A wonderful offer from Chromatik
Yesterday, Chromatik announced a special initiative for school music programs: if you get 100 students to sign up for Chromatik, they will provide your school with a free iPad (to the first 100 schools). I spent a portion of today encouraging my students to sign up (with some technical difficulties on our end) and submitted my school’s information before I left school today. I will actually end up with more than 100 students enrolled with Chromatik when all is said and done: a number of my 1st Hour choir members were not able to sign up in the hour.
My choir program currently has two iPads available for student use (one 2nd Generation, one 3rd Generation), and what I discovered is that you can enroll in Chromatik directly from the iPad app. So I passed the iPads in class, having kids sign up (giving them the option NOT to sign up) and then had them come to a computer in my room to enter the name and e-mail they registered under. Several of my students were willing to register twice; I stopped them from doing so. All the e-mails and the participation in Chromatik was optional and legitimate. One teacher signed up so as to be able to provide music for a highly autistic student in their classroom (during the rest of the day, the student is in a special autistic program in our school). Another option for registration would be to take your groups to your computer lab for the sign-up procedure–but our labs were booked today and for the next few days with testing.
I then created set lists for each of my four choirs, and plan to add more set lists for extra-curricular choirs in the months ahead.
I have no guilt about asking kids to enroll: if we get an iPad, we will use it for student use (I own my own), and I will keep using Chromatik and updating our set lists with new music as the year goes on. For those students who bring their music home–this will only make life easier for them. And those with iPads can benefit, too, with the native iPad app.
I’ve already written about some of the current shortfalls with Chromatik as compared to a traditional PDF Music Reader (shortfalls that will be remedied in time). One of the current shortfalls that struck me as I demonstrated Chromatik for my students today is that the “swipe” gesture for turning pages is really an over-involved gesture. Page turns should–at the least–have an option to turn by a single press of the page on the right or left hand side of the screen. I personally don’t need (or want) a lot of animation on page turns (the faster, the better).
I also found out that you can invite many students to a set list at one time, if you separate each e-mail address by a comma. Perhaps this is common practice, but I just wanted to mention it. I didn’t have any issues uploading music to Chromatik or assigning songs to set lists today. I also realized that when a teacher deletes a song from a set list, it should disappear on student set lists, too. This should make the music publishers happier than with PDF music readers, where there is no guarantee a song will be deleted from a student device after a performance.
Yes, PDF Music Readers still offer a lot of features that Chromatik does not yet offer–but this will change over time. The ability for all of my students to have access to their music at home on a personal computer (PC or Mac) is so valuable–and I believe that Chromatik is working to be platform-free (HTML5?) in the future so it can also work on Android/Windows Tablets. That will be a major win for all musicians. And all this is free and would be worth doing without the hope of obtaining an iPad…but having another iPad would be a huge added plus.
One other “cool” note about the iPad version of Chromatik…it allows you to log in/log out, so in theory, if you had a classroom set of iPads, each student could log into a device each hour on Chromatik and access their own music and their own markings. I just haven’t seen if markings by one student appear on the master…or if the markings remain only with the individual account. I do have a marking I made on a piece of music some time ago that I cannot erase or delete…so I don’t know if markings remain persistent after you leave the piece of music. I imagine there will be a “clear” or “reset” button available in the future. And perhaps the set list owner’s markings are pushed to all the set list recipients? I don’t know, but it will be fun to find out.
One final note: Chromatic requires iOS6, so if you have a 1st Generation iPad, you are out of luck for the iPad app.