The use in music schools, conservatories, as private teacher and in choir, orchestra, ensembles and brass band

Many music schools, music teachers and music groups currently resort to online or distance learning because of Covid-19 and are looking for tools to help them design their lessons.
That’s why we’ve put together ideas for using our sheet music app Practice Bird and other apps to introduce you to some interesting new possibilities for your lessons and rehearsal work.

What is Practice Bird?

Practice Bird is an app all about sheet music for Android and iOS mobile phones and tablets with the following features:

  • Interactive Sheet Music Display
  • Acoustic Playback of the sheet
    • with metronome
    • Adjustable volume of parts
    • Practise a section repeatedly by looping it
  • Instant Pitch Monitoring – Recognizes the correct notes
    • Listens via the built-in microphone
    • Shows how well rhythm and pitch were played
  • Smart Practice Journal
    • Records the practice times
    • History of the practiced pieces
    • Keeps track of the Instant Pitch Monitoring results
    • only available on iOS

To provide these features, Practice Bird uses musicXML and Midi as the file format
-> see below for more information.

Practice Bird for music lessons and rehearsals

How can I practise with Practice Bird?

Here are the links to download the app to try it out for yourself:
Practice Bird for Android and Practice Bird for iPhone/iPad
Because the musicXML stores all note information and all instructions of the musical notation, Practice Bird offers the following functions for practicing notes:

Listen to and practice the sheet music with playback and metronome

  • Hearing your own part and playing along
  • Play your own part while listening to the other voices (Play-Along)
  • Vary the tempo – practise more slowly
  • Practice a section repeatedly in a loop

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Tap here to pause playback

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Tap here to start playback

Check how well you can play a piece

  • Practice Bird listens through the built-in microphone and recognizes how well you hit the sounds
  • The notes are colored and critical areas become visible
  • The correct rhythm and intonation are displayed
  • The tempo is adjustable
  • Share results with the teacher and other musicians
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Tap on this icon to activate Instant Pitch Monitoring (IPM)

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Tap here to start or stop IPM

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Choose relevant instrument for review here

Customize the sheet music so that the notes are easy to read

  • Set optimal note size: Zooming the notes
  • Hide unused parts in the sheet music
  • Visually highlight your own part
  • Use mobile phone/tablet in portrait or landscape mode
  • Transpose the sheet music into the desired key

How do I get my sheet music into Practice Bird?

I already have the notes in MusicXML or MIDI format (.mxl, .xml, .midi)

If the notes are already available digitally as musicXML or Midi, you can easily import them with the integrated file browser and from other apps:

 

Import sheet music from other apps

  • from an email attachment
  • from Dropbox
  • from Google Drive
  • and many others

Import sheet music from music notation programs

If the notes are available in the file format of a music notation program, they can very easily be converted into musicXML:

Nearly all music notation programs like Finale, Capella, Sibelius, … can export the notes as musicXML file.

I have the sheet music in paper format or as PDF

If you only have the sheet music on paper or as a pdf file, you should first check whether you can find the desired piece as a musicXML download on one of our listed online sheet music portals with free download or purchase option.

Add sheet music from online music portals

Practice bird offers a list of selected sheet music portals for the download of free and purchasable sheet music here.

If you can’t find what you’re looking for within the music portals, there are still the options of converting the sheet music into digital notes with a scanning software or manually using a notation programme. Nearly all common music notation programmes offer a scan software for paper sheet music as an additional package.

As a final option we offer to convert the sheet music from paper or pdf to musicXML for about 2€ per A4 page. If you are interested, please contact us at: office@phonicscore.com

How can I communicate with my teacher or fellow musicians?

In order to exchange information within the music group or with the teacher or student, the so-called Messenger Apps are useful:

Signal

Whatsapp

Telegram

Most people are probably already familiar with one of these apps. We recommend Signal here, because it transmits securely and encrypted, is DSGVO compliant and open source and has no commercial interests behind it.

With these Messenger Apps you can easily send

  • text messages
  • pictures, photographs
  • videos
  • audio recordings
  • other kinds of files (e.g. musicXML or pdf sheet music, if this is allowed)

to friends, family and fellow musicians.

These apps also offer the possibility to create any groups.

This is perfect for choirs, ensembles and other music groups.

You can use the groups in many different ways depending on your needs – here is an example of a choir:

  • Group for the whole choir
  • Group for the administrative members of the choir
  • Group for each individual voice of the choir (soprano, alto, tenor, bass)
  • Direct messages to the choirmaster (without group)

In conjunction with Practice Bird, I can use the Messenger app as follows:

Show the teacher or your own group that you have practiced and how well you have mastered a piece:

The results of Instant Pitch Monitoring in Practice Bird can be shared with groups or with individuals via the “Share” function.

Draw attention to a position in the sheet music:

  • Go to the desired position in Practice Bird
  • Possibly adjust the size of the notes (zoom)
  • Take a screenshot
  • Mark sections on the screenshot in colour
  • share the screenshot with others

Play a section for other musicians

For this purpose, we suggest an audio recording with a mobile phone or tablet.
Practice Bird offers an integrated recording function during Instant Pitch Monitoring (currently only on Android):

  • Practice Bird records during Instant Pitch Monitoring
  • Listen to the recording in the result dialog
  • Now share the recording with others or save it on Dropbox etc.

If you want to make an audio recording in general, the following options are available:

  • Record directly within the Messenger app in the desired group (press microphone icon) and share with others
  • use an additional recording app

As a recording app we recommend the e.g.: Hi-Q MP3 Recorder (test version) for Android, as it is free and offers mp3 recording for small file sizes, which is important for sharing with others.

Showing how to play a difficult passage on the instrument

  • make a video of yourself with the camera app
  • share video in a group or with a student

… there are certainly many more possible uses for Practice Bird and other apps for teaching and rehearsal work.

We will expand this entry if we find additional interesting possibilities.

Please also let us know if you have any ideas and suggestions!

Here again the links to the app download:

Practice Bird for Android

Practice Bird for iPhone/iPad