How do you use the iPad in music class?

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    There are a lot of iPad applications that can be used in music class. The old forums had some good suggestions, and I’ll highlight a few of them here.

    The article, “Technology on the Horizon,” which appeared in the February 2011 issue of Teaching Music, mentioned some music educators’ favorite iPad apps. If you no longer have your print copy, e-mail me (lindab, and I can send you a copy of the article.

    Dr. Lynn Basinger gave a presentation at TMEA on “The iPad in the Music Classroom” and talked about a variety of apps. She has the apps she mentioned in the presentation and more on her blog at

    You can view these topics on the old forums at and

    Let’s keep the conversation going.

    Linda Brown
    NAfME Staff


    The April 2012 General Music Mentor, Katie Carlisle, weighed in with some suggestions:

    Georgia State University created a 5th grade music technology 9 week unit with south-eastern US charter school that utilizes ipads purchased from a grant. A music technology teaching artist works in partnership with the school band teacher, who will eventually take over the classes.

    We divided the unit into three sections: the first 3 weeks students become familiar with the apps, performing alone, with a partner, with a small group and with the class. The second three weeks, students are generating ostinati and riffs leading to longer song forms. They are used poetry they composed in their language arts class as the impetus for their compositions. The last three weeks focused on combining recorded sections and improvising in real time.

    We have a soundboard into which we can plug in the apps. Otherwise, it is difficult to hear everyone.

    Free apps we’ve used include:
    African Drums
    Quick Flash Notes (Music Theory)
    Discover Musical Insturuments
    Musicians Little Helper HD – Lite

    Apps we purchased include:
    GarageBand: $4.99
    ProKeys: $0.99
    Thumbjam $6.99
    Funkbox: $3.99
    Air Scratch $4.99
    Latin Percussion $1.99
    Piano Tutor for iPad $2.99

    Garage Band truly changes when one can manipulate it with swiping.
    It is an entirely different experience.



    The September 2011 jazz mentor, “Dblbassco,” wrote

    Forgive me for butting in, but I thought I’d answer! I’ve used my iPad/android a couple of different ways to stream music. The first way would be to download the app Remote – it essentially turns your iPad/iPhone/iPod into a remote that can search and play music. You’ll need to have your comp plugged into a speaker if you want more volume. Another way would be to run everything through Apple TV. This is what I currently use so I can stream music, YouTube, Netflix, etc straight from my iPad or I can access media (tunes, videos, pics, etc) from my laptop through the aforementioned Remote. If you don’t have an “i” product you can download the Grooveshark or Spotify remote to control your laptop, but once again, you’ll have to plug your comp into a speaker. This is the method I’ve used the least.

    I have mine connected to a projector and speaker, so my kids can see and hear an example at the drop of a hat. It’s been great for me as I can roam around my ensembles with the iPad in hand, but I also have a stand for it. This enables me to have my charts on one stand and easy access to my iPad.

    Good luck.


    My principal bought me 8 iPads to use in my classroom next year as a way to inspire other classroom teachers to use them also. What kinds of lessons can I turn into group activities (since we’ll be sharing 3 or 4 kids to one iPad)? I want to go beyond games that enforce material. I know for the older elementary grades I want to use garage band to record ostinati and maybe even a rap or something. We spent some time in the computer lab with pre-recorded loops this year and I want to expand that to make them record their own next year.

    Any experienced iPad users???

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