Category Archives: General Musings

Screen Time on iOS 12

We just had a bit of a scare in our house.  Our ten year old told us that our six year old had just bought hundreds of dollars of in-app purchases…

And he was right.

We had always required a password for downloads, but for some reason, when we installed iOS 12, that password setting went to “none.”  As a result, we have $450 of pending charges for in app purchases on our bank account.

The good news?   I was able to contact Apple, through their chat, and they started the process to reverse the charges, usually within 7-10 days.

If you are are used to the “Restrictions” area of previous versions of iOS, it isn’t there any more.  You have to use the new Screen Time app.  The crazy part?  Screen Time used the same password I had created long ago in “Restrictions,” but the choices I had made on my children’s iPads were not the same as I had once made.

So, if you are a parent, and you have children with iPads and their own accounts under “Family Sharing,” it might be worth going into the Screen Time app and making sure that App Downloads and In App Purchases are turned OFF.  Sure, it will be more work to add an app in the future…but that’s far better than a very big surprise in your bank account!



Finale 26 Sneak Peeks Coming Soon

I would be remiss if I did not mention MakeMusic’s announcement from earlier today that they will soon be offering sneak peeks about Finale 26. There is no word (yet) on release date, but it has been quite a while (2016) since Finale 25 was released, and all updates since that time have been free to owners of the software.

Without a doubt, the margin in the music notation industry continues to shrink, as existing programs keep improving, and newer players (e.g. Dorico) keep expanding. We also cannot forget the impact of freeware, specifically MuseScore. Add to that the online editors (Noteflight, and and you have a very crowded space, indeed (and that doesn’t even factor in any of the iOS apps or StaffPad!).

Can the market continue to support three major notation programs, plus “next level programs” (such as Notion) when MuseScore exists? This isn’t a new thought on this blog, but it is more true than ever. And I am still amazed that SmartMusic (Finale’s sister product) has its own web-based notation editor!

MakeMusic is fully aware of the current state of music notation, and they know what is at stake with Finale 26. I expect to see awesome new features, bug fixes, and an overall improved user experience.

Watch the Finale Blog closely for future updates about Finale 26.

Creating Tabs With A Dotted Leader (Great for Concert Programs)

I was in a Twitter conversation the other day, where Paul Shimmons (, Robby Burns (, and I were discussing some things, including my hesitation toward buying a new MacBook. My ten year old MacBook works just fine, but Apple “iWork” documents that I create on my iPad no longer open on my old MacBook.

I use my iPad for 99% of my work with the exception of Finale work and some things in Apple’s own programs (new versions of which do not operate on my old MacBook, although I can run if I need to).

There are some things that Pages on Mac can still to that, to my knowledge, Pages on iOS cannot. One of those comes to creating a concert program, where I use a dotted leader to show the space between song title and composer/arranger.

I thought this would be an excellent video to create, because I am sure that there are music teachers out there who do not know how to do this…it is easy to do, but you simply need to know what to do. Watch the video for the instructions…it is better to watch than to read about.

Some Techinmusiced Blog News

Hello, everyone!

I hope your summer (those of you in the Northern hemisphere) is going well, and in the upper Midwest, we still have a few more weeks of vacation. Nothing is more disturbing than reading, “As summer draws to a close” articles when there is still summer left to be lived! That said, we have relatives in Georgia whose children go back to school next week (they also get out of school quite a few weeks before we do), so some of you will be back to the whiteboard in no time at all.

Yesterday, two things happened with Apple. First, its valuation reaching one trillion dollars, at least for a period of time. Second, they announced that they would be ending the app referral program. Some websites derive all of their income from app recommendations; for others, like, there was never any major flow of income from app referrals, but when someone would click a referral link, some money would flow back this direction (7% of the purchase price). It is an odd juxtaposition for a company to hit one trillion in valuation, and then decide to announce the termination of a referral program on the same day.

If you have ever bought an app through a referral code, THANK YOU. Admittedly, this will make blogging quicker, as well as editing my eBook. Amazon still has a referral program, so if I see interesting things, I will definitely use Amazon referral codes–and I always try to announce when I use referral codes.

Regarding finances and, as well as the Music Education Technology Podcast,, and, all of my resources have been provided free, with the exception of the eBooks available in the iBook Store and in the Google Play store. Those books are due for an update, which I am working on. However, when I am finished, I will be publishing the book and using it as a reward for Patreon, to anyone that pledges the minimum of $1 a month. At that time, I will be pulling all of my eBooks out of the iBook Store and the Google Play store. Should anyone need multiple copies of the book (e.g. a college class), please contact me and we can work something out. Incidentally, the latest version of Pages finally creates ePub files, so I’ll be taking all three of my existing ePubs (made in iBooks Author) and merging the content into one updated book. And on a positive note, I won’t have to worry about making any referral links (Every cloud has a silver lining).

The idea behind Patreon is persistent support over time, particularly when other modes of support and sponsorship are so “flaky.” At the same time, I don’t want my Patreon to be a place where people have to pay to receive resources–so there is a balance of some kind to be reached, and right now I’m pretty comfortable where I am at.

I recently published my first “reward” via Patreon, the first installment of my video ukulele method. I will be adding more materials over time, and if you are interested in supporting me, please click on the link at the bottom of this post. I have been working on branding a little bit, and when it comes to technology in music education, I’m finding that my mission seems to be the desire to educate music educators about what is available. As we talk about on the MET Podcast, many technology solutions are being treated as “old news,” yet very few people tried or even knew about what those solutions could do. Even the Chromebook, the most recent “fad” in education, seems to be losing steam in terms of educational technology (in fact, the entire field seems to be on a downswing). That said, technology can make your life so much better as a teacher, and it can be used to help your students learn. I’ll keep doing my best to bring that technology forward.

In other news, it has been a pretty quiet summer for me. My oldest son graduated from high school, and our other two boys have been busy with summer activities. My youngest son learned how to ride a bike in a day, as well as how to swim (without sinking). My wife and I were able to take a trip to Memphis, which is an awesome city when it comes to music–and we were also able to sit in on the Memphis Ukulele Flash Mob weekly meeting at Central BBQ. If you play ukulele, and are in Memphis on a Tuesday night, I can’t recommend it enough. I’ve been making a ton of ukulele resources, and am currently building my first cigar box ukulele. Last week, Paul Shimmons (the co-host of the MET Podcast) traveled through Minnesota and we were able to visit in person for a while at the Mall of America. We did not record anything as we did when I was in Grand Rapids two years ago, but we did spend a healthy amount of time at the Apple Store (my 10 year old was there taking an Apple Camp class on movie making with the Clips app).

On a personal technology note, I have been struggling with the idea of buying a new MacBook or not. The MacBook Air and MacBook are both outdated and in need of a refresh; the MacBook Pros without touch bars are known to have keyboard issues, and a new Touchbar MacBook Pro (recently updated) with the configuration I think is smartest for longevity comes in at just over $3000 (including tax). My 2008 MacBook works (in fact, I’m working on a video/post that will show it…check for it that post tonight or tomorrow). I just find myself reluctant to put $3000 into that machine, or $1000 less for something that may be outdated in 4 years. I’d sure like to get another ten years out of a MacBook…

I also broke my iPad Pro screen a second time. I don’t know how it happened this time (one of my boys may actually be at fault–it was “whole” when I went to bed one evening and broken when I used it the next day). I have Apple Care (HIGHLY ENCOURAGED) and decided to buy an Otter Box to protect my iPad. I’ll replace the screen the second time next June, right before the Apple Care expires (they replace the screen or device twice, no questions asked, for $45 each time. This beats a bill of $1000 for a new one).

And the other exciting news is that my school opens a new building this fall. I’ll be sure to write about the technology in the school later this year, as things have changed since the initial planning…and there will be surprises in the fall. The boundaries have changed to accommodate the larger and newer school, so we will have a slightly different clientele. As I teach middle school, we also have another change as we have required music in grades 6-8, and a decision was made last year to let music be a true elective in eighth grade. These changes should have a very positive impact on the school climate, and in all of the “elective” classes.

To everyone as the school year approaches: I wish you the very best. Take care of yourselves. I have some lifestyle changes that I need to make (I’m sure you do, too!), and certainly each day will bring troubles of its own. However, before the joys and challenges of the next school year begin–I hope this is the best year yet, for both you and me!

Technology That Impacted My Life in 2017-2018: AirDrop

If you have followed the blog, or know my story, I grew up as an Anti-Apple technology user. The Video iPod was my conversion point, and if you don’t know the story, I can re-tell that story at another time. My past viewpoints gives me the ability to call out Anti-Apple mindsets when I see them, because I know what they look like and what the arguments are.

Several years ago, perhaps five years ago, our district went all-Apple for teachers, and shortly thereafter adopted iPads 1:1 in a few of our schools. I had been all-Apple (personally) for a number of years, so the switch wasn’t a shock for me–but many teachers struggled moving from Windows to the Mac OS. We refreshed our Macs two years ago, and our iPad schools are still iPad schools (also on their 2nd generation). Other schools in our district have a combination of Chromebooks and iPads for their students (not 1:1), so we have moved off of the all-Apple mentality that existed for a few years, but we certainly remain Apple-friendly.

When it comes to computing as a whole, one of the most frustrating things to deal with is transferring files from one person to another, or from one device to another. If you have a current MacBook, and current iOS devices, you can use AirDrop to transfer files that won’t transfer easily any other way. We also use AirDrop to send photos between my wife and I after we have been on a trip.

Our district has disabled AirDrop for students (as students were AirDropping test questions and work to one another), but I have personally found AirDrop incredibly useful, particularly when I want to transfer a large file such as a video or Keynote presentation.

My Ukulele Video Keynote is upwards of 2.5GB due to embedded videos; and I find it impossible to share that file unless I use AirDrop. I’ll make a point to talk about using video in presentations in another post. This past year, I created Keynote presentations on my iPad Pro, and then used my school-provided MacBook to actually present those presentations at school (so I could use my personal iPad for my own purposes in class).

When you use AirDrop, you need to make sure that Wi-Fi and Bluetooth are turned on, and that you have AirDrop set to see “Contacts Only” or “Everyone” if you want to receive a file (these are in the Control Center on iOS). You don’t need to be connected to Wi-Fi or have anything connected via Bluetooth. Having those two services enabled allows the devices to speak to each other, so you can send an item from an iPad to an iPhone or from a Mac to an iPad, or any combination. You can also send files to multiple people that are within 30 feet or so of where you are standing. AirDrop is an incredibly useful tool, and it has made my life better.

If you don’t live in an Apple setting, AirDrop isn’t going to help you very much. There are some options for file transfers between devices, but AirDrop is embedded directly into the operating system of Apple Devices.

If you haven’t used AirDrop, I encourage you to get used to doing so…when people are physically near you, it is a better solution than using other sharing methods (Google Drive, e-mail, etc.).