Author Archives: choirguy
Paul is at band camp, and Chris is leading workshops for the Wisconsin Center for Music Education. Paul called in and visited with us for a half hour–and this is the recording of that visit. As always, thank you to UberChord for providing our hosting at SoundCloud for these podcasts. Show notes will eventually be online at metpodcast.wordpress.com
Amy Burns was kind enough to have a short Twitter chat with me a few moments ago, and I thought I would bring her advice to you in case you don’t follow Twitter.
She mentioned that a lot of apps are going away with iOS 11. Want check which ones? Go to SETTINGS->GENERAL->ABOUT->APPLICATIONS
Be prepared to get a little angry or depressed. Your choice.
My music apps that will disappear?
- Do-Re-Mi 123 (I still remember my 9 year old playing with this when he was 2 or 3! I made a video of this!)
- Chord Tunes
- Accordéon (Remember when Steve Jobs showed this app at an Apple Keynote Address?)
- Ear Training 1 Free
- Kids Ear Training
- Percussive (!)
- QAstroNotes (C’mon, Quaver! Really?)
- Xylophones HD
- Woodchuck Rhythm
- Piano Learning
- WavePad (!)
- ClearTune (!)
- Singing Fingers (I still have recordings of my boys in this…need to use QuickTime to convert them to video)
- Isle of Tune (!)
- Rhythm Expert
- Rockmate (!)
- Recorder (The old one from JoyTunes, long gone from the AppStore)
- Scale Helper
- Octavian Basics
- Magic Piano
- Learn the Orchestra
- Magic Fiddle
- Percussive Latin
With a few of these, I feel like I am losing some old friends on my iPad! I’m not even going to go look at my iPhone apps that will disappear. Sigh.
P.S. Amy mentioned that she recommends that people be aware that apps may be in this list, but that developers have several weeks before iOS 11 comes out, so they could still be working on 64 bit versions. So it may be unfair to single out these apps
P.P.S. That said, Apple has been asking for 64 bit apps for 3 years…since the iPad Air…so really, developers have known this was coming…I have been saying this is coming. It is still pretty shocking to realize with iOS 11 coming so soon (beta 6 was released today, and I am not running the beta…I just follow people on Twitter who do).
Today I presented on the subject of iPads in Music Education for the Wisconsin Center for Music Education. We covered a lot of territory today, and as usual, the later afternoon becomes a challenge with planned work/reflection time. I am very thankful for those that attended today's session (tomorrow is Chromebook day)…all of them elementary music educators. I have no problems presenting…but part of me wished that I could have flown out Amy Burns for the day…I heavily recommended her resources as well as Katie Wardrobe's resources!
I was thrown completely off my game when one of the workshop attendees mentioned that a bunch of my elementary music apps were no longer on the App Store.
As I have mentioned before, I plan to update all of my books when iOS 11 comes out. That is when I will painstakingly go through every link to make sure that apps are still available. I do have a list of apps on my website…and it was just shocking to realize that so many apps were just…gone. One of the iPad's strengths has been the abundance of quality apps, many at no cost or low cost. Granted, plenty of web apps have disappeared, too (do any web apps from the original iPhone still exist?).
Don't get me wrong…there are still plenty of wonderful resources for the iPad (and Chromebook), and some stellar resources, such as forScore. I still think that forScore (or unrealBook) can completely change the instruction in any music class.
Still–the unannounced disappearance of apps unsettled me. I think it might be related to the upcoming iOS 11 and companies deciding to abandon a product instead of updating it. #sad. I need to update my web list!
A few minutes after the workshop closed, I received notice that none of my TMEA sessions were accepted this year (One on iPad, one on S-Cubed, two on ukulele). That is disappointing, but I have been accepted at TMEA several times (including sessions that I had to decline last year as I presented a number of sessions at the Maryland Music Educators Association the same weekend), and I have previously been declined at TMEA, too. The only sad part is that I have scaled back my presentations as my school was no longer giving me days off to present (they have never been asked to pay for travel, housing, or registration fees), and I was not sure what our new principal would think–so I had only applied at TMEA this year. If you had hoped to see me somewhere in 2017-2018, you'll have to come visit me at my school in Minnesota.
And now…I just received an e-mail from Chromatik that they are closing their services on Monday. That adds to my "reeling." Chromatik started off as a service that would display (and sell) sheet music, as well as offer annotation and group distribution. Funding was made possible with angel investors. It was used on "American Idol," and I had high hopes for the service. They even offered a promo that if you had a certain number of students sign up, they would send you an iPad 2. I did that at my prior school, and that iPad is still in use. Later, Chromatik took a turn, offering sheet music linked with video for all kinds of tunes, with a subscription model. It became a web-based service, and I had continued to talk about it–although I didn't use it very often myself. I still wish it would have continued to exist and improve in its original form, as nobody still has the group distribution model worked out (although Newzik and forScore have some elements of those models). People at Chromatik, thank you for making a "go" of it, and I wish you all the best in your futures.
The other day I wrote a tweet and said this:
Here is the challenge as a music education technologist: there is little new to report on, yet the profession, as a whole, hasn’t adopted the old stuff.
I really feel this is true. The iPad is no longer the "hot commodity" in music education, yet it is about to undergo a major transition with iOS 11 making it easier, better, and faster. The apps are still world class, and some of them exceed or improve on the abilities available on other platforms, often at a better price point. I still believe that the iPad is the best platform for music educators (note: not the only platform), and I would love to see every music teacher (that wanted one) have an iPad (preferably the 12.9" iPad Pro) for their instruction, regardless of what their students have or or are given. Again…forScore (or unrealBook) alone justifies the device. Having apps like Notion, Sheet Music Scanner, Notate Me, Luma Fusion (and more) just sweetens the deal.
Tomorrow is Chromebook day. I'm not against Chromebooks, and I want to help teachers use whatever device they or their students have. The Chromebook has improved a lot, and is so much more useful in music classes. Most of this is thanks to paid services (education versions), such as Noteflight, flat.io, and SoundTrap (and many others carried by MusicFirst, which is also brilliant). Android is coming (in fact, it is already on many Chromebooks), although there are issues to work out in an educational model.
That said, Android isn't iOS when it comes to music education, and neither is Chromebook. The iPad still has a very important place–and not just because I like it. It just does more and it does it better. I just have to hope that we don't ignore it as a profession, as most music educators still haven't had a chance to see what it can really do!
NOTE/UPDATE: This package is no longer available. As soon as a review was posted on gotaukulele.com, it sold out in minutes. To those of you who bought one…congratulation…it is a heck of a bargain! If I ever see anything like this again, I will post about it.
Some of my followers are sick of the ukulele posts. I understand that, and I have been attempting to keep those posts on a separate page.
That said, something has come to my attention, and I need to spread the word as it has a deadline.
Here’s the deal…if you have any interest in the ukulele, or are a teacher who wants to order ukuleles, there is a company called Enya (that may be “rebranding” to “Hankey”) that is selling a soprano ukulele package to people in the United States for $28.99 through August 15th. It is normally $129.
Normally, any ukulele under $50 has massive flaws that you have to work around to get them to work. This involves setting up the ukulele, dealing with quality issues, and so on.
Enya is making a high tech product at low costs–and this price is promotion to spread their name.
So…a little bit about this ukulele…it is made of high-pressure laminate (HPL), with the same material as a Martin HPL ukulele. The Martin soprano OX series sells for $339 new. The Enya (its model designation is “EUR-X1”) is a camp-styled ukulele (round) with a radius fretboard, unbelievable setup (great action!), gig bag, tuner, etc. To be honest, you can’t buy a gig bag, tuner, and ukulele strap (and more) for $29. It arrives packaged like an Apple product. The bad parts? The ukulele is a quieter ukulele (still sounds very nice), the bridge is set very low on the small body, and the strings are not great (low tension–I replaced them with Martin 600 strings). I also think the nut is a little sharp, and you need to use the included strap to hold it based on the location of the bridge. But again…$29 for a instrument that is worth more than its usual $129.
I don’t want to say any more, but if you want to read more, head over to my other blog, ukestuff.info. I have videos there, too.
So…here’s the deal…if you have any interest in a ukulele…or think you ever would…this is a ukulele to buy while it is $29. It is a ukulele to consider at its normal price of $129. It is a no-brainer at $28.99 (if you have Prime, it is free shipping). Really….if you ever think you want a ukulele…this is the time to strike. This deal isn’t coming back, and it ends 8/15/17.
If you have been looking for ukuleles for a school…this is a great option. Can you get your school to scramble quickly enough in the summer to order some?
I had some fund raising money available and bought 10 more that arrive today…as HPL instruments (they should not be impacted by weather–although the strings still can suffer), they will be put in our library for students to check out and take home. Oh, and if you order some for a school, remember that you can buy Aquila KIDS strings in bulk sets of 20 at a very affordable price directly from Aquila. Contact them (e-mail) and they will help you.
If you want to buy it yourself (searching through Amazon), you can do so by searching “Enya 21 inch ukulele kit.”
If you would like to buy it through a referral link and send $0.80 my direction (small commission on referral sales!), use this Amazon link. Please spread the word.
(For the record, I have referred 7 of these so far, resulting in a massive payout of $6.50! I’ll try not to spend it in one place).
So…I apologize for the ukulele post…but there are times that you need to spread the word!
On our podcast Paul Shimmons and I were discussing the ability to speed up or slow down videos, protecting pitch while doing so. Paul let me know that this was not possible on mobile YouTube. So what is an iPhone or iPad user supposed to do?
The answer comes from another of my "key" apps, iCab Mobile, which is a $2 browser. I don't want to talk about this on the open web (e-mail me) but there is a single feature that iCab Mobile is instantly worth $2 for. The ability to adjust speed is a bonus.
While watching a video in YouTube IN iCab Mobile (you may need to delete the official YouTube app), touch the "puzzle" icon (modules). Go to the Video Playback Rate module. Choose your video rate. It works perfectly in YouTube, but does not work when a video is embedded in a website (Open the video in YouTube). And if a video is downloaded in iCab Mobile, the Video Playback Rate feature also works.
I have not been able to get the module to work with other services, such as Vimeo.
Considering that YouTube does not allow for this feature on mobile devices, this is a wonderful tool, and a way to get desktop functionality on your mobile device.