App Review: Band Pad

This last weekend, I got to be a part of #edcampWT hosted at my former school. We had educators from all over Texas join us to learn from each other about how we are using technology in the classroom. I love the challenge of taking all the ideas I learn and applying them to the band classroom. I recently got an iPad to continue my exploration into iOS apps, so now I'll be able to research and share technology ideas across all devices and operating systems! Without further adieu, Band Pad!

I came across BandPad simply by searching for band related apps in the App Store. It is important to know that while I found this for iPad, it can be used on any device or browser, so you aren't tied down to any particular device. There is a free portion to the service, but you can also upgrade and get more features. 

When you first open the program, you'll see a list of free songs that you can play along with. Most are simple melodies that would already be in your beginner book, but there are also MANY foreign melodies, perfect for your cross-curricular learning standards!

Once a song is selected, you will see the melody on the screen, and you have the option to change not only the instrument, but the key as well. As you play along with the track, each note is highlighted and the fingerings are shown on a chart as the song progresses. You have the option to slow down the melody to practice, play it as normal, or to play without a helper track.There is a built-in tuner in the interface as well as the option to add in note names below the notes. 

If you sign up with a teacher account, you can assign certain songs, print them out, and even display them through projectors or whiteboards to use in class. Students can earn trophies and compete against themselves and their other classmates.

Verdict: This app is very cool, especially for beginners. It reminds me of Smart Music, but the fact that it's lightweight and free gives it a little advantage. If I were still working with beginners next year, I would definitely look into using it for extra credit or motivation to practice certain lines. It does have its limits, but given that the base account is free, it's worth checking out!