Celebrate the Arts in you!

Recently, I presented two full day workshops for music educators in Hong Kong on Mobile Technology and the Music Programme and GarageBand (iOS) Cranked Up! for the 21st Century Learning International.

In no specific order, here are my Top 5 Music Creation (and notation) Apps that were presented to the educators.

Top 5 Mobile AppsI’ve tested and composed a typical, smaller orchestral score on most of these apps looking at the following areas:

  • ease of use on a iPad or mobile phone
  • logical functions
  • quality of sounds (sampled pro sounds)
  • keyboard and/or guitar real time input of music
  • inter-app audio and Audiobus compatibility
  • share and export features to email, other apps, for computer use (MIDI, MusicXML)
  • overall ability to use ‘on the go’ as a mobile composer

GarageBand for iOS

Music Studio



Symphony Pro

Please email me if you’d like any further details, or if you have any questions.

21CLHK - 7th Annual 21st Century Learning Conference Firefox, Today at 12.39.41 pm

Are you attending?  This is the top ticket for a global education technology conference in Hong Kong, now in its 7th season.

This is where you’ll hear from many keynote speakers that bring you the latest research on technology and learning.  Also, you can network, meet, chat, and be inspired by others in your field with what they are doing.  You will inspire them, too!

I am looking forward especially to SAMR creator, Dr. Ruben Puentedura, and design thinking guru, John Nash.

I have the privilege of presenting GarageBand to the Max, a 75 minute hands-on presentation of this powerhouse app for Mac computers.

[GarageBand puts a complete music studio on your computer, so your students can make music to share with the world, regardless of their musical confidence. This workshop is an overview GarageBand’s main features, recording of unique sounds, looping, and mixing music. Each mini-topic is matched with curriculum smashing to effectively integrate multiple goals within your lessons. Importing audio and MIDI files will be touched upon for Remixing ideas, and sharing functions to a variety of locations.]

I hope to see you there!

Mobile Tech Workshops

I will be presenting two full-day workshops this coming Monday and Tuesday, November 10 & 11, in Hong Kong.  I am presenting for the 21st Century Learning Organization.  It will be two days of exploring the potential of mobile technology in the Music Programme having a close look at iPad and app technology.

GarageBand Cranked Up! Keynote at 1.27.51 pm

Mobile Technology and the Music Programme Slideshow at 1.28.25 pm

We will be scrutinizing many free apps for different aspects of music in education, as well as playing with 9 full apps donated by the various app companies.  There include:

  • Music Studio
  • Symphony Pro
  • Rhythm Sight Reading Trainer
  • Loopy HD
  • Piano Companion Pro
  • Hooktheory 1
  • Rockmate
  • NotateMe
  • Audiobus

Here are the specific details about the workshops.  You can follow our comments on Twitter throughout the 2 days at my Twitter site, @mshawhk

Tochinomi: Journey to Yomi

Tochinomi-Journey to Yomi Graphic

A playful, sparkling game app theme, opening with the hero, Tochinomi’s theme, followed by the dark and distorted ’Shadows’ theme, triumphantly ending with final statement of the hero’s theme.

The sounds are from Logic Pro X and EastWest/Quantum Leap Sounds.  I was looking to create a shiny and sparkle sounding game atmosphere with contrasting themes for the ‘good’ and ‘evil’ characters.  Logic Pro X has numerous dynamic sounds that they call, Arpeggiator which includes many elements/layers to each sound, some with rhythm and moving tones, some with rhythm patterns and sound effects.  These clever sound combinations help create atmosphere or an environment to sit your chords and melodies in.  The trick is learning which texture of sounds and their effective tonal range (tessitura) work well together… an art and talent in itself, similar to orchestral arranging.  Experience, listening, and studying musical scores are great teachers.

In search for the perfect iPad app that allows me to compose, arrange, notate, and collaborate ‘on the go’ has led me to this post.  I’ve had the enjoyment and honour of using full versions of Symphony Pro and Music Studio provided to me by the companies with my thanks.

Theme: simple orchestral 4 bar theme – repeated – with contrasting sounds, colours, and range (flute to double bass and bass clarinet, with light percussion).  See sample, and click to make larger.



Symphony Pro – outstanding notation app with input by virtual keyboard and guitar, and includes numerous important ways to move your work from the iPad to other devices (MusicXML, Color PDF, AAC, MIDI, Symphony, Email, iTunes, Send to, Photos, AirPrint and SoundCloud)

Music Studio 2 – phenomenal DAW (Digital Audio Workstation) type app with input by large, resizable keyboard, incredibly realistic sound collections, notably for me, orchestral, and excellent editing ability – graphic music notation, similar to GarageBand, Logic Pro X, and most DAW software.  This app does not support music notation and score preparation like Symphony Pro.  This is a well-rounded collection of tools closest to a full DAW package at an unbelievable low price.  Exporting features include MIDI, WAVE, AAC, ZIP, Email, AudioCopy, SoundCloud, Dropbox, Open with…, and the ability to connect to your browser (Server).

GarageBand for iOS 8 – ease of use with a generous workspace, logical layouts, and predictable finger gestures, GarageBand for iOS continues to be in the top 3 apps for iPad.  Its audio recording ability and sound sampler allows for endless uses and promotes the individuality of the user.  Smart Instruments are equally its strong feature, coupled with the numerous loops, and importing of sound files from iTunes.  For me, the addition of ready and realistic orchestral instruments, similar to Music Studio would make it even more versatile by composers that write in this genre.  GarageBand for iOS is not a music notation/score preparation app, and uses graphic DAW-type notation, easily modifiable and utilized.  Exporting includes MP3, AIFF, CAF, Apple Loops, and AAC, Email, Facebook, SoundCloud, YouTube, iTunes, Ringtone, Open in…, iCloud sync.

GarageBand iOS works with Audiobus (separate app) and its built in function, Inter-App Audio Apps to bring in the best of hundreds of other sound sources and functions.

See Audiobus site for a list of iOS8-compatible Audiobus Apps.

See here for one of my earlier posts comparing the various notation apps for iPad with a free chart highlighting the differences.

Apple Event Summary

Here’s a brief summation of what was mentioned at the Apple Event 

October 16, 2014.

All you need to know about Apple's new iPads, iMac - CNET at 11.51.59 am

Trees for Life

This short introduction of music was inspired by the app, Trees of Life HD for iPad by Kevin Bertman.  Currently, there is no music opening this app.  This is my musical reflection of trees, forests, and the interconnectedness of nature.  Currently, this creative and clever app is free from the Apple App Store on iTunes.

Trees of Life HD on the App Store on iTunes at 9.09.19 pm Trees of Life


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