What the Glif?

Glif Tripod Attachment for iPhone

Sunday was a very sad day here at Listen & Learn headquarters: after two years of trusty service, my Flip Ultra HD camcorder died. Luckily, my new camera takes HD video and came to the rescue for last week’s “Sunday Singalong” video, but using that camera as a camcorder eats up the battery almost immediately. I knew I needed an alternative solution.

So where did I turn for advice? Facebook, of course! I asked my friends for HD camcorder recommendations, and the first I received was this:

My brother-in-law reminded me that I already have an excellent HD camcorder, which I knew but hadn’t thought about using as a replacement for my Flip. He sent me this link, which further convinced me that maybe I didn’t need to go out and spend the money on a new camcorder, after all.

And then I remembered a particularly memorable Kickstarter (the crowd-sourcing website I used to raise money for my studio album) project that showed up in my inbox several months ago: the glif.


The glif is “an iPhone 4/4S accessory with two primary functions: mounting your iPhone onto a tripod and propping up your iPhone at various angles” — exactly what I needed to turn my new phone into a legit camcorder. It’s a little pricy for a small piece of plastic, but compared to purchasing a brand new camcorder? I was happy to shell out the $20.

I’m going to miss the ‘ol Flipster, but I’m excited to try out my glif/iPhone combo when I record Sunday’s video. I’ll keep you posted on my thoughts, and you’ll get to see the results first-hand this weekend!

Friday Fave: iPhone 4S & iOS 5

iPhone 4S

Okay, so maybe I’ve blogged about my favorite Apple products a time or two. And yes, maybe I’ve even been called an Apple fangirl on occasion (hi, Dad). But really, I have my husband to blame: he has owned every single iPhone model since the day the first one came out back in 2007. He has also owned 2 MacBooks, a MacBook Pro, and an iPad.

I’m not complaining about his influence on me, though, because I love all of my Apple devices. They have changed the way I do my job, which is my excuse for writing about them on the blog as often as I do. And today I’m writing about two of the newest additions…the iPhone 4S, and the new operating system, iOS 5.

Let’s start with the new phone. I was long overdue, having used my good ol’ 3GS model for over 2 years. The 4S is much faster, brighter, and full of cool features I didn’t have before, but my FAVORITE feature is the camera. The picture is pretty amazing not just for a camera phone, but for a camera, period.

Another cool feature is Siri, the virtual “assistant” who does just about anything you ask of her, including making phone calls, sending text messages, setting alarms, creating calendar events, and so on.

iOS 5

The iPhone 4S rocks, but what really makes it is the new operating system. iOS 5 has pretty much knocked my socks off — I love the new notifications, iMessage system (I can text from my iPad now!), reminders, iCloud, and the built-in tweeting capabilities. That, coupled with the awesome new camera, are going to make me dangerous at AMTA conference next month. Look out, music therapists! ;)

One of the things that has come in very handy for my studio is the new wireless syncing ability to iTunes, for both the iPhone and iPad. I can transfer sheet music and songs to either device without plugging them in, and they just magically show up. I had fun entertaining my students (and myself) with this all week long.

I know I’m not the only one around here who is excited about the new iPhone and iOS 5. Have you used either? And are your reviews as positive as mine?

“Make a Dent in the Universe”

Steve Jobs

Upon learning of the death of Apple co-founder and CEO Steve Jobs, my husband posted this quote of his on Facebook. Many others have followed suit, and I’m doing the same now.  Steve Jobs made a huge dent in the universe, and helped millions of others make their own…including me.

I vividly remember one night back in 2006: my boyfriend (now husband) and I were sitting on the couch —  he was typing away at his brand new Macbook, while I did the same on my old Dell. Zach said, “You should check out this Garageband program. I bet you could get lots of use out of it for your music therapy work.” I took a quick look, and then told him I doubted I would ever need something like that. After all, I was a PC girl all the way.

But I tried it out the next day while he was at work, and was hooked. Since then, I’ve gone through multiple Macbooks, using Garageband to record hundreds and hundreds of songs for my students, myself, and this very blog.

I’ve used iMovie to create over 75 “Sunday Singalong” videos. My iPad has a place in almost every music therapy session I facilitate, lesson I teach, and gig I perform. I would feel lost without my iPhone.

Slowly but surely, I’m making my dent in the universe; and although I can’t give Steve Jobs all the credit, I will say that I couldn’t have done some of my best work without him and his creations. So today, along with the rest of the world, I’m remembering an amazing visionary and feeling thankful for his contributions to us.

Microphone Stand = Music Stand?!

Microphone Stand for iPad 2

I tried to keep my newest piece of equipment under wraps until today’s blog post, but I couldn’t help but give my Facebook friends a sneak peek over the weekend.  I’m just wayyy too excited about my new microphone stand mount for the iPad 2!

I wish I was one of those people who has all of their gig music completely memorized, but alas, I am not…especially when I’m playing a two or three-hour gig with ever-changing repertoire.

Now, instead of bringing a music stand and big binder full of lead sheets along with all my other equipment, I just stick my iPad 2 and the mount in my bag.  I don’t even have to bring my own mic stand, because the mount clamps on to any standard one.  Not to mention that I never have to worry about my pages blowing in the wind while playing outside.

Admittedly, there is a little bit of a time commitment involved in getting your music onto the iPad before using this setup.  The two apps I use, GigBook and MusicReader, require that sheet music, lead sheets, or just lyrics be in PDF form.  So while I did already have electronic versions of much of my music, I had to do quite a bit of scanning to complete my digital collection.  But it was totally worth it, considering that now all of my music is at my fingertips.

Aside from the convenience of my new iPad mount, it also ups my cool factor immensely :)  I played a gig over the weekend, and everyone (audience members and other musicians) wanted to get the full scoop on my little gadget.

iPad 2: $500 +.
Microphone stand mount: $99.
Making my life easier AND cooler: priceless.

MusicNotes App for iPad

Musicnotes iPad App

I’ve been using MusicNotes.com to purchase instant sheet music downloads for over five years now.  In fact, I’m a member of the MusicNotes Digital Club, which means I save 10% on every piece of music I purchase.  (That may not sound like much, but when you buy as much as I do, it adds up.)

The only bummer about buying sheet music from MusicNotes is that once you’ve printed your allotted single copy, you can no longer access that piece of music.

Enter the MusicNotes app for iPad.  I discovered this last week when I was downloading yet another song, and saw on the sidebar of my screen that it was “iPad compatible”.  So I clicked on the link to read more, and found that if you have an iPad, you can access your account and then view all of the compatible songs (most of which are) right on the screen.  Not only that, but you can annotate and transpose the score right on your iPad.

This app has opened up an entire collection of music for use with my students, and also just for my own personal use.  It even works with my new wireless foot pedal-controlled page turner, the AirTurn BT-105.

There are a couple of other music-related iPad apps that are currently rocking my world, but each deserves its own blog post.  More to come soon!  Which apps have you been digging lately?

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