RS transparentthe official blog of the Percussive Arts Society

  • App Scene: Part 7 by Micheal Barnes and Peter Soroka

    by Rhythm Scene Staff | Apr 01, 2018

    Today, most students have access to a smartphone or tablet. However, these devices may not be fully utilized while in the practice room or during lessons. Apps for smartphones are generally inexpensive and can be extremely valuable to college-age musicians. The University Committee has compiled a short list of curated apps to enhance musical growth in the practice room for the college musician. This list is not all-inclusive but focuses on some of our favorites. Most of these apps can be found on both iOS and Android platforms, and any deviations are noted. Hopefully this series of articles will allow you to get the most out of your smart device in the practice room!

    APPS FOR MISCELLANEOUS USES
    In our seventh and final App Scene column, we’re highlighting a few handy apps that may not fit neatly into a category, but still are worth a look and a download for most percussion students!

    Rhythm!Scene 
    by PAS (Percussive Arts Society)
    iOS and Android
    FREEIf you have been accessing Rhythm!Scene from the PAS website, be aware that there is also a Rhythm!Scene app that will help you stay up to date with news from PAS, the percussion industry, and new articles from PAS.

    Oxford Dictionary of Music 
    by MobiSystems, Inc.
    iOS and Android
    $9.99
    Have you ever come across a musical term that was unfamiliar? Instead of translating the phrase in Google Translate and getting an answer that does not make much sense in the context, look it up in the Oxford Dictionary of Music app. This app contains 12,500 entries for music terminology, composers, compositions, and more. The “A Word of the Day” feature helps to continue expanding your musical knowledge. This is a must-have for students.

    Steve Reich’s Clapping Music – Improve Your Rhythm 
    by Amphio Limited
    iOS
    FREE
    Taking frequent breaks during practice sessions is important to refresh your mind. Playing the Steve Reich Clapping Music app can be a fun way to relax for a few minutes in between reps.

    Peter SorokaPeter Soroka is a diverse percussionist pursuing a Doctor of Music degree in Percussion Performance at Florida State University. He holds performance degrees from the University of North Texas and Virginia Commonwealth University, and has performed with the Tallahassee Symphony Orchestra and Sinfonia Gulf Coast in Destin, Florida.





    Michael BarnesMicheal Barnes
    is a master’s student at the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music and has performed with the National Youth Orchestra of the United States of America, the Ft. Smith Symphony, and the Symphony of Northwest Arkansas. He was recently awarded a teaching fellowship to work with the National Youth Orchestra and Choir of Belize, as well as being awarded the Mary Grey Thompson Award for outstanding contributions to the University of Oklahoma College of Fine Arts. 

  • App Scene: Part 6 by Micheal Barnes and Peter Soroka

    by Rhythm Scene Staff | Feb 01, 2018

    Today, most students have access to a smartphone or tablet. However, these devices may not be fully utilized in the practice room or during lessons. Apps for smartphones are generally inexpensive and can be extremely valuable to college-age musicians. The PAS University Committee has compiled a short list of curated apps to enhance musical growth in the practice room for the college musician. This list is not all-inclusive but focuses on some of our favorites. Most of these apps can be found on both iOS and Android platforms, and any deviations are noted. Hopefully this series of articles will allow you to get the most out of your smart device in the practice room!

    APPS FOR HEARING HEALTH
    Hearing safety and hearing loss prevention should be a top priority for every musician. Knowing when to wear hearing protection can be difficult for musicians because the instrument volumes experienced on stage or in the practice room are normally at or above the safety threshold. The apps below allow you to easily monitor the sound levels around you or provide hearing tests that allow you to monitor your hearing health.

    Sound Level Meter Pro 
    by Mint Muse 
    iOS 
    $19.99
    With this app, you have one of the most detailed decibel meters available on any app store. Sound Level Meter Pro offers a high peak range of 110dB, five frequency weightings, and is specifically calibrated for 36 Apple devices. Meter performance is comparable to some of the most expensive analog meters on the market. It also includes detailed graphs, readings over time, and the ability to capture photos of your sound sources.

    Sound Meter Pro 
    by Mobile Essentials
    Android 
    FREE
    This is a simple decibel meter that shows you the current decibel level of your surroundings. Also, the app can provide a graph of the noise levels over time. In addition, the app can provide comparisons of your results to similar sound sources (e.g., the sound of an alarm clock at 80 dB). However, this app doesn’t provide as much detailed information or the accuracy of the higher-end apps.

    SPLnFFT Noise Meter 
    by Fabian Lefebvre
    iOS 
    $3.99
    With this app, making a judgement call about whether or not to wear earplugs is easy. A color-coded bar in the app turns green when the sound level is safe, yellow when it is becoming destructive, and red when hearing protection is needed. The app also keeps track of the maximum and minimum sound levels per session, and you can read the results in a scale setting, bar graph, or histogram.

    uHear 
    by Unitron Hearing Ltd. 
    iOS
    FREE
    This app allows you to take various hearing tests to see if you have hearing loss. These tests can measure your hearing in certain frequencies, measure your ability to comprehend conversations in noisy environments, and provide suggestions for doctor consultation based on your answers to a brief set of questions. The tests appear to be quite accurate, but results depend on your available headphones and the quietness of your testing environment. 

    Test Your Hearing 
    by EpsilonZero
    Android
    FREE
    This app provides two hearing tests to determine if you have hearing loss. One test presents 25 tones in a frequency range and asks if you can hear them. The other test presents 25 tone pairs and ask if you can hear a difference between them. Then the app displays your results and shows an animal with your same hearing abilities.

    Many musicians worry about losing the subtleties of their ears when wearing ear protection, but with a pair of musician earplugs, the sound quality is not compromised. By visiting with an audiologist, you can have your hearing tested and be fitted for custom molded earplugs for musicians that come with a variety of filter levels to reduce a range of decibel levels.

    Peter SorokaPeter Soroka is a diverse percussionist pursuing a Doctor of Music degree in Percussion Performance at Florida State University. He holds performance degrees from the University of North Texas and Virginia Commonwealth University, and has performed with the Tallahassee Symphony Orchestra and Sinfonia Gulf Coast in Destin, Florida.





    Michael BarnesMicheal Barnes
     is a master’s student at the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music and has performed with the National Youth Orchestra of the United States of America, the Ft. Smith Symphony, and the Symphony of Northwest Arkansas. He was recently awarded a teaching fellowship to work with the National Youth Orchestra and Choir of Belize, as well as being awarded the Mary Grey Thompson Award for outstanding contributions to the University of Oklahoma College of Fine Arts. 

  • App Scene: Part 5 by Micheal Barnes and Peter Soroka

    by Rhythm Scene Staff | Dec 01, 2017

    Today, most students have access to a smartphone or tablet. However, these devices may not be fully utilized while in the practice room or during lessons. Apps for smartphones are generally inexpensive and can be extremely valuable to college-age musicians. The PAS University Committee has compiled a short list of curated apps to enhance musical growth in the practice room for the college musician. This list is not all-inclusive but focuses on some of our favorites. Most of these apps can be found on both iOS and Android platforms, and any deviations are noted. Hopefully this series of articles will allow you to get the most out of your smart device in the practice room!

    APPS FOR RECORDING AND PLAY-ALONG
    Recording your practice and listening back can provide invaluable feedback, and it can also help guide future practice sessions to correct problem spots and polish pieces. Fortunately, smartphones and tablets have the ability to create audio and video recordings for just this purpose.

    Camera
    iOS and Android
    Free
    A camera on your phone can be used to record video of yourself practicing. Watching these videos can reveal how you actually look and sound instead of imagining what you think you might look and sound like. 

    Coach’s Eye 
    TechSmith Corporation
    iOS and Android
    $4.99
    This unique app allows you to manipulate the playback of videos for analysis. With this app, you can pinpoint specific body movements for work on improving accuracy, fluidity, and overall musicality. Additionally, the ability to draw directly on the video to outline movement can be extremely useful to teachers who want to show their students a specific observation.

    Voice Memo
    iOS and Android
    Free
    Using a standard voice memo app is a quick way to record improvisations and ideas, or to record various performance and practice sessions. The quality of this recording technology is improving with each new phone model, but it does not replace an investment into professional-level audio recording equipment. 

    HandyRecorder
    ZOOM Corporation
    iOS
    FREE
    Paired with the attachable iQ5 microphone, this powerful app changes your Apple device into a high-quality recording device. You can produce recordings at a higher level than with your phone microphone, but without spending a fortune on recording equipment. This app has basic editing capabilities such as EQ, cutting and trimming, and sharing. 

    Amazing Slow Downer
    Roni Music
    iOS and Android
    $14.99
    This app makes playing along with any sound file a breeze. Simply input the file from your music library into the app, and you now have the ability to change the tempo, pitch, and start/stop areas of the track. You can use this to create practice loops, practice transposing melodies into new keys, practice with an mp3 of a piano accompaniment, or practice a concerto at a slow speed with an orchestral recording. This app is also useful when the slow track for a play-along groove is too slow and the fast tempo is too fast. You can adjust the tempo to fit your practice needs, then work up to the appropriate tempo. (Slow) practice makes perfect!

    Erskine Jazz Essentials
    Fuzzy Music Mobile, LLC
    iOS
    $11.99
    This app from Peter Erskine is like having a jazz combo in your pocket! With the ability to mix the levels of the bass, piano, and drums, you can create the combo you want and practice as the drumset player or play a pitched instrument like vibes or piano. The app also includes chord changes for a variety of jazz standards. It is a must-have for jazz students!

    iReal Pro
    Technimo LLC
    iOS and Android
    $12.99
    This app is also like having a jazz combo in your pocket! With the ability to change styles, instruments, and key signatures, you can truly customize your practicing experience. You also have access to chord changes and numerous ways to practice within the app. If you are looking for a robust practicing tool, this is the one.

    Peter SorokaPeter Soroka is a diverse percussionist pursuing a Doctor of Music degree in Percussion Performance at Florida State University. He holds performance degrees from the University of North Texas and Virginia Commonwealth University, and has performed with the Tallahassee Symphony Orchestra and Sinfonia Gulf Coast in Destin, Florida.





    Michael BarnesMicheal Barnes
    is a master’s student at the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music and has performed with the National Youth Orchestra of the United States of America, the Ft. Smith Symphony, and the Symphony of Northwest Arkansas. He was recently awarded a teaching fellowship to work with the National Youth Orchestra and Choir of Belize, as well as being awarded the Mary Grey Thompson Award for outstanding contributions to the University of Oklahoma College of Fine Arts.

Contact Us

Percussive Arts Society
110 W. Washington Street Suite A 
Indianapolis, IN 46204
T: (317) 974-4488
F: (317) 974-4499
E: percarts@pas.org