This past week, MakeMusic released an update to the SmartMusic iPad app. They are working hard to make the iPad app as functional as possible with the limitations of the iPad and iOS. The limitations will continue to decrease as new versions of iOS are released along with new hardware; but there are limitations they have to deal with.
The updated app allows students to do assignments on the iPad, unless you are using a self-created SmartMusic file or a sight-reading exercise. MakeMusic is planning on including these features in the future. The app also allows for “pinning.” With the iPad app, this gives a SmartMusic practice room subscription much greater flexibility than in the past.
I would remind all music educators that MakeMusic is a company–now privately owned–that is in the business of making money. Even though music education is at the heart of everything they do, they still need to be profitable! This means that when they develop software, such as the iPad app, their first goal has to be to meet the needs of their existing customer base. For SmartMusic on the iPad, that meant adding assignments for band and orchestra students–particularly for methods books at this time of year. Teachers such as myself and my blogging colleague Brandt Schneider, who use SmartMusic for choral music, are exceptions to the rule. MakeMusic has made it clear that our use of SmartMusic on the iPad will be addressed in the near future in this post by SmartMusic Senior Product Manager, Michael Williamson.
I'd like to point out that when MakeMusic has said that they would do something, they have always followed through–and in the cases where they have stated a date–usually in terms of seasons–they have produced results.
Also–don't forget that MakeMusic is simultaneously working on many products; a new version of SmartMusic with a whole new subscription model and rubric grading options came out two weeks ago; the iPad app was upgraded this past week, there is a team of people continually adding new literature to SmartMusic (a tedious but fascinating process as they link real audio recordings to the literature), and Music in Motion (the music novelty store) published Finale 2014 in its new catalog before its release, which means that Finale 2014 is imminent, too (admittedly, after a year without a Finale upgrade, I had forgotten about this). And there are likely a number of other projects which are under development for the future.