Using the iPad 2 for Lesson & Session Notes

iPad 2 for Lesson and Session Notes

As you might have previously read, I got an iPad 2 for my birthday.  The primary reason I wanted one was for use in my studio, and I didn’t waste any time putting it into action yesterday.

Up until this past spring, I’ve sent my students home with written assignment sheets and lesson or music therapy session notes in their binders.  However, with so many students to see every day, I hated the thought of going through so much paper — not to mention all the time spent handwriting notes.

So I whipped up a notes template on Pages (a word processing app I have on both my Macbook Pro and iPad 2) and then created a document for each day of the week.  Each document has a page dedicated to every student I see on that day, with the notes templates all ready to be completed during lessons and music therapy sessions.

At the end of the day after my last student has left, I copy and paste each student’s lesson/session note into an email to either the student (if he/she is an adult) or the parents.  That way, we both have an electronic record of everything that happened in the lesson/session, as well as any assignments.

I also include a reminder at the bottom of my notes template to students and parents that they can log practice time, comments, and questions about that week’s lesson/session in their account on my website.

I knew the iPad 2 would be great for educational music apps and playing and recording music, but this use of it is worth the price alone.  Do you use your iPad or another electronic device to write and share lesson or session notes, or do you stick to paper and pen?

iPad? Check!

iPad 2

I am one lucky girl!  Not only did my family throw a super fun afternoon cookout for my birthday, but they also gave me an iPad 2 (with a pink smart cover).  It was delivered to my husband’s office today, so I can’t wait to open it up and start playing with it this evening.

I also received several gift cards and checks from other family members and even a few students’ families, which I put towards the AirTurn Page Turner and Music Reader system (which you can read more about here).

I’m looking forward to using all my new gear this summer — both in my studio and for playing gigs, my first of which is tomorrow.  I’m only four days into summer vacation, and yet I’ve barely had any downtime at all.  Not that I’m complaining!


Friday Fave: iPhone Apps for Songwriting

iPhone Voice Memos for Songwriting

Today’s Friday Fave is actually a spin-off of yesterday’s guest post at Time for Music, which is the second installment of my “Adventures in Songwriting” series.  I mentioned that I use the voice memo app during the songwriting process, and Susan of the wonderful blog Make Me Musical wanted to hear more about it.

I wrote about my favorite iPhone apps around this time last year, but lo and behold, I failed to mention voice memos.  I keep my iPhone next to me while I write my songs, first so that I can tune my guitar using the Cleartune app, and second, so that I don’t lose my melodies before I get them down on paper.

As I mentioned while describing my songwriting process, the melody usually comes to me organically as I’m writing the lyrics.  I don’t like to switch gears between perfecting the words and figuring out chords, so I simply open the voice memo app (which comes already installed on the iPhone) and hit record.  That way I can sing or hum the melody and save it for later.

Not only does this app let me save my voice memos under a custom title, but when I sync my phone to my laptop, they automatically transfer to a dedicated iTunes playlist.  These features come in extremely handy when I use voice memos during my lessons and music therapy sessions.  Often I’ll record a piece of music for a student, download it to my computer, and then pop it onto his or her USB flashdrive for practice purposes.

I’d love to hear about other uses for the voice memo app.  iPhone users: any tips to share?  Bonus points if they’re related to songwriting :)  Happy weekend, all!

Friday Fave: The Magic of iMovie

I know you’ll find this hard to believe, but it’s true: this Friday Fave is devoted to yet another piece of Apple technology.  Again, let me remind you that I am in no way compensated for my frequent Apple/Mac related posts; I just really, really love their products :)

iMovie is a part of the iLife package that comes with every Mac, and I recently upgraded to iLife ’09.  Up until then, I had used only the most basic features of iMovie to create the occasional YouTube video, but I have since discovered many more of the cool things this program can do.  Experimenting with music tracks, still photos, transitions and titles has been way too much fun….it can almost get a little addictive!

I spent some time this week creating a video about my songbook, incorporating many of those aforementioned iMovie features.  It’s definitely not perfect, but I’m still learning. Take a look:

What do you think? I had a blast making this video, from taking the photos, to recording the music, to even the tedious editing process. Now I just have to come up with excuses to create more like it…any ideas?

Friday Fave: iPhone Apps

TGIF!  This week has absolutely flown, but luckily it has been an extremely productive one for me.  I’ve wrapped up several work-intensive projects, and am very much looking forward to relaxing a bit this weekend.  I am planning to spend some quality time with iMovie, creating a few videos just for Listen & Learn.  But playing with technology is one of my favorite hobbies, so I don’t even classify that as work :)

Speaking of technology…well, I do that a lot on this blog, don’t I?  So it should come as no surprise to you that today’s Friday Fave is based on one of my absolute favorites pieces of technology: the iPhone.  I’ve expressed my love for it here a time or two, but today I want to focus on some of the apps that I use on a daily basis.

Anyone who knows me is aware that I am a bit of a Facebook addict!  Now that I have an iPhone, I can update my status, post pictures, and maintain my page on the go with the free Facebook app.  The latest update now sends push notifications, making it even easier to stay connected (not to mention, feeds the addiction).

Another social media app I rely on is Tweetdeck (again, it’s free).  This app allows me to tweet from either my personal or work-related twitter account, in addition to reading the latest tweets of the people I follow.  It even supports Twitter lists now!  I have one list devoted just to music therapy-related Twitter accounts.

Even though I’ve had months and months of practice, I am still not the best iPhone typist.  My fingers just can’t seem to adapt to that keyboard…which is why the free Google voice app comes in so handy.  When I want to search for something, I just speak into the mic.  It is usually pretty accurate in picking up my search term, and seconds later, I have a list of results from which to choose.

My guitar goes everywhere with me, but sometimes I forget to grab my tuner, too.  Tuning by ear is fine if I have an accurate starting pitch, but for those times that I don’t, I rely on the Cleartune chromatic tuner app.  It is a little pricey ($3.99) but definitely worth it if you tote your guitar frequently.

When I have a few minutes of free time between sessions and lessons, I almost always pull out my iPhone.  My new favorite time-passer is the Scrabble app, which is completely worth the $4.99 price tag.  You can play the computer, connect to another iPhone through Wi-Fi, or even find an opponent via Facebook.  I never get tired of this game, and the fact that it makes me think is an added bonus.

I could probably list 20 more apps that I love, but I’ll stop here.  How about you, fellow iPhone users?  What are your favorite apps?  I am always looking for recommendations, so send them my way.

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