Friday Fave: Square Credit Card Reader

Square Credit Card Reader

There have been many occasions on which I wished I was able to accept credit card payments. Here are just a few: when selling my CDs and songbooks at conferences, peddling demos at gigs, when a parent of a student forgets his or her checkbook and has no cash…the list goes on.

So when my friend and fellow studio owner Lisa Casciola told me about the Square Credit Card Reader, I was intrigued. I went to the website, where I found out that I could order the tiny little device for FREE, start an account for FREE, and immediately begin accepting credit card payments.

Square Credit Card Reader

The square accepts all types of major credit cards and charges a flat 2.75% rate for every transaction. The best part is that the money is transferred to your bank account the next day. How convenient is that? The Square app can be downloaded to the iPhone, iPad and Android for free, and is super simple to use. Here are a couple screen shots of the app in use:

Square App Screen Shot

You simply enter the dollar amount and title of your transaction and then either swipe the card or enter the card number. It seriously couldn’t be any easier, and better yet, each transaction is completely secure.

For each item or service you sell, you can upload a picture that is displayed as an icon next to the item name. You can also personalize your receipts and let customers choose between paper (you can print wirelessly if using the iPad), email, or text. There is also an option for customers to add a tip. You can create reports to track sales and income, and even set up custom rewards programs for certain credit card types.

This device has opened up lots of new possibilities for me! Have you tried it yet, or do you use another method of accepting credit card payments on the fly?

Friday Fave: Camera Connection Kit for iPad

Camera Connection Kit for iPad with Blue Snowball Microphone

It’s no secret that I love my iPad and use it for tons of music and music therapy-related purposes, from taking lesson/session notes to organizing and displaying my gig music to teaching my students music theory.

One of the first apps I downloaded when I got my ipad was Garageband, and I’ve used it many times in sessions with music therapy clients. But I never preferred using my Macbook version of Garageband when it came to recording myself and my voice students, because the iPad version was missing one thing: a real microphone.

However, that has changed — all thanks to Bonnie Hayhurst of The Groovy Garfoose. I had no idea that there was a way to connect my beloved Blue Snowball USB microphone (the mic I’ve been using and recommending since 2008) to the iPad, until I read her “12 Apps of Christmas” series. Bonnie featured the Camera Connection Kit for iPad and mentioned that she was using it to connect her Blue Snowball mic and record with GarageBand.

iPad Camer Connection Kit (USB)

Thanks to this little guy, I’ve been recording up a storm using my iPad. The Camera Connection Kit also comes with an adapter meant to read SD cards, if in fact you actually want to use it for it’s main purpose of transferring photos. It’s SO much easier to record my students with the iPad rather than the laptop, and they love it too!

The next item on my iPad-related wish list is a 1/4 inch adapter for my guitar. I’ve been researching but haven’t decided on one yet…any suggestions? Bonnie? :)

Image Credit

Friday Fave: The 12 Apps of Christmas

12 Apps of Christmas

People often ask for my advice when it comes to useful music-related iPad apps. I’ve given my fair share of recommendations, but luckily there are more seasoned iPad users than I who so generously share their knowledge with me!

Fellow music therapist Bonnie Hayhurst is one such iPad expert, and this month she is giving the lowdown on her favorite music-related apps. Her series is called “The 12 Apps of Christmas” and can be found on her blog, The Groovy Garfoose.

Groovy Garfoose

Thanks to Bonnie’s posts (she’s currently on day 9), I already have a list going of apps I need to download immediately. My favorite so far is the Apple Camera Connection Kit, which I didn’t even know existed! I have already added that to my Amazon wishlist :)

If you have an iPad that you use for music therapy or other music-related purposes, or if your students or clients use an iPad, this is a series you need to check out. And now I’m off to the app store to do a little window shopping!

iTunes Match: Music in the Cloud

iTunes Match

As I type this blog post, iTunes is currently uploading my music library into the cloud. Actually, it’s uploading the songs that aren’t available in the iTunes store — about half of my 8,741 song collection.

With that much music in my library, it’s always been a struggle to decide which songs to sync with my devices (iPod, iPhone, and iPad) and which ones to leave off. Inevitably, the song or album I’m looking for on a given day hasn’t been synced, so I can’t listen to it unless I’m at my computer.

That’s why I was so excited for the launch of iTunes Match, which makes my entire song collection available across all of my devices. For $24.99 a year, it’s a pretty sweet deal.

So now I’m utilizing two paid music services: iTunes Match and Spotify (for which I’m paying $10 a month). Spotify allows me hear songs I don’t already own, which comes in handy during lessons and music therapy sessions or just listening for pleasure. I can access them on my computer as well as on my iOS devices, whether I’m online or not. iTunes Match lets me do the same, only with the songs I already own. And since they’re stored in the cloud, I now have more space available on my devices.

I’ve also been reading about Google Music lately, which is similar to iTunes match except for the fact that it’s free. Have you tried any of these services?

A Little DIY Recording Session

DIY Recording

I’m a little sleepy this morning after a late night of recording…but I’m not complaining, because it’s one of my favorite things to do! So much so that I’m giving a presentation at AMTA National Conference in Atlanta next month called The DIY Approach to Recording.

One of the questions I receive most often through this blog is along the lines of, “What equipment do you use to record your songs?” I have two different methods for recording; the pictures above are from a live session with another musician. I use my Fender Passport sound system to record everything at once as a WAV file, which is saved to a USB flash drive.

I have another process and separate equipment for tracking, which is the method I use most often to record my Listen & Learn songs. I wrote a detailed post about that previously, which you can read here.

Music therapists, if you are interested in learning more about my recording methods, I’d love for you to attend my presentation at conference! It’s early (Sunday, November 20 at 8:00 am) but I promise I’ll make it worth your while.

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