Dorico 2.0 is out for the iPad!

Dorico has announced version 2.0 of their iPad app, which brings some feature parity to the latest desktop release of Dorico. You can read their full release here: https://blog.dorico.com/2022/02/dorico-for-ipad-2-0-now-available-from-the-app-store/

I haven’t used Dorico for iPad very much, nor have I worked with the latest version of the PC/Mac version. Life has been busy with work (it has been a stressful year, more than most, but not a bad year) and the ukulele work (videos require hours and hours of work), and I need time to really absorb what Dorico can do; some of the concepts are still foreign to me (e.g. flows) as I am used to doing one continuous work at a time rather than piecing things together.

I did create the same score in Notion and Dorico earlier this summer (both on the iPad) and that is something I need to do again.

What I will say is that it is absolutely worth having Dorico on your iPad, and using it. While Notion does what I need it to do (and more) with my ukulele work; Dorico can do that as well…I just need time to learn it.

I would also refer you to articles written by Scoring Notes, as well as a post that will likely be coming soon from Robby Burns. Scoring Notes has become the preeminent source of news of notion-based programs and applications, and Robby just has a pulse on all of these things, too.

So…go check out those sources today, and go get the latest versions of Dorico on iOS and PC/Mac!

Big PlayScore 2 Update Out Today!

I just received notice from PlayScore that they have released a big update to their music scanning app, PlayScore 2. It is said to be much faster, offering a count-in (for people that play scores through the app), with MusicXML export of lyrics and chord symbols (I’m not sure how it will handle ukulele diagrams) along with some new sounds (recorder and harpsichord) and of course, improved accuracy.

While I still love the simplicity and cost of Sheet Music Scanner, I have paid for the annual subscription to PlayScore 2 for the last few years, as there are times it is worth having and saves me time, and thus pays for itself.

If you haven’t tried music recognition on your phone, you really should, and it is very good to have several different solutions on your device as you never know what app will handle a particular score with the highest accuracy.

PlayScore 2 is available for both iPhone and Android.

Updated Pricing Structures for SmartMusic AND thoughts about old blog posts

A couple of days ago, I received an e-mail from MakeMusic, letting me know that they have changed the pricing structure of subscriptions to SmartMusic. They were concerned that an old post on this blog had old pricing information.

You can find the updated pricing information (as of November 19, 2021) at: https://www.smartmusic.com/pricing/

I just wanted to add a couple of items regarding the blog, as well as my instructional shift.

First, blog posts on this channel become “historical artifacts.” Technology is ever changing (even if the pace of technology advancement in music education has been snail-paced for the past three years), as are subscription methods and so on. If you are interested in the latest versions and pricing for any hardware or software, please visit those sites directly for the latest information.

One of the powers of the “blog” is that we record where things are at the present—both in terms of facts and opinions—which later gives perspective. I still remember my commitment to the netbook Windows PC format. I thought it was going to be a hit, and it was a colossal flop. Windows itself was the culprit, making the speed of those devices crawl.

Where I wasn’t wrong was the format, as the Chromebook today is everything the netbook was not. I just bought my first new Chromebook in over 4 years. I still love my iPad and Mac (I’m typing this on my iPad), but the Chromebook has come a long way, mainly because there are better web-based services. There are still many things that iPads and computers do better…but touchscreens, flip Chromebooks, and active styluses change the game a bit, along with those better services.

The other thing I wanted to discuss is that my personal shift from secondary to elementary education has resulted in my focus on some other issues. While I keep an eye towards the broader changes in the profession (e.g. NoteFlight adding many features available in SmartMusic), my use of some systems, such as SmartMusic, have lessened. While SmartMusic might be very useful to teach recorder with 3rd and 4th grade students, I am not going to get funding from my district at this time to purchase it for them. So I have put my focus in other directions, such as making play along videos for recorder and so on. That’s not to say that SmartMusic (or NoteFlight, or MusicFirst) aren’t worth buying or pursing—they just don’t fit into my work flow at this time, and therefore I don’t write much about them.

And really, I don’t think much has changed with these programs. Now that the main approach is web-based with most of these services, they all offer an ever-increasing library of content, with ever-increasing levels of accuracy of assessment, and ever-increasing clarity of communication of the results to students. If you are considering purchasing a red-note/green-note (my term for the playing assessment/training services), I would strongly encourage you to contact SmartMusic/MakeMusic, NoteFlight, and MusicFirst, ask for a demo, and compare the available libraries, methods of uploading exercises (if something isn’t in the library), accuracy of assessment, quality of feedback, and of course, cost per student. Rate each category, and choose what you think is best for you and your students.

Fender Acquires PreSonus

News came out earlier this week that, pending Federal approval (and let’s be honest…why would they care?), Fender is going to acquire PreSonus.

I have no idea, at this time, how this is going to go. I was concerned when Soundtrap and MuseScore were purchased by other companies, but to date, both of those products continue to go strong on their own. There are other cases, such as MakeMusic, where I’m still not 100% convinced that a buy-out was in the best long-term interest of the company (though MakeMusic continues to improve and add features over time).

Fender, is, of course, a well-recognized company of music instruments, accessories, and software. A former colleague raved about Fender’s approach with their Guitar/Ukulele app. As long as Fender continues to carry PreSonus’s hardware and software (even if rebranded, updated, or redesigned), that’s a good thing for everyone.

I don’t have a lot of contacts at PreSonus, but the comments I have seen from PreSonus employees are positive about the acquisition. I have no reason to doubt those statements.

All I know is that Notion on iPad remains a massively important part of my workflow as a teacher; that said, if I had to leave Notion, Dorico for iPad would become my main tool. So, I hope that Studio One, Notion, and the wonderful hardware made by PreSonus will continue…and I am choosing to be optimistic about this merger. We’ll see how things play out in the coming months and years!

Within a day, Avid releases Sibelius for iPad

With a full article from Scoring Notes this morning, it is clear that Avid has been working on a version of Sibelius for iPad…and chose to release it a day after Dorico had the attention of the music technology industry. You can find the post here: https://www.scoringnotes.com/reviews/sibelius-arrives-on-ipad/

I’m downloading the app now, but as a person who doesn’t use Sibelius, I’m not sure what functionality will be in the app for me. According to Scoring Notes, your functionality is dependent on your current ownership or subscription to Sibelius on the Mac or Windows. That will make the app the equivalent of Sibelius First, but I’m not sure what that offers.

From the introductory video on Scoring Notes, it is clear that Sibelius takes much more advantage of iPad gestures and functionality than Dorico, and it will be fun to interact with the app and to see what it can do. That said, Sibelius doesn’t offer any on-screen keyboards (like Dorico or Notion) and seems to have made a mistake on a touch based platform without including that way to input pitch. At this time, I do not know if Sibelius responds to an external MIDI keyboard. **Note: version 1 does not.

I keep coming back to the question: “Why now?” Certainly, with M1 iPads, the devices are now desktop class, and there are ways to share an app on several platforms with minor tweaks for those platforms. Still, the iPad has been around for more than a decade and has pretty much “lost” in the education space. That all said, the iPad is still my primary tool for creation of all kinds (including this post). I’m absolutely these programs are now available on the iPad, but it does feel like someone arriving late to the party—and then I also have to ask, “Where are MuseScore and Finale for the iPad?”

Finally, there’s a direct line from Avid to Dorico, as much of the core Dorico team was the former UK office of Sibelius. Doesn’t it seem strange that Dorico would release a surprise iPad app and then the former employer of many of that team would release an iPad app twenty four hours later? Maybe it’s a coincidence, but if so, it is still head-spinning. **Note: I have been told from secondary sources that this was a coincidence.

I’m off to work with Sibelius for a while and to see what it can do. A follow up post will reflect on my experiences on Dorico for iPad, Sibelius for iPad, with Notion for iPad (my long-time primary app) as a benchmark.