have run into. Things like it NOT being obvious of how to upload music and there not being a guide that describes the process. Or the fact that I cannot re-order the playlists, the fact that I have NO idea how they figure out the order in which pieces show up in your music library after you download them and the fact that it is a bit slow at times.

The service is free! Plus is you are a school they will donate a FREE iPad2 if you implement this at your school and get 100 students to sign up! Of course one of the reasons I am using this service is because they also have an iPad app, which is also free.