10 Awesome iPhone 3G Apps (Band Director Style)

For an updated list of iPhone apps I actually use in band class after over †year of use, check out 20 Ways I Really Use My iPhone To Teach Band Class

I haven’t gotten a new cell phone in the last two years, so I am excited about this opportunity to upgrade. My decision to buy an iPhone was anything but spur-of-the-moment. In fact, I have been planning on getting one for just about 5 months. I was going to get it shortly after my band earned Sweepstakes at the UIL Concert & Sight Reading contest back in April. But I heard rumors of a new version of iPhone coming out then, so I waited.

I have been eagerly waiting for today since Steve Jobs announced iPhone 3G’s July 11th debut back in June. Since then, I have been able to plan lots of great classroom uses for my iPhone. I downloaded iTunes 7.7 last night and began to explore the App store. I found some real gems in there that will come in extremely helpful for my job as a band director.

There seem to be some worldwide problems with activating the things, but I’m learning patience and it should eventually be worth the excitement. So while I’m sitting here this morning looking at my brand new iPhone 3G, I thought I’d list some of the ways that I will use my iPhone in the classroom.

  1. Band App ($9.99)
    This thing looks cool. It has a keyboard, bass, drum machine, blues progression thingy and a built in metronome. Great entertainment value here.
  2. Guitar Toolkit App ($9.99)
    This one looks to be the coolest of the music apps so far. At least for a band director. It has a built in analog chromatic tuner, adjustable metronome, chord library (over 260 chords in this puppy), it produces tones to allow you to tune by ear. Plus, it has some alternate guitar tunings to make changing tuning easier. You want to play Drop D. No problem!
  3. Tap The Beat App (Free)
    The name says what it does. Great simple program. The TAMA Rhythm Watch has had this capabaility for years, and I even remember college marching band rehearsals when the drum major would be called out “Calm down Joe. I clocked you at 164 right there. We were supposed to be at 160!”
  4. WordPress App — Coming soon… (Free)
    If I need to add something to the band website, I can do it from the convenience of my iPhone. If I need to add something to this blog (never one the clock, of course), I can do the same thing. This is an exciting new app coming soon.
  5. Voice Record App ($0.99)
    I have mentioned before that I like to record my band. I bought a little microphone adaptor for my iPod Classic this spring. It worked out well. Not the best recording quality ever, but it’s good. I like the idea of a built in voice recording app. I think I’ll play with this app some and see how it works out.
  6. Facebook/MySpace Apps (Free)
    What? How does this help me? Well, it sure keeps me from running home during my lunch break to check MySpace of Facebook. I don’t do that all the time or anything, but there are some times when I am expecting a message and I would run home to check it. Now I won’t have to do that. How fun!
  7. Safari
    Oh yeah, iPhone also has some built in tools that can really help. I was at an All Region band thing this year and one of the other band directors had an iPhone. He wanted to call a student at home to see if she could make it and be in the band. He pulled out his iPhone, logged into Gradespeed, got her number, and called her. Awesome stuff. Outstanding functionality for when I am on a band trip or whatever and need to look something up.
  8. Camera
    It’s not the greatest camera in the world, but you never know when you need to take a picture. Having this in my pocket is an opportunity to do just that. My old phone’s camera was really weak, so this will definitely be a huge improvement on that. Plus, I buy a camera to take pictures. The camera function on a phone is just an added bonus.
  9. iPod
    Oh yeah, it plays music. My kids like to hear the recordings we make, and they also like to hear professional recordings of the music we are working on. Just plug it into a sound system, and away we go.
  10. Google Maps
    Again, band trips are great times for having a portable internet device in your pocket. The restaurant you had planned to visit is closed? Just use maps (with built in GPS), find the nearest place that looks like it will take a large group, and call them — all from iPhone.
About Joel Wagner 522 Articles
Joel Wagner (@sywtt) began teaching band in 2002. Though he had a lot of information, his classes were out of control. He found himself tired, frustrated, disrespected by students, lonely, and on the brink of quitting. He had had enough. He resigned from his school district right before spring break of his second year and made it his personal mission to learn to be a great teacher. So You Want To Teach? is the ongoing story of that quest for educational excellence.

6 Comments on 10 Awesome iPhone 3G Apps (Band Director Style)

  1. Sounds like you have some great plans for your Iphone! Do you have any experience with GPS devices? I have a Tom-Tom and it lies to me frequently, telling me turn where there are no roads, telling me to turn the wrong way down one-way streets, etc. Be very careful when using it!

  2. @Sandy – Well, the GPS capabilities of the iPhone are coupled with Google Maps. It doesn’t really do the whole “turn now, turn now” thing that most GPS things do. It relies on me to be looking at the map and stuff. It can plot directions based on my current location, so I just stay on the purple line and I’m good. :)

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