This is the final post in a series about ten iOS tech tools that can be used to help a secondary music educator prepare for a concert. This series is based off a series by Amy Burns at mustech.net, who just wrapped up a series on ten tech tools that can be used by an elementary music educator prepare for a concert. I teach secondary music education in a 1:1 iPad setting, so I have been working through the tools that I use to help me prepare for a concert. Many of these tools are useful even if you do not work in a 1:1 setting.
For this last post, I think it is worthwhile to mention some hardware tools that I use in a concert. I will list them as bullet points. I will not discuss our risers or shell that we use in our gym (we are building a new building, and next year, our concerts will be in an auditorium).
I forgot to take a photo of the layout from our concert on December 14th. Sorry…this worked REALLY well. Nobody realizes (you probably do) the time it takes to figure out how to set up for a concert in such a way that it results in a flawless performance.
So, to the hardware:
- Personal iPad: 12.9” iPad Pro
- Apple Pencil
- AirTurn GoStand
- AirTurn Manos Universal Tablet Holder
- PageFlip Dragonfly Wireless Page Turner
- Sony MV1 Video Recorder
- Photographer’’s Lighting Tripod for MV1
- Attachment on Tripod to allow for the MV1 camera mount
- A second iPad on a stand as well, which connects to control the MV1 remotely
- Two powered speakers (PA system)
- Extension cords (4) and a power strip.
- Small Mackie Mixing Board (check out PreSonus’s packages to do a similar thing)
- Bluetooth Receiver (wall powered). Amazon sells their own branded unit for $20.
- 1/8” stereo to 1/4 plugs (to plug into mixer)
- We do not print programs, so I put the program as a PDF in Google Drive, and then make a shortened URL using TinyURL, sending that link to parents a few days before the concert. Google now allows for revisions, meaning that you update the Google file, and the file retains its same Google URL, meaning that you could theoretically save the most recent concert program to google and make a TinyURL for that file (file name: concertprogram.pdf, TinyURL: http://www.tinyurl.com/yourschoolchoir), and just update it for every concert. This saves a lot of wasted paper, and gives parents a reason to be on their phones for the right reason during a concert. If parents want a paper copy, I print them after the concert and mail them…still saving at least $100 and a lot of wasted paper.
I play accompaniments using my ukulele (and in our second concert, with student players, too) and backup tracks that I have created (on Notion, iReal Pro, or GarageBand) directly from forScore, pushing the audio from my iPad to the PA system via Bluetooth. It works wonderfully. I also plan on adding an Xvive 2 guitar controller to my ukulele to project it through the system in the spring. I also leave the iPad controlling the MV1 behind the shell, starting the video before the concert and ending it afterwards.
I also stop at one point in the concert to take a photo of the choirs for our yearbook (using my iPhone 8). Otherwise, we never get all of the students in one place wearing the right apparel at the same time ever again!
I set up the sound system behind our shell, and control volume right off the iPad. We have a mic system in the gym for speaking, so I just use that system to address the audience. In the future, I would like to have students introduce pieces—but in the midst of getting everything else ready, that is something that usually slips by.
If you need any help creating such a system for your school, please, send me an e-mail. While the initial investment isn’t insignificant…the equipment will last for years.
I hope you have found this series helpful and that there have been a few apps or approaches that will enable you to more successful prepare for your next concert! Happy New Year! I hope 2018 is a great year for you, your families, and your programs!