Category Archives: iPad Apps

iPad Apps

Wolfie app for iPad, by Tonara

Representatives for Tonara have contacted me a number of times about the Woflie app for iPad, which is by Tonara. Tonara is an app that follows you as you play, turning pages. Literature can be bought via in-app purchases.

Wolfie is geared for piano teachers and students, offering subscription based access to literature ($2.99 a week, $8.99 a month). I have blogged about a few other piano apps in the past (Piano Maestro and Flowkey, for example). While piano goes out of my normal sphere of influence for this blog (as the focus is generally on technology for classroom-based music education), some users may find the app of interest.

Pricing for a Wolfie Premium Subscription

The download of Wolfie is free, and there are a number of resources that are given free to the user. The app is intended to be played with a live piano. There are a number of settings, such as practice, listening (with linked YouTube examples), evaluation, and more. There are levels of gameification, which has the potential to spark more user interest in the app.

Gameification in Wolfie


If you teach piano or know a student that is learning piano, Wolfie is worth examining. Download the app and try the free content. I can't speak to the pricing for the “premium” subscription–you wil have to decide for yourself if the content warrants $9 a month ($108 a year). I worry about subscription plans for any app–they can add up quickly for a user, and materials you use aren't yours to keep. That said, these companies need ways to keep developing apps and to pay the bills.

Some of Wolfie's Free Zone Content

And if you are a piano player, check out Tonara, too.


BIG NEWS…StaffWars Live for iOS

This evening, I heard from The Music Interactive, a wonderful developer that has made a number of free and paid apps for Windows, Mac, iOS, and Android. If you haven't checked out their website with programs for Mac and Windows, or what they offer in the iOS and Google Play stores…do so.

One of the wonderful apps they developed for Windows and Mac was StaffWars, a game loosely based on Star Wars, where your job is to shoot notes out of the sky before they hit your clef symbol. Version 1 (Mac/Windows) is a note naming challenge; Version 2 was unique in that students were required to PLAY the correct note to destroy the incoming note.

Several years ago, The Music Interactive began rolling out apps for mobile devices. Version 1 of the desktop version of StaffWars, called StaffWars (iTunes Link) on iOS and Android (only note naming) has been available on iOS and Android for a few years. Now the LIVE version (Version 2 on Mac/Windows) is available on iOS, and is called StaffWars Live. Now your students can PLAY the correct note on their instrument.

Both apps are $0.99, and are a must-buy for any music teacher that wants students to learn the name of their notes. The new app is a must for any instrumental teacher (or student) wanting students to have to play the right notes to the notes on a screen. Gameification is what makes this special.

You have the freedom to choose the instrument (which filters the range appropriately) and to limit the range of notes that a student is required to play. I had fun tonight limiting the app to the Treble Clef, C Major Scale, from C4 to C5, and playing notes on my Concert ukulele.

At conferences, attendees have been asking for this functionality in the app for YEARS. I think it is priced well (I would pay more than $0.99), and both apps (StaffWars and StaffWars Live) are worth having in your iPad “kit.” I was just thinking about how I would have liked to post something else on my blog tonight, but there hasn't been any big news in music education and technology. This app, in my opinion, is a pretty big deal.

I would write more…but I have some more notes to practice on my ukulele.


Attention Band and Orchestra Teachers! Ningenius is on sale!

I received an e-mail this morning that the iPad app Ningenius is on sale for a limited time (Through January 22nd).

Ningenius is a fun app that helps band and orchestra students remember fingerings and note names. Paul Shimmons has written about this app in the past (link #1 and link #2), and I have mentioned it, too (link).

The app is unique that it comes in a student (one person, one instrument), studio (unlimited students, one instrument on one iPad), and school (unlimited students, all instruments on one iPad) versions.

Instruments Available:

  • Woodwinds: Flute, Clarinet, Oboe, Bassoon, Saxophone
  • Brass: Trumpet, French Horn, Trombone, Euphonium, and Tuba
  • Strings: Violin, Viola, Cello, Bass, and Guitar
  • Keyboard: Piano and Mallet Percussion (Xylophone/Bells)

The sale prices:

If I were a band teacher, particularly at the beginning stages, I would want my students to have this app, and I would want the school version on my iPad. Additionally, if you would use academic pricing for the app (buying more than 20 at a time through your school) the cost is $0.49 per app (and if your apps are assigned through a MDM, you can take apps back and reassign in the future).

This is a great time to buy the app. I don't normally ask this–but if you know any band or orchestra teachers that either teach in 1:1 iPad Schools or have iPads of their own, send along a link to this post–or just let them know the app is on sale.

Learn Music With Music Pal

There is a new(er) score recognition app called “Music Pal” that is available on the App Store. It is a free app, and if you take a picture of a score, it will play it back. Right now, the app is free.

I had contacted the company, and they mentioned that it was a “stealth launch mode” as they wanted to see who was using the app and what they were using it for (not for tracking purposes).

The app simply takes a picture of your music and allows you to play it. As I deal with choral music, it didn't handle multiple voice parts (even a relatively simple SA & Piano score) well, but it did pick up a grand staff (piano) relatively well. You can't really do much with the app other than play something (you can change tempo) and I couldn't even save things.

That said, it is a pretty amazing product that works as well as Musitek's SmartScore NOTEReader (the makers of SmartScore X2 Pro, which is the scanning software connected to Finale) which does offer (with a $10 In-App Purchase) the ability to export scanned scores, but nowhere near as accurate as Neuratron's NotateMe PhotoScore In-App Purchase (a $70 investment altogether).

Still, if you want to see, for free, what a smart phone can do for scanning before taking the “plunge” on NotateMe/PhotoScore, this is a great way to do so. You could also download NotateMe Now, the free version of NotateMe, which is bundled with PhotoScore Now, which allows you to scan one single part at a time (i.e. not a choral score or band score).


NextPage Newsletter

Scott Kantner is the developer of NextPage, a PDF Sheet Music Reader for the iPad.

I describe NextPage as forScore-lite, or unrealBook-lite.

As a middle school choir teacher in a 1:1 setting, I found that the best-of-class PDF music readers offered too many features for my students.  Instead of singing, they would be using the metronome, searching the web, or playing the piano.   While I can lock them into an app with our MDM, the apps did too much.  Even the free option, PiaScore, did too much (they did not understand why I asked for YouTube to be removed from the core of their app).

NextPage was a good solution, and we bought 300 copies of it.  The program offers all the basic things you need in a PDF music reader.

We eventually moved away from NextPage as Showbie could be used as a PDF viewer with annotation.  NextPage would be a better solution, but it is easier for me to put students into one app for the whole hour rather than to try to change apps throughout the hour.  Every time you re-focus an app, strange things happen to some student iPads.

So…I like NextPage and recommend it, even though we are not currently using it.  Some users might find NextPage a good, uncomplicated option for music reading on the iPad.

Scott is starting a blog about NextPage 3, and sent out a newsletter.  The newsletter is short and talks about the status of NextPage–and it also has some performance tips at the bottom of the newsletter.  I wanted to share it with you.

NextPage November Newsletter


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