School starts in just a few weeks. For some school districts, kids are already packed into lunchrooms and sweaty locker rooms, trying their hardest to not learn a thing. With the new school year comes new sports. Some of our athletes are the musical kind. If you, or someone you know, is in a marching band, we have a couple of top-quality apps to help you get through the season.
A.P.S. MusicMaster Pro ($9.99) Everything you need for marching band can be found in one convenient location with this app. It includes a PDF viewer with annotation, a chromatic tuner with a pitch pipe option, an audio record and playback feature, a metronome, timer, fingering charts, and basic music education with things like playable Circle of Fifths and musical terminology. With the PDF Viewer, you can import your own PDFs through email, Dropbox, or through iTunes file sharing. The included notepad lets you make notes for practicing without having to leave the app. You can also add rehearsals and game schedules with the included calendar.
Subdivide Metronome ($4.99) Marching bands tend to be more rhythm heavy than their stationary counterparts in education. One thing that is essential is a metronome that has a subdivision feature. This five-dollar app is easily a replacement for your $100 metronome and you can take it with you everywhere your iPad goes. It features tempo and subdivision indicators, different click sounds, touch tempo changes, mixed meter support and more. The app also supports AirPlay if you want to really boost the rhythm pacer on the field. All you have to do is drag the slider to find the subdivision you want. You can also save your presets for quick reference on the fly.
iMarch. (Free) For those interested in the culture of marching band. Which, anyone in a marching band practically has to be, this app is the definitive guide to high school and Drum Corps International bands. View stats, see uniforms, browse images and more for more than 90 high school bands and 30 DCI bands. You can find out who the band’s director is, what awards the band has received, what division and BOA class it is in, and more. This app is based on an open source program that lets anyone upload their marching band’s information and photos. If you don’t see your high school listed, add it yourself at stuartsoft.net46.net.
Coach’s Eye ($4.99) This video app may have been intended to help sports teams, but it is just as useful for helping marching bands perfect their drills. With this app you can record a performance and analyze it right on the field. Using a slow-motion playback review, coaches can zero-in on a mistake and show the musicians how to avoid it in the future. The app also features on-screen annotation so you can circle problem areas, draw lines and arrows, or what ever markings you think are necessary to help the group. Videos can also be shared through email, text messages, Dropbox, and more.
CoachNote ($2.99) This coach’s playbook app is ideal for planning drills for your marching band. The app comes with a high school football field layout and a college football field layout. There are also blank fields so you can create your own schematic for drills. Are you headed to the Pasadena Rose Parade this year? Draw out your marching pattern for the entire path. You can add markers to the board and move them around on the field. Reduce the size of the markers to fit more musicians. You can create a stop-motion graphic of marching drills, or record a drill, including adding voice, to show the group what to do next. Check out our hands-on review here.