Thursday, June 30, 2011

iPad apps for the Music Class

I have finished one year with the iPads in my classroom.  I wanted to review the most use aspects of the iPad for all involved.  By and large we have only used free programs and have only purchased a few.  So there are many, many fine applications that we simply did not get to.  I didn't really get to forscore and some of the other music apps. This year.

YouTube is the #1 destination.  I am not sure if this would be the case in every class, but in a music class it certainly is.  We use it to listen to music we are performing.  We use it for lessons on guitar or piano playing.  We use it for "downtime".  It is awesome to be able to direct students to watch a video to learn their part while the rest of the class continues to rehearse.

Google is #2.  We have greatly expanded all the google functions.  From google docs, to search, to translate.  Students get information when they need it.  That is a huge shift.  They don't ask "can I go look something up?"

Garageband is used constantly.  Garageband on the iPad is an instrument which makes it very different from the desktop version.  I found that students were playing garageband.  Both to create their own music and to recreate music they had heard.

Jampad very simple synthesizer and chord generator.  Music theory kids used this a lot and it seemed to be their destination of choice.

iPod.  Students said in the survey that iPad helped them explore music they wouldn't normally listen to.  I choose the music (my music...) that goes on iPad.  Sometimes we forget that the iPad is really a music device.

Verbally is the jaw dropping app for anyone who works with special ed students.  Hands down most amazing thing ever.

I found that the gimmick apps that do 1-2 things really stopped getting used.  Music apps that show basics had a fairly short shelf life.

The aspects of the iPad that are essential:
  • Instant on.  You can't believe how much time we save.
  • Battery life.  Never a thought about running out of battery during the day (or week for that matter).
  • Ease of applications.  There are entire courses that revolve around teaching software.  Not on the iPad.  I give almost no instructions on software.  I teach music.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

How the iPad has/will change the music classroom

I polled my students.  Some results:

The apps on the iPad helped me learn.

This should be setting off bells everywhere.

The iPad helped me discover new music that I wouldn't normally listen to.

A great tool for music teachers?

I wish my textbooks were on the iPad.

Big, big money is about to get involved.  Will most teachers be expected to create their own materials?  I know I am expected to.

I am waiting for two more big grant announcements.  I know that I will be getting the iPad2 (or 3?) in the next year.  I need it mainly for the mirroring.  I also will explore the MIDI and recording aspects.  I hope to use an iPad to record school games, concerts, and events.  We will become more mobile, more accessible, and more fun.

I also hope to scan music into the iPad.  I never got to that this year.

Nobody in my department can envision working without the iPads.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Music Theory Exam

Here is my music theory exam:

You must compose a piece using noteflight that is inspired by this text.  When completed you must turn in your exam using this google form.  You can consult any notes, internet, or person when completing this test.

Well, we come in for the exam at 7:30 and find that noteflight is down for maintenance from 7-8am.  Its 8:02.  Still down.  Of course, I would check on their blog to see whats going on  but that's blocked by our filter.

8:03am now.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Page Views This Week

Pageviews by Countries
United States
United Kingdom

I need to show how far this blog reaches.  Its important (without getting into too many details).  

Where are you from?  Please leave a comment.

Monday, June 6, 2011

Most Inappropriate Wedding Songs Ever

Todays music theory assignment.

Easy Questions:

1. What are the main differences between Bach’s 2-Part inventions and 3-Part inventions (I’m looking for the obvious answer)?

2. Name the instruments being played on Bernstein’s Overture to Candide by the Empire Brass.

3. How many trombones are playing on Alla Hornpipe?

Harder Questions:

1. What is the harmonization of the chorus of Fifty Ways to Leave your Lover (use roman numerals)?

2. Play the bass line of Blue Bossa.

3. Which is the more complicated song: Dancin Fool or Disco Boy? Why?

4. What is the most inappropriate wedding song on the iPad? Why?

For most inappropriate song we came up with the following.  Remember they were limited to songs that were on the iPad.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

JJ Johnson

Tenor slide trombone 3D model
From 1990-91 at Oberlin I was JJ Johnson's assistant.  I was the Wendell Logan's assistant at the time and JJ had been hired as some sort of guest artist and would come in 4 times per year for three days or so.  I was in charge of picking him up at the airport and taking him everywhere.

Some observations:

  • He was just about the nicest guy ever.  Almost too nice.  Master classes involved him saying many positive comments.  He was always helpful.  
  • I remember he was working on a conical trombone.  A mix of euphonium and trombone.  He played this horn on his recordings after 1991.  It was a neat horn.  The guy from Yamaha would come out, he would play it and then tell them a few things.  A few months later they would bring him the next version.
  • About 5 years later we saw him with James Moody at the Blue Note.  I went upstairs later to say hi, thinking he wouldn't remember me.  He immediately saw me and told me to sit down for awhile.  "Try this horn out for me, Brandt, tell me what you think".  
  • He practiced a lot.  With a silent mute in the hotel room.
  • He didn't wear a seat belt.

Friday, June 3, 2011

iPad Survey Results

The iPad is a useful tool.

I like having the iPad in class.

The iPad helped me learn in music class.

I enjoy reading on the iPad.

The iPad is easy to use.

I wish my textbooks were on the iPad.

I was careful with the iPad and treated it as if my own.

The iPad helped me discover new music that I wouldn't normally listen to.

The apps on the iPad helped me learn.

I believe the iPad grant (ipad, TV, speakers, etc..) make me more engaged in class.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Tasks on a 1/2 Day

Choir/Band Quiz

1. Record yourself singing/playing the major scale.

2. Figure out “Over the Rainbow” on iPad piano. Start on C.

3. Do a quiz in Nota.

4. Record yourself singing/playing your solo song. Choir: we will do this as a group.


1. Figure out “Over the Rainbow” on iPad piano. Start on C.

2. Play a deceptive cadence in any app.

3. Do a Quiz in Nota.

4. Find a Bach Invention that ends in a Perfect Authentic Cadence.