This past fall, I held a unique fundraiser, asking my students to collect DVDs and CDs that they no longer used in their homes. We were going to send them to a company called iPodMeister, which exchanges CDs and DVDs for devices and cash. We collected about 700 items, although many were “throw-away” quality CDs. We were given $210 for those items (more than 70% had a resale value of less than $1). I had also contacted several department stores in our area and asked for a donation of an iPad. Sam’s Club, of all places, gave the choir boosters a gift card worth $25. So altogether, we raised $235 towards an iPad. I recently asked my boosters if we could get an extra $140 to purchase an iPad 2, and they agreed. I was able to obtain a new iPad 2 for $367.
The end result is our first student-use iPad, Bach. Bach is a 16GB Black iPad 2. I also ordered a case from monoprice.com which will arrive next week.
How will Bach be used?
- First, I have already placed all of our scanned Solo & Ensemble literature on the device, so that as we prepare for Solo & Ensemble in the future, student can check Bach out to read through the available literature (I’m working on playlists by voice type). Currently, I have to take them into the choir library and sort through many books–not an easy process. Once students find a piece, they can create a bookmark of that piece so they can use the device to practice, and then e-mail that bookmark to their e-mail address, instead of my having to make a copy for their use in practice (something we all do as choir directors for solo and ensemble participants).
- Second, I have all of our music and the accompaniment files on Bach, linked to each song in a PDF Music Reader. I don’t know if I will let individual students use Bach in class (how do you decide who gets to use it?), but certainly when we have a sub for choir, the sub (or a student delegate) can use Bach with our sound system (digital piano with mini stereo jack, for example) to lead rehearsal.
- Third, in sectionals, the section leaders can use Bach as accompaniment for those sectionals (we currently do this with iPod Touches, but without the ability to see the music on the screen).
- Fourth, I fully expect SmartMusic for the iPad. No–I don’t know anything and wouldn’t say if I did. But MakeMusic is fully aware of the iPad and the integration of the iPad in schools at a brisk pace. To be honest, I’m sick of dealing with Windows PC hardware issues and SmartMusic (not SmartMusic’s fault, mind you). I can’t wait for SmartMusic on the iPad which will “just work.” I’ll be happy to fundraise for iPads and headphones as soon as SmartMusic for iPad hits the streets.
As you can probably tell, we’re going to name each of our iPads after a composer. What happens if we surprisingly go 1-to-1? Then Bach and his future counterparts can be back-ups for students that forget their devices in our rehearsals.
Side note: if you have an iPad 1 you no longer plan to use and would like to donate it as a tax-deduction to the choir boosters, we will be happy to accept it with a tax receipt. Although an iPad 1 may not run a future SmartMusic for iPad, it can certainly run other apps including forScore and unrealBook, making it exceptionally useful for the classroom.