Earlier this month, we did a write up on “Apps That Make Band Life Easier“. The response to that article was overwhelming! Thanks for the support and we are delighted that the information posted was useful. Some of you requested we write about some of your favorite apps. Thanks for the suggestions and we will be including some of your useful apps in this article and in future write-ups. Check it out!
Charms ($365 per year/ $995 per 3 years) is the premiere online application for Band Programs. If you are a band director and you have not given this app a chance, I implore you to do so. I’ve been using it since 2015 to do everything from running and organizing fundraisers, student accounts, uniform inventory, instrument inventory, music library catalog, literally EVERYTHING. Here’s the rundown: It does communications like no other office management system, by giving users the ability to send mass emails which can be “filtered” by grade, ensemble, trip, etc. It allows for text messaging and keeps record of all sent emails/texts. This app can handle all your organization’s finances. It tracks student finances including “fees,” fundraising, rentals, spirit pak sales, trip funds, etc. And Parents can login to their student’s “account” and check balances, make payments, etc. It’s the best in Inventory Management by maintaining inventory of all instruments, uniforms, repair costs, etc. It even has a gradebook where you can post grades so parents and students stay abreast of academic progress in your classes. It does all this and a whole lot more. PLUS… it comes with a free smartphone app for parents and students. Charms is not free though, you have the option of signing up for a year or 3 year subscription.
Ututti ($144 per year) is another office management solution. It advertises itself as the best way to manage an arts organization of any size. From school music programs to private studios, Ututti promises to help your program run more smoothly, and will introduce you to a level of organization you never thought possible. I haven’t used this one but it claims to do some of the things that Charms does at a cheaper rate. These are the services they provide; The app will keep full records of student and parent info and access it from anywhere. Directors will be able to view a student’s contact info, assigned inventory, attendance, and financial account all in one place. You can also edit and search your student database with a fast and easy to use interface. A nice feature is the ability to organize your students by group to quickly add assignments, fees, and more. The ability to import students from spreadsheets limit the necessity of typing in everyone’s name individually.Like charms, each student can login to their own personal account to view their financial statement, attendance, grades, checked out inventory, and more. Fee payments can be made through the app by way of PayPal.
Finale Print Music 2014 ($99) is for those guys (like me) who basically need to hammer out an arrangement or two for a marching or jazz band chart really quick and easy. If you’re not trying to produce the soundtrack for a movie or write the final movement to the Requiem for the New York Philharmonic, then it’s really all you need. It lets you create printable scores, print out parts, and play back your work, all in an easy-to-use format. You can enter notes into the app via a MIDI keyboard controller or with your computer and mouse. Just like in the full finale. You can even scan in scores. You’ll also be able to edit your scores faster thanks to many interface and notation improvements over the last version. Its also cool that you’ll be able to use third-party VST/AU instruments and effects. So it’s the obvious choice if you’re not into the “heavy” stuff that Finale or Sibelius does. If you simply want to compose, arrange, and edit scores with unbelievable ease, and an intuitive and user-friendly interface, PrintMusic 2014 might just be what the doctor ordered.
TonalEnergy ($1.99) is an app that several of you suggested to us! It has many tools within it to make it a solid choice for band. According to its website, the app works with individual practice and large ensemble rehearsals to help musicians improve sound quality and intonation. This app includes a tuner, tone generator, metronome and a waveform display. TonalEnergy was designed by a band director with rehearsal situations in mind. Tuning, volume, articulation, release, duration, and steadiness are all the focus when this app is in the mix. It’s website advertises it as “the first multi-purpose application that allows users of all ages to understand and improve every aspect of their sound.” “This intelligent music app is an all-in-one application that is great for musicians of all levels. One of the best features is the interactivity between every facet of the app. This is a must have educational tool to engage our technology savvy learners.” – Kathy Johnson Director of Bands, Argyle High School, Texas State Honor Band, Midwest Clinic, two time Texas State Marching Band Champion.