Very fruitful meeting yesterday with Baylor music faculty who had no shortage of ideas for how the iPad could be integrated into musical instruction, productivity, recording, etc. I’ve decided to put my notes from that meeting in blog format to invite any interested folks to the table to add to the discussion or openly reflect about the possibilities for mobile technology in music education (and thanks again to Sha and Stephen for their guidance and for steering me to that music education/technology blog).
While I had heard about a few music-related iPad apps from the aforementioned duo of fine arts librarians in Baylor’s CFAL, I learned about quite a few more yesterday. Let’s look at some of them:
- GarageBand – Less robust than its desktop counterpart, but at $4.99, it’s hard to beat as a solution for making multi-track recordings on the fly. With the iPad’s camera connection kit–accepts audio input via USB–and a decent USB mic or USB audio interface for instrument connections, you can actually turn the iPad into a mobile mini-recording studio that will export your songs in web-friendly formats. Output quality is not all that bad IMHO. This app also deserves a look since it’s full desktop version exists in the META lab *and* because Student Technology Services is slated to pilot an iPad check-out program this fall–those loaners will have GarageBand, too.
- Nota – For $2.99, you can use this app to make instant notations of notes, chords, and scales.
- forScore – $4.99 sheet music app that will let you import and annotate music in PDF format (see also MusicReader and unrealBook).
- Karajan Pro – $9.99 ear-training/theory development app.
- Symphony Pro – Pricey at $14.99, but it will allow you to write, edit, and play back original notations. For inquiring minds, I don’t think there’s an iPad version of Finale yet.
- Scorch – Correct me if I’m wrong, but I believe this is Avid’s Sibelius for iPad. At $4.99, this is billed as a “interactive music stand, score library, and sheet music store.”
- iReal b – $7.99 equivalent of a Real Book that displays/plays charts of popular songs.
- PageFlip Cicada Bluetooth Pedal – A $79 Bluetooth pedal for flipping digital sheet music. As advertised, PageFlip “works with the Apple iPad on apps that accept keyboard commands, such as MusicReader, ForScore, and unrealBook.”
- Kindle for iPad – If you’ve got any kind of musical notation on an eReader like the Kindle, this could be very handy.
- Finally, since we aren’t limiting the discussion to just music apps, either, it’s worth mentioning Kathryn’s plug for Noteshelf, a note-taking app. I use Evernote myself. For those folks who may be wondering what an iPad can do that and iPhone can’t: iPad far exceeds the iPhone for productivity tasks like note taking since it’s got a bigger display and keyboard (and you can get an external keyboard and dock like this one, too).
Some questions that warrant further exploration:
- How to get our favorite, often-used sheet music in digital form to keep it from falling apart?
- How to print said sheet music wirelessly once it reaches the iPad.
- Is there a process for having the institution pay for work-related iPad apps for use on a personal device?
- Not iPad related, but cool: Using smart pens like the Livescribe in conjunction with students’ instrumental/vocal assessments. This would allow the faculty member to associate their notes to a specific audio clip that occurred during a performance or recital.
Lastly, a final thought concerns the iPad’s potential as a presentation tool in the classroom. As it stands, iPad 2 can be “mirrored”–i.e., extended to an external display where even motion swipes gets projected–in our classrooms with AMX control panels via VGA (the connection where a laptop could be connected). You’ll need the Apple VGA Adapter to make this happen, though. Exciting developments are on the horizon, however, with regard to projecting the iPad display wirelessly via AirPlay through Apple TV, which, for the uninitiated, is not an actual TV but a small device that retails for just $99.
OK, all for now. Auspicious beginnings! On to planning meetings with the rest of you …