2013 MTNA Conference – Tuesday Afternoon – Inspired Uses of the iPad in Your Studio

Conference attendees flocked by the hundreds (or something like that!) to this tech-focused session. Before the session began, everyone received a complimentary copy of the brand new publication by Yamaha, SimpleTec:

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A technology superstar lineup of music educators was introduced and the session launched! George Litterst began by saying that they have been working on a room-expansion software, but it’s still in development. 🙂

As we all know we are living in an age of rapid change. The iPad has emerged, and where the room might have had 10 people in previous years, its popularity explains the overflowing room. George wanted to give everyone a vision of where this technology is headed in the years ahead.

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He showed a video clip of Mario Ajero’s son playing along with a recorded song on the iPad.

Shana Kirk answered the questions, “Why iPad?”
* Tablets are everywhere!
* iPad continues to dominate sales (about half of all tablet sales).
* iOS fully supports MIDI (harder to come by on non-iOS device).
* Anecdotal observations (prospect for more possibilities and opportunities).

It’s nice to have one device that takes the place of so many teaching tools that we have used for years: camera, flashcards, metronome, dictionary, etc. It can save lots of time and clutter!

George adds that the iPad does not, however, replace the teacher, but that we can refer to ourselves as “iPad compatible.”

Mario Ajero shared why the iPad is more than a pretty toy:
* Media player gives students audio and video to play along with (iTunes, YouTube, Vevo)
* Multi-touch and Siri interfaces are more intuitive to younger children (especially those who are not yet reading)

He referenced the musicnotes.com app for selected sheet music, then showed a clip of his daughter playing “Skyfall” from iTunes by giving Siri the specific command.

People ask about suggestions for making the audio louder:
* Headphones for practice.
* External speakers.
* Digital piano audio in.
* Airplay over WiFi network.

Mario moved into talking about MTV. It was very influential in his musical development because he anxiously awaited music videos from his favorite musicians so that he could learn their songs. This generations, “MTV” is YouTube, Vevo, or Spotify.

George clarified that any reference to iOS devices refers to the operating system used by Apple devices such as the iPad, iPhone, and iPod Touch.

Stella Sick next gave an overview of what to look for in Music Reader Apps. She encouraged users to consider how the content is accessed, cost, music-sharing options, and page turning options. One recommended app was forScore, which is available for $4.99. Scores can be easily marked, shared via e-mail or Dropbox, and manipulated for teaching purposes.

She proceeded to give an overview of several other music reading apps:

Music Notes is a free app that works with an air turn (you don’t have to use your hand to turn pages). PerformPro ($1.99) accesses scores through their own store and also offers a scroll view with speed adjustment. Chromatik (free) allows sharing scores with all annotations and notes and still has new features in development, including an ability for students to record themselves playing certain portions of the score to receive feedback from their teacher. The free Notezart app has many features, including direct access to imslp.org (!). The Finale Songbook app plays only .mus scores (created in Finale), but allows for playback. VSheetMusic is another free app that often comes with mp3 files for instrumental scores with options for playing with accompaniment tracks.

Mario spoke about “The iPad as Your Practice Partner”:
* NoteStar: backup studio musician tracks play along with scrolling music notation.
* Jammit: jam with a band’s original master tracks by isolating or remove an instrument from the mix
* Home Concert Xtreme: Learn, practice and perform with smart MIDI accompaniment

More about NoteStar:
* A large library of mostly pop songs.
* You can preview the song score and recording.
* You can change the size of the score.
* Transposition is available at no charge (the files are digital audio files, though, not MIDI files).
* Some ability to adjust tempo.
* Select where you want the vocals on or off.
* Looping feature so that you can work on a specific section.

More about Home Concert Xtreme:
* Available for the iPad in iTunes App Store.
* Works with any MIDI file.
* Displays music notation as it plays (lots of flexibility with tempo).
* Smart accompaniment that follows the pianist playing.
* Learn mode, jam mode, and perform mode.
* Can plugin to a Yamaha Disklavier and play the sounds through it.

Shana talked about “Instant replay, no wires needed!” No matter what kind of piano you are using, you can record and immediately play it back for the student to watch and listen. With an air play studio you can wirelessly project it onto a screen or even the wall for the student to see in a larger-than-life playback.

George spoke about the iPad MIDI studio. With a larger TV screen in your studio you can project recorded iPad videos to the screen for instant viewing!

What you Need:
* iPad
* MIDI apps
* appropriate connecting cables

Look for George’s blog on the Clavier Companion website to see his detailed explanations of how to set up these connections.

iConnect MIDI is the way to get fancy at the teacher’s station!

iPad AirPlay Studio – George recommends having a large flat panel screen mounted to the wall of your studio. In addition to showing student recordings, you can access YouTube, other internet sites, etc. He gave an outline of how to go about setting up AirPlay capabilities in your studio.

They gave a demonstration of Yamaha Visual Performer. This allows you to create multimedia experiences in conjunction with a connected MIDI enabled instrument. When the instrument is played, various artwork or other visual elements are created on the screen according to the selected template. This would be a fun element to add to a recital to give the audience a more multi-dimensional experience.

Shana shared some ideas about how to create your own iPad content. Every iPad has an app called iBooks. It’s a super cool, easy, way to make your own content that can’t be copied. She quickly created an iBook earlier today with added audio files for the demonstration using iBooks Author (only able to be used on a Mac system using Lion Books iOS or later).

Share and enjoy!

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