Eleven Great iPhone and iPad Apps for Marching Band
Apple said it sold 35.1 million iPhones in the second quarter of 2012, an 88 percent increase from the period a year before! It sold 11.8 million iPads, more than double the number it sold in the same quarter in 2011! Almost every band director I know is on the Apple bandwagon, with most of them sporting an iPhone and an iPad all the time and many having iMacs or MacBook Pros (or both) at home. My house is like a museum for every generation of iPod, iPhone, & Apple computer since 1998. I even have a good friend (who is one of the most noted names in the pageantry world) who left his iPhone in a cab in NYC and tracked it down using “Find my iPhone” on his iPad! That is a great story! So- here is my list of the very best marching band & drum corps Apps on the market right now.
(Free) Ok. So… it is not an App. However, Dynamic Marching has a great mobile website- specifically designed to work on your iDevice! Check out the articles and videos while you are on the go and you can get the latest on how to be innovative in your teaching! In addition to samples of our critically-acclaimed DVD series, you can access articles on visual, marching, music, color guard, percussion, ensemble, GE, and innovative ideas for your band!
2. Good Reader
Good Reader allows you to import and view documents from Web-based file-sharing/backup sites such as Dropbox, box.net, iDisk, and others. You can also import and view e-mail attachments via the Mail app’s document-sharing feature, and import and view documents from Google Docs. You can set GoodReader up to import files from local servers via Wi-Fi. And GoodReader for iPad also enables you to transfer files from your Mac via USB.
You can view all kinds of file types in this app. Many teachers use this app to store their music scores and drill in neatly organized folders. You can look at the opener score, then tab over to the opener drill file, then access the mp3. To top it all off, you can also import movie files so you can watch video of a performance or of a certain choreography moment… all in one app!
($1.99 by FrozenApe) There are many metronome apps out there, but this is the one that is most popular. Time signatures, rhythmic patterns, tempos, visual cues, lots of sound options and voice counting. This has it all! From the developer: “Since its release, Tempo has been consistently in the top 100 of the Music category on iTunes in over 30 countries. With over 250,000 copies sold, Tempo is simply the best-selling metronome app. It is used daily by performing artists for their gigs, by teachers in their lessons, by musicians in their practices; even by golfers to time their swings. Surely so many musicians can’t be wrong. Tempo gives you the features you really need without sacrificing usability. It keeps going even when the screen is locked, making it a useful aid for live drumming.”
($3.99 from By Sonosaurus LLC) This app is unbelievable. From the developer, “TonalEnergy Tuner is an all-inclusive, easy to use application designed for individual practice and/or large ensemble rehearsals that helps musicians to improve sound quality and intonation. It is much more than just a tuner. Included are 18 brass and woodwind instrument samples collected from professional symphonic musicians exclusively for this app. Many functions of the tuner are designed to visually reward the musician for improving their tone and intonation at different skill levels.”
(Free by Dropbox) If you are not already using Dropbox it is time to make the jump… NOW. I use it on my computers to keep all my files up-to-date over my school, home, and laptop computers. Your drill writer and music arranger can set up folders so that you can share counts sheets, scores, mp3s, drill files, coordinate sheets, etc. with all the members of your staff. In addition, many of the judging “tapes” are now digital files and even Drum Corps International is using Dropbox to share those judge commentaries to the directors and staff members after each show. This seamlessly integrates with GoodReader as well.
6. Mid Set
($0.99 by Tim Gao) This is a band geek’s paradise! An individual can easy and accurately determine what his or her mid-set is for a drill set so that as the season progresses he or she can fine-tune pathways and step-sizes. This is the app that I did not know I needed, but I will encourage all of my students to pick this up! From the developer: ”Mid Set is an App designed to help marching musicians compute their mid/quarter/third-sets. Mid Set also calculates the counts in which the user crosses yard-lines and hashes. The goal of the application is to improve visual accuracy and eliminate inconsistencies due to human error.”
7. Coach’s Eye
($4.99 by TechSmith Corporation) This app is designed for sports coaches but Chris Kreke, Dynamic Marching’s Technology Coordinator, brought this to my attention this year. This allows you to take video of your students, like your iPhone can already do very well. However, the kicker is that you can slow down that video, make annotations about style and accuracy, then either show that video to the student or… email it to them! You can bet that your students will love (or hate) this app!
($5.99 by Audiophile Engineering) ”FiRe 2 will suit the needs of a number of users, helping musicians from beginning to advanced levels reach their goals. Beginning users can utilize FiRe 2′s fabulous sound quality in order to quickly capture ideas, record rehearsals, or archive their live performances. Intermediate users can take this a step further, capturing sounds from their environment for use in samplers, collaborating across long distances through the extensive sharing options, or throwing speedy musical samples up to their website. Advanced iOS users will absolutely love the fully featured editing capabilities of FiRe 2 – with some recording know-how, a producer could record high-quality audio, quickly clean it up with edits, and then export it into a DAW for professional use. The interface on FiRe 2 is very user friendly, allowing almost anybody to record with the app; your experience level really comes into play through the way that you ultimately use the recordings that you create.” (Review from here)
(Free by MakeMusic Inc.) This is a brand new app (June, 2012). In addition to viewing .PDF music files, SongBook is the only iPad app that directly supports files created by MakeMusic’s industry standard Finale family of music notation software. With these files Finale SongBook takes the iPad music experience to the next level by adding a “Play” button, allowing users to hear as well as see the music. Viewing music on an iPad empowers musicians to bring thousands of pieces of music to any practice, rehearsal, or performance. SongBook’s elegant, uncluttered interface is optimized for performance, leveraging all available real estate for music.
(Free by the Weather Channel and Aviation Data Systems Inc.) The Weather Channel provides the most accurate and relevant weather information for you to determine whether or not a rehearsal will be inside or outside. With 200+ meteorologists and local, “TruPoint “, forecasting technology, this app provides you with the weather tools you need to plan your day, week, or even the next hour. MyRadar is the fastest, easiest-to-use, weather application that displays animated weather radar around your current location, allowing you to quickly see what weather is coming your way. Just start the app, and your location pops up with animated weather, allowing you to easily see if rain or snow is headed your way to ruin your rehearsal.
($2.99 by Scott Rundell) Despite the simple artwork and questionable visual aesthetics… this seems like a helpful app. Do you want your students to have their iPhones out for a drill rehearsal? Not sure… but this is worth a look. From the developer, “Drillbook is the essential app for the college or high school marching band student. For less than the cost of a pencil and a notebook, you can have a simple, easy to use app that replaces handwritten set and drill books. No more frantically flipping page by page. No more keeping track of your pencil. No more faded or lost pages. DrillBook keeps you prepared and efficient in rehearsal, making you a better marcher.”
+1 Bonus App! Scott Lang’s Leadership app
(Free by Scott Lang) For over a decade, Scott Lang has been educating and entertaining student and adult audiences of all ages through his workshops and keynote presentations. As a nationally known leadership trainer for the past seven years, Scott works with some of America’s top ensembles and conducts over 100 workshops annually. He is a G.I.A. sponsored clinician and is the author of Leader of the Band, Leadership Success, Leadership Travel Guide, and Leadership Survival Guide. This app helps you keep up with Scott’s Twitter, Facebook, and Blog posts!