Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Choir Rehearsal

We have three songs ready to enter the rehearsal process (notes and rhythms pretty much learned).

Comments and feedback welcome. 32 students in choir, 22 are 9th graders.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Feeling our way...

We are a few months into having the iAlchemy score.  At this point I feel each student knows their part at least 70%.  Now, thats not nearly good enough, but it means we've come a LONG way.  The composer did us the favor of including some super hard measures which most kids can play with me, but not alone yet.

One of the ideas of the project was that we would take students who have not played before in ensembles.  In fact, none of the students have BEEN to an orchestra concert outside of a few elementary school kiddie concerts.

This is a great learning experience, but its hard.  We have been messing with the string apps for a few months and they just have not been working.  We have had issues with control, volume, range, sound.  It just hasn't worked.

A few weeks ago I sent out a twitter call for ideas.  Chris Russell came back with Thumbjam.  This apps costs $$, like Garageband, and initially I was feeling it was the best, but not quite the right fit.

But tonight I spent significant time with the app and discovered that the accelerometer can be set to control volume.  So as the iPad gets tipped up it gets louder, tipped down it gets softer.  This is a huge help.  It also has a vibrato control.  So now, we truly will learn how to play the "instrument".

Tomorrow we get our first visit from the Symphony.  Wish us luck.  Lots to do.

Saturday, March 10, 2012

What do you do?

Scan 73

What do you do when you are travelling to Italy to visit your sister city with your band and choir and they give you a tour of their town factory?  Which produces the liquor Limoncello?

And they give you three cases of it?

You give each kid two bottles to pack in their suitcase to take home to their parents.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

iPad "3"

The iPad announcement was today and I am currently waiting for the software updates to download.  I may wait until tomorrow when things quiet down on the servers.

Some intriguing items:
1. Days after highlighting the need for String samples in garageband they seem to have added them.  This is needed for our iAlchemy performance.  I have not tested the sound yet.  Chris Russell suggested Thumbjam which is a definite step up from what we had.
2. Jam sessions in Garageband?  I can't figure out how this will work but will try it tomorrow.
3. iMovie update.  This file is downloading now and is huge.  They have added trailers and more of the functions seen on the desktop version.

The iPad is becoming a strong creation device.  Dropping the iPad2 to $399 will drive a lot of sales as they get rid of inventory.

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Some New Apps

Some new apps I have been using:

Too Loud: I don't know why I didn't get a decibel meter earlier.  Great for health protection (how loud is your band room?) but I also see me putting this on the Apple TV to use during study hall or individual work time.  Less me saying "It's too loud", I can just point to the screen.

Scribble Press: A super simple way for K-2 grades to write ebooks.  Templates are set up with questions to answer.  It basically writes itself.

Dr. Seuss Band: A pretty simple Guitar hero like app.  For younger kids.  You can make your own Dr. Seuss horn and it plays some pretty cool tunes.  Great for rhythm development.

iMovie: Its fairly startling how easy this is to use.  I made this video at Molly's Dance class.  You can make professional looking videos right on the iPad with out using a computer.  Really works smooth.

ShowYou: I like video and this app helps sort out the daily news.

OnLive Desktop: PC on the iPad.  All the MS Office you can handle.  Full versions of MW Word, Excel, etc... Amazing.