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Palen Music Center Quick Note

Monday, November 15, 2010


The PMC Quick Note is part of our mission to support the lives of band directors across the Midwest. The Quick Note contains helpful tips and suggestions from area directors, spotlights on area college and university band programs, calendars of upcoming events, advocacy articles promoting music education, links to helpful web resources, and much more.  Comments, suggestions, ideas, and articles are always welcome.


Looking for help on a particular topic? Be sure to check out our Quick Note Catalog of back issues!

Reasons To Put An iPad On Your Christmas List

More and more directors are finding helpful ways to put technology to work for them in the classroom. For this article, we wanted to find some creative uses for the iPad. If you have been suffering from "techno-lust" over this slick and beautiful device, then you probably shouldn't read any further. If you are seeking some justification on why your spouse should buy you one, then this is the article for you. We contacted Troy Peterson, Director of Bands at Kickapoo High School, and asked him about his favorite applications for both the iPhone and the iPad. This is what he had to say:

I have found the iPad/iPhone invaluable in the classroom, concert setting, on the field, and even on the bus. Instead of carry a tuner, metronome, scores, drill book, parent contact forms, etc...a backpack worth of material, I carry an iPad.

My first experience with the iPad was State Large Ensemble Music festival last Spring. I used an app called “Sheet Music”. Instead of placing a couple of scores on the stand, I placed an iPad. Touch the screen and the score flips to the next page. No missed page turns and very easy to use. “Sheet Music” is similar to the expensive stand alone product from Freehand Music called “Music Pad Pro”.

Click for a Comparison of Five Sheet Music Readers for the iPad

Another favorite app on mine is the iStroboSoft, made by Peterson Strobe Tuners, no relation. This is a must for every band director. On the iPhone, it works great to spot check a student on the fly. On the iPad, every student in the entire classroom can visually watch the tonal center and identify and make adjustments. My current metronome is an app made by Frozen Ape called “Tempo 2”. A programable met that carries more features then the best Dr Beat. Here is a video demonstrating the features:


Click for more information on Tempo 2 from Frozen Ape

For the marching band, iBooks was the app of choice for drill charts and score reading. Both the drill and music were converted to a pdf files and opened in iBooks. iBooks allows you to jump to any page of music or drill just like scrubbing through chapters in a books, but much faster.

Probably the best outdoor app is Radarscope. Which kept the Kickapoo Band dry all season. It is $9.99 download, but has the best radar feeds and detail.

This next app was one that my kids used during the fall marching season on there iPhones/iTouch called Drillbook. We make every student carry a dot book (or spiral 3x5 set of index cards) with all there drill coordinates and this app is wonderful after you teach them it is forbidden to text when you are checking your drill set.

Click for a video demonstrating Drillbook

For the bus and travel, keeping everyone informed and “in-touch” is a top priority. I had two feeds on the band's web site to share “live” information with our parents and friends. One was Facebook and the other was Twitter. Sharing how the band performed, sharing pictures, what was happening next, or most important, what time will he band be home.

Other thoughts and uses that have changed how we operate is transferring all our emergency contact forms, locker numbers and combinations, inventory and forms into pdfs. The reduction of paper and ease of use is incredible. The iPad and iPhone have made the job of band directing more productive in so many ways and I celebrate every time a new music app comes online!

We would like to thank Troy for these suggestions and ideas. Several other band directors are on tap to share their uses of the iPad and iPhone in the classroom. Stay tuned and check out next week's Quick Note for more helpful technology tips. Time to make that Christmas list!

Contact Your Local Palen Music Center Representative


Can we assist you with anything?  Please contact your local Palen Music Center school road representative for all of your music education needs.


Springfield Bob Hopkins, Wayne Blades, Brett Palen, Eric Matzat, Jason Moore, and Paul Bowen (417) 882-7000
Columbia Robert Pitts and Jake Herzog (573) 256-5555
Liberty Ken Crisp and Harlan Moore (816) 792-8301
Joplin Dave Coble and Chelsea Samuel (417) 781-3100
Broken Arrow Mark VanVranken and Tiffany Dempsey (918) 770-6827


If you would like to submit material, make corrections, give comments, or wish to be removed from this mailing list, please contact Eric Matzat.  

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