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Posts tagged ‘GarageBand’

Music Making – Spring 2017

Here’s a glimpse at what software/apps I use frequently to explore and create music (notation-type apps).

There are many companies offering incredible music-making apps for mobile devices that make music creation easier and inexpensive (most free).  I have been a user of Finale for Mac for over 25 years.  With the advent of tablet technology over the past 8 years, my allegiance has changed supporting companies that are re-inventing music creation, and in a mobile manner.

Finale is my absolute preference for large score, orchestral works, however, they have produced nothing for composing ‘on the go’ via a mobile device.  Their $600 US hefty entry fee for their flagship software stops me from recommending it to few.  It will become a relic of the past.  They have student prices and other entry level software packages with less features, however mobile apps offer an impressive alternative, especially with the aid of a stylus, sampling and creating sounds, and work almost anywhere capabilities.

Notion offers the most beautiful, sampled instrument sounds (London Symphony Orchestra) on all their versions, desktop and mobile devices.  Working ‘on the go’ is extremely important to capture ideas while sitting on the bus or subway, then continuing at home or work via cloud technology.  Notion allows this from finger-gestures, Apple Pencil, music keyboard, and mouse input.  Thumbs up, Notion (PreSonus)!

[Personal note: each orchestral instrument has various techniques as sampled sounds included, for example, French Horn includes hand-stopped or muted notes and glissandi.  This is one of the many reasons I use Notion for its ease of use to add these effects or articulations.  Check out my brass piece, ‘I Saw Three Ships’ on SoundCloud that demonstrates this.]

On the bus or subway – iPhone or iPad


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Notion for iPhone/iPad

Symphony Pro 4

Symphony Pro 4 $9.99 US

SP5 Public Preview Signup Firefox, Today at 10.50.38 AM

Symphony Pro 5 Beta

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Symphony Pro

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GarageBand for iOS

GarageBand for iOS is an absolute favourite, now updated with more performance capabilities.  I will celebrate the day when they add notation capabilities.

Personal note: This app awaits its entry into schools to help visualize music for so many disinterested students having to endure a skill or knowledge-based curriculum, rather than a holistic, creation-based one.  Share your thoughts on this, please.


Staves'n'Tabs Shaw.PNG

Stave’n’Tabs for iOS

In this example, Stave’n’Tabs handles triplets fairly well compared with other music notation apps.  I’ll keep my eye on this app over the next year.

Teaching or at home: iPhone, iPad, Apple TV, MacBook, iMac


SCORECLOUD | Free Music Notation Software - Music Composition & Writing Online Firefox, Today at 11.29.29 AM.png

ScoreCloud Studio Mac or PC -Free with upgrades

ScoreCloud is known for its ease of input by a variety of means, especially great for school use with students inputting their music by keyboard, voice, or recorder!

Music Notation Software. Create Sheet Music with Finale Music Firefox, Today at 11.34.16 AM.png

Finale for Mac                                      $600 US


Notion 6 for Mac     $154 US

Music Notation Software. Create Sheet Music with Finale Music Firefox, Today at 11.34.16 AM.pngSave



GarageBand-ify My Music Program

GarageBand-ify My Music Program - MShawGarageBand iOS/Mac = Music Creation

GarageBand for iPad/iPhone (iOS) and the Mac version (OS) can provide a virtual environment for students to consolidate their understanding about many aspects of music curriculum.  In the infographic above, I’ve tried to show areas of music study that would be beneficial for students to know.  These are the building blocks of a solid music foundation to be able to use in many facets of music lessons giving students independence to create and share.

Through building a typical GarageBand piece of music, the following areas could be introduced and developed:

  • music elements of pitch, duration, beat, metre, tempo, rhythm, timbre, dynamics, articulation, texture, form
  • panning, reverb, echo, and volume of each instrument track (mixing)
  • looping concepts and creation
  • chord progression, broken and arpeggiated chords, ostinato
  • chord theory, inversions, cadences, roman numerals,
  • musical form and structure (e.g., ABA Ternary, ABACAB1A Rondo, verse and chorus, etc.)
  • chord-based melody writing, auxiliary and passing notes, sequence, repetition, imitation, inversion
  • orchestration
  • archiving, iCloud syncing with GarageBand for Mac version for further development, saving and sharing
  • sound mining to build a unique sound library

Many of these activities can be ‘open-ended’ to let your students explore what aspects of music theory they find useful.  GarageBand provides the stage for music inquiry with the teacher providing the background scaffolding that is required.

This infographic is available (in A3 size) from my Teacher pay Teacher site where I sell many resources at extremely reasonable prices to support my income after leaving the full-time classroom.  Your support is appreciated.  I am available for teacher and student workshops on any aspects of music creation.  Please contact me to discuss any ideas you may have.


Music Creation Apps Oct. 2015

Recommended music apps October 2015

Music Education & Tech Workshops – Singapore

I will be presenting two full – day educator workshops with the 21st Century Learning International at the United World College South East Asia – Singapore, 5 & 6 March, 2015.  Please pass this on to interested colleagues, with my thanks.  Don’t hesitate to email me for details.

Workshop 1: GarageBand Cranked Up!

Music Education Workshops 1 - Singapore 2015

Workshop 2: Mobile Technology and the Music Programme

Music Education Workshops 2 - Singapore 2015

Noisy Ghost Walk

noisy ghost walkNoisy Ghost Walk is app game music describing a playful sprite’s attempt to walk on a narrow ledge to avoid being detected by the minor phantoms that guard this chamber.  The blaring trumpet at the end signals something… you decide.

It was written completely on GarageBand for Mac using extra Logic Pro X sounds to demonstrate the basic features of GarageBand for upcoming educator workshops.  Please contact me if you have any comments or questions.

Apps for the Mobile Artist

How often do you use your mobile device for note-taking or photo-taking?  There is a plethora of free or moderately priced apps that are excellent for making “notes”  in the form of written text, musical notation and sound, and graphical form with colours, brushes, and integration with photos.

The important issue is for this practice to be done in a mobile context, quickly, and easily curated (saved or shared) for later use.  Imagine the artist or composer taking a sketch book or lined music paper to record their moments of inspiration.

Here is a graphic I created that shows a variety of the best apps for this purpose.  This graphic may look quite different next year with the constant evolution of device and app capabilities.  Find whatever works well for you, and set it up to integrate into your ‘syncing’ system (computer and/or tablet).  The goal is to have these ideas for further development in your private work space.

Apps for the Mobile Artist FINALExample:  I sing a melody into SoundCloud Express, which converts it into musical notation, and uploads it to the company’s cloud storage.  It syncs with my device, and can be open on its companion app, ScoreCloud on my MacBook Pro for modification, printing, and sharing/export as MIDI or MusicXML to work with other music apps.

Let’s get mobile and curate your artistic, creative moments anywhere you find inspiration.  Please let me know your favourite place for inspiring ideas.

Logic Remote

Logic Remote Logic Remote

Control Logic Pro and GarageBand from your iPad through WiFi


Logic Remote is an iPad companion app for Logic Pro X and GarageBand on the Mac. Designed to take full advantage of Multi-Touch on iPad, Logic Remote offers new ways to record, mix and even perform instruments from anywhere in the room, turning your iPad into a keyboard, drum pad, guitar fretboard, mixing board or transport control.


Play Instruments
• Play any Logic or GarageBand instrument using a familiar piano keyboard or guitar fretboard
• Tap out beats on drum pads or a drum kit
• Use the scale mode to limit notes to fit the key of your song
• Tap and strum entire chords using Chord Strip view
• Make simple or dramatic changes to your sounds with Smart Controls
• Add the Arpeggiator plug-in to any instrument


Navigate your Projects
• Operate basic transport controls like start, stop, record and cycle
• Swipe the LCD or bar ruler to navigate to any location
• Select and jump to Markers in Logic Pro X
• Control recordings on your Mac from another room
• Browse the Sound Library and remotely change Patches
• Enable Smart Help and hover over interface elements on your Mac to display documentation on your iPad
• Remotely trigger key commands with customisable buttons


Mix Your Logic Sessions
• Use Multi-Touch gestures to adjust Mixer volume, pan, solo and mute controls
• Swipe to scroll or jump in banks to navigate through Mixer faders
• Use the level meter strip to monitor levels and identify clipping
• Control automation settings for each fader

LR 4

System Requirements
Compatible with iPad 2 or later and iPad mini. Requires iOS 6 or later and Logic Pro X or GarageBand v10.0

LR 3

This App gives you keyboards and guitars to play and record externally from the main program.  You can choose a larger keyed keyboard for greater flexibility and control.  This is a sleek, free addition to your studio; highly recommended!

For more info about Logic Pro X, visit the official Logic Pro X website.

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