Category Archives: General Musings

General Musings

ME&T Podcast Sponsor: UberChord


I am very pleased to announce that UberChord has stepped up to sponsor the first year of hosting fees for the Music Education & Technology Podcast.

UberChord is currently a free app that helps you learn guitar, listening to your playing on a live instrument.  They will be adding paid content and some other new exciting features (that’s a teaser) in the future.  From their website:

MASTER CHORDS with real-time visual feedback using your REAL GUITAR! Experience the next level of guitar training with the world’s first interactive app that understands what you are playing and adapts to your personal skills. Featured on Guitar Player and Musicradar, Uberchord uses exclusive technology that literally “listens” to you play and gives instant analysis & feedback like a real guitar teacher.

I am thrilled about their sponsorship for a number of reasons.  First, it is a company/product that exists outside of our definition of “traditional” American music education.  UberChord is about music education, but its current model is focused on individual music education rather than group instruction.  On a personal note, I can say that UberChord’s sponsorship helps me remember that music education is more than what I do every day.  It is exceptionally easy to get lost in one’s own world/experience.  Second, the company is located in Berlin, and has fourteen employees–a very typical app development team with international reach.  Most apps are not “home brewed” in the United States, and UberChord’s global perspective can again remind us to have more than an American-centric point of view.  Third, and most importantly, UberChord was the first to reach out to us with an offer of sponsorship and made it happen; and they did so without any strings attached.  It turns out that they are located in the same building as SoundCloud (our Podcast home) and were able to use SoundCloud’s ability to “gift” a subscription.

I also want to thank the other individuals and companies that reached out to us to sponsor the podcast…we are appreciative of your offers.  UberChord had simply replied first, and we wanted to honor their speedy response.

We are–of our own desire (not at the demands of any company)–going to provide a short advertisement for UberChord in every podcast we record over the next year, and we will also thank UberChord for its sponsorship at the end of every episode.  We will also have UberChord as a guest (something that was not promised in our discussions leading to our sponsorship) because their story is fantastic.   UberChord will offer wonderful insights into a different angle of music education as well as insights into app development (and the world of start-ups!).  It may seem like I am overselling UberChord–but trust me, the interview that we will record with them is something you will enjoy!

As I mentioned on the new ME&T blog (a place for links from our show), we are going to keep an eye on our listening audience, and it is possible that we will eventually incorporate other advertisements in our podcast to generate some income from the podcast.  But for now, the one expense connected to the podcast (other than the time invested in recording and editing) has been graciously sponsored by UberChord.

Of course, if you haven’t tried UberChord, and you play guitar (or want to learn guitar), go download it!  (Note: UberChord is an iPhone app, so if you have an iPad, you will want to search for it in the correct category on the App Store)


ME&T Podcast #003

Good news!  The third episode of the Music Education & Technology is on SoundCloud (we are now on SoundCloud).  Our guest this time is Catie Dwinal, from Quaver Music, and in this episode we learn a lot about Quaver and discuss some of the needs of elementary music educators.  Many thanks to Paul Shimmons, the co-host, and to Catie Dwinal, for chatting with us.

Want to help someone out? GoFundMe

A few weeks ago, we had Micah Blouin from PreSonus as a guest on our podcast.  They are from Baton Rouge, LA, and eight employees lost their homes.  The company started a GoFundMe project to help those employees.  If you would like to help those families out, consider donating to this project.

ME&T Podcast #2

Paul and I were able to wrap up our second podcast today.  It is a mega podcast (nearly 1.5 hours).  The first half features Paul and I chatting about technology news and some tech tips; the second half is a discussion with Micah Blouin from PreSonus, talking about Notion 6 (new) , Studio One, and some of PreSonus’s other education solutions.

If you are subscribed to the Podcast via iTunes, you should see an update in that feed.

Notion 6 is Available Today

Screen Shot 2016-08-25 at 4.32.14 PM

Earlier today, Presonus introduced Notion 6, its latest version of the Notion music notation program.

Over the past few years, Notion has become a key program for me for a number of reasons:

  • iOS version
  • Excellent sounds
  • Easy audio export (with an embedded DAW)
  • Ease of making ukulele charts with embedded fretboards

Remember: I am a Finale-first user, as I have used Finale for over 20 years.  I will do much of my raw editing in Finale, and then bring the result (via MusicXML) to Notion (either on my Mac or on my iPad–note: the iOS version works on iPhone, too).

I agree with George Hess that Notion is “the fastest, most intuitive program I’ve ever used.

Notion has never balked on my “old” 2008 MacBook, and it has run just about any sort of MIDI connection I throw I at it (I cannot say the same for other programs).  If I had to, I could potentially move to Notion as my single notation solution.

“Big” news items for Notion 6 include a new integration with their DAW, Studio One (ver 3), a new visual interface, and the official statement from the PreSonus website:

Notable improvements include: cross-platform handwriting recognition; new layout control and features for professional score output; drag to respace measures and systems; new instruments from Soundiron; new video window controls for faster scoring to picture; the new Notion Scores library, with over 100 great works; updated Music XML support for seamless transfer with other apps; MP3 export; MIDI over ReWire for improved integration with leading digital audio workstations; and unprecedented side-by-side workflow integration with Studio One Artist or Professional on the same computer or between multiple computers on the same network.

I don’t do that much work with DAWs, so whereas I understand the desire to have DAW integration with ReWire, I don’t personally use that feature.  ReWire compatibility was also included with the new Finale 25.

The upgrade price to Notion 6 is $50; the purchase price of Notion 6 is $149.  Incidentally, if you want the full library of sounds for Notion 6, that is a $299 investment.  That may seem like a lot, but that includes ALL of the sounds, where $299 just gets you going with the deluxe libraries of Finale and Sibelius.  The purchase of Studio One that works with Notion represents another $100 (minimum) investment.

Should you purchase Notion?  If you have an iPad and want to write music, Notion is still the best option, and it works with the Windows/Mac version.  The iPad version, while it does not have all the features of the Windows/Mac version, can display anything that the Windows/Mac version can created.

If you want to work with software that is directly created in connection with a DAW, Notion would seem to be a good bet.

If you do any sort of work exporting audio rehearsal files, or want an easy path into notation, Notion is a good purchase.  If you are a high-level notation user that needs custom control over every aspect of a notated score, Notion isn’t the program for you.

If you are a MuseScore user, it might be worth the purchase of Notion just to hear your scores from a better quality playback option (admittedly, the iPad version shares those sounds, just with a smaller expressive range with a nod to the storage space on a device).  As you know, no software program can compete with the price point of MuseScore.

However, if you are a Finale or Sibelius user, you will need to look at your workflow and decide if another application makes sense for you.  The price of the software is certainly enticing, as the purchase price is that same as an upgrade on similar platforms.

Again, Notion has become a major tool in my toolkit, and I certainly feel safe recommending it to others.  Like every notation product, it isn’t perfect, and they are always working to squash bugs.  But it is a program that I would recommend (just as I do MuseScore and Finale).

Addendum: Apparently Notion for iOS is on sale (thanks, Paul Shimmons) for $8.00!  That’s a must-buy.  You can also read Paul’s thoughts about Notion 6 on his blog at