Further use of iPads in workshops


This blog post forms part of a series of technology-based pieces from the Exchanging Notes project, in which we share resources that have worked well in our accessible music sessions at Belvue School and other schools within Ealing.  

ThumbJam Presets

In previous posts I’ve outlined how to customise ThumbJam’s appearance without approaching changes to the sounds.  Choosing an instrument or scale is straightforward, but can often be difficult to manage in the middle of a workshop.

With this in mind, I have been working on a set of presets based on the most popular repertoire in schools in Ealing.  To load them, follow the link below on an iPad with ThumbJam installed.

Click here to download example ThumbJam presets for school workshops.
You should be taken to a screen showing a .zip file. Press the More button, and choose Copy to ThumbJam.

Presets should appear in the User section, indicated with a squirrel emoji. The archive currently contains a single preset, which divides the screen into three guitar chords (C, G, and F).

Background images and on-screen scores

Background images have proved very popular in school settings, especially since it often proves difficult to break away from default finger movements back and forth across the screen.  Over the past year or so since my first blog post, we’ve tried all sorts of ideas, from alphabets to characters taken from YouTube videos, and photos of animals downloaded from Google Images.  More recently we’ve been creating paper scores to be transferred to the screen with guest musician James Rose, some of which are pictured below:

In most cases, it’s been useful to have a copy of the image in the real world.  For example, following the success of a similar workshop at Belvue, the young musicians at Mandeville have enjoyed leaping between cutouts of lily pads on the floor, and imitating these movements on a smaller scale using photographs on the iPad.  Many young musicians have enjoyed tracing shapes on a printed version of the images before the excitement of the screen and the sound takes over.