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Palen Music Center Quick Note

Monday, November 29, 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!

Making the Most of Your iPad by Craig Finger
This is the second part of our series on encorporating the iPad into the classroom. Click to view the first part of this article, sent out on November 15, 2010.

I originally was pretty skeptical of how the iPad would benefit my teaching. I tried out a friend of mine’s iPad for viewing drill during band camp. After one morning of working with the device, I was in the line at Best Buy on our lunch break!
I use my iPad and iPhone in a similar fashion as Troy so I won’t rehash what he has already shared. Here are a few app’s that I also have found helpful. I also wanted to share some accessories that would also be of benefit if you find that iPad in your stocking.

iAnnotate PDF is a wonderful app. I would download my trip sheets and contest packets, complete with highlighted areas that I wanted to emphasize. This was a great tool to utilize when emailing information to the rest of my staff (it made that BOA rule book not as intimidating!) as well as to some of my booster parents who also had an iPad or a smartphone, which helped them as the trailer would travel ahead of the buses. It also has been great to notate student information such as medical forms, etc. Although I prefer iBooks for viewing my drill, I use this as my main PDF viewer.

Not everything that I download on the iPad is a PDF. Since my school computer is a Windows machine, I use DocsToGo for viewing and editing my Word and Excel documents. It will also do Powerpoint which I don’t use much. If you are a Mac user Pages and Numbers are nice apps that work well with their big brother desktop programs.

It should be noted that just like a computer, if you receive a certain type of file by email, you can open and save that in any of the programs you have on your iPad. Also, Dropbox is a great way of sharing files between your devices and your computers. That’s right, there’s an app for that.

I have found a couple of the native applications such as the iPod and Videos to be a great tool in the classroom and on the field. After each contest I would download the performance video which was extremely helpful to have out on the field to reference visual concepts that worked and didn’t work. Having my judges comments was also a very handy way of listening to that feedback in the office, the car, at home. Or having the audio file to your music so you can always remind yourself what the tune is suppose to sound like!

For a tuner I use Cleartune. Very simple and straight forward. And for a metronome I have found DrBetotteTC to have an interface that I am very familiar with. These are technically iPhone apps (which is great for travel) but you can also use them on the iPad.

For reference questions I have found Musictionary and Instruments (fingering charts) and to be extremely helpful. (Especially for us drummers)! Instruments is created by Music In Reach who have also created some individual instrument app’s that are cool! Check out this video:


These are just a few of my six pages of apps! You can also make any website that you find useful an icon on your iPad. It will act just like an app. I use this with and the Vic Firth education page. Very handy.

Finally, there are a few accessories that you should consider once you have this great tool in your hands. First off, get a case. There are several different types based on your preference. For marching season, I use a case from Otterbox. It is like a Batman suit for your iPad. Sure it add’s some bulk but when the tablet is being used outside so much, it gives me comfort. Next, I have always hated cords. I will use the metronome or play music in class but I can’t do it from the podium unless I have cords laying around. Get yourself a bluetooth receiver (only about $40), plug it into your sound system and you are totally wireless, free from cords and free to roam the room. (My guard instructor loves it for use in the gym). I also have a camera connector kit ($29) so I can get pictures or HD video from my iPhone onto the iPad for easier viewing.

There is so much more to share! The amount of uses is only limited by your imagination. If you’re not a gadget geek, don’t be scared. The iPad operating system is designed so that you already know how to use it out of the box. And if nothing else think about how you are saving your back since you are abandoning your overflowing backpack and will simply walk away with a half inch thick piece of AWESOME!!

Palen Music would like to thank Craig Finger for submitting this article. For more information on the iPad, read the first part of our iPad series sent out on November 15, 2010. Do you have a topic you would like to hear more about? Do you have information you would like to contribute to our Quick Note? Please contact us!

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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