Favorites of 2018 - Things

These posts will never happen if I don’t make it fuss free. So here is it! With little introduction or fanfare, the ‘stuff’ that made up my year. My favorite albums, live shows, apps, and ‘things’ of 2018.

The final installment features the most tangible and miscellaneous. My favorite things! The stuff that didn’t fit into any other category but that brought me joy this year.

Things

Prepd Lunch Box

This modular lunchbox helps me to better plan my lunches throughout the week. After mass prepping on Sunday night, I slam all of my meals into a weeks worth of these containers and then easily swap them out at the end of each day. This lunchbox is slim enough to fit in my backpack. There is a companion app that has recipes for meals that easily fit into the containers.

Series 4 Apple Watch

Of all the Apple products I own, this is the one that I take the most delight in. My Series 4 watch has this new watch face that allows me to slam a ton of information onto it at a glance. My current version of it I call the 'status circle' watch face. It keeps track of my progress on activity, sleep, water intake, and tasks, while also helping me stay on top of alarms, timers, and calendar events.

Rx Bars

If you are what you eat, I am a coconut chocolate Rx Bar. These energy bars are delicious, and most importantly, they are substantial. I can sub one of these out for breakfast or have it as a late afternoon snack. It carries me through. And there are tons of delicious flavors, all made with a minimal list of natural ingredients.

Rx Bars come in diverse flavors.

Rx Bars come in diverse flavors.

The Prepd lunchbox.

The Prepd lunchbox.

Hidrate Spark Smart Water Bottle

This water bottle reminds me when to drink. It automatically senses how much I drink and displays my progress on my Apple Watch. It even remembers the last location it was connected to my phone in the event that I loose it (like yesterday...) This water bottle is a big motivation for me to drink more water. I love it.

My Apple Watch Series 4, with my ‘status circle.’ watch face. When I am not taking screenshots at 2 am, the blue status ring on bottom represents the water I drink in the Hidrate Spark water bottle.

My Apple Watch Series 4, with my ‘status circle.’ watch face. When I am not taking screenshots at 2 am, the blue status ring on bottom represents the water I drink in the Hidrate Spark water bottle.

You read that last caption right! This water bottle automatically logs my water intake. And much much more.

You read that last caption right! This water bottle automatically logs my water intake. And much much more.

Ableton Live Hoodie

My wife got me this last Christmas and I love it. Everyone loves it. I feel a little bit phony wearing it because Ableton is not an app I use much anymore. But it carries with it the general spirit of an audio editor. And some bright colors! I am down with that.

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Nintendo Switch

Over a year into owning this thing and I am still amazed that I can play the latest Mario game the same way on an airplane that I can on my living room TV. Our latest craze is Overcooked 2. It’s the most addictive local multiplayer I have experienced in a long time.

Thrive Market

Thrive sells health food items in larger than normal quantities at discounted prices. As I continue to experiment with adjustments to my diet, this service is becoming my go to for essentials like nuts, cooking oils, fresh water fish, and more!

Territory

For busy teaching weeks (like a week where my music team puts on four concerts), it is hard to manage meal prep. For those weeks I turn to Territory. Territory makes healthy, delicious, meals that are pre-made and shipped straight to my front door. The amount of diet customization you can do with this service keeps me coming back for more. 

2018 iPad Pro

I also upgraded my iPad Pro this year and gave my old one to my wife. What is there to say? I really like this iPad. It makes the Apple Pencil feel like magic. I am still frustrated by the keyboard case, and iOS is still not an OS I can get all of my work done on. But somehow, the hardware improvements to this device (larger display, FaceID, inductive charging Apple Pencil) makes it a real delight to use.

It does not fundamentally change the way the iPad works. But it also does.

It does not fundamentally change the way the iPad works. But it also does.

Favorites of 2018 - Apps!

These posts will never happen if I don’t make it fuss free. So here is it! With little introduction or fanfare, the ‘stuff’ that made up my year. My favorite albums, live shows, apps, and ‘things’ of 2018.

Next up, apps!

Apps

Things and OmniFocus

Task management software makes up about 50 percent my time on computing devices so it’s natural that I include what I consider to be the best two apps in this field. After seven years of using OmniFocus, I am experimenting with Things again. I plan to write about this switch in more detail but for now I leave you with this: if you are looking for a powerful way to stay on top of your tasks and don’t mind paying for a premium design, check these apps out.

The Today view in Things displays all of my tasks for the day alongside my calendar.

The Today view in Things displays all of my tasks for the day alongside my calendar.

The Forecast view in OmniFocus is similar to the Today view in Things. Though I have it turned off in this screenshot, it actually displays your tasks inline with your calendar events so you can see where ‘due’ tasks fit into your day.

The Forecast view in OmniFocus is similar to the Today view in Things. Though I have it turned off in this screenshot, it actually displays your tasks inline with your calendar events so you can see where ‘due’ tasks fit into your day.

Health

The Health app by Apple is my hub for collecting all sorts of data about myself from various devices, apps and clinics. It houses data from devices like my Apple Watch, Spire respiratory monitor, Fitbit WiFi scale, and Spark Smart Water Bottle. It tracks data in third party apps like: work outs, active calories burned, steps, heart rate, sleep, water intake, nutrition, meditation minutes, caffeine intake, and blood pressure. It can now even aggregate health data from participating clinics and practices so I don’t have to log into a million web portals. My Quest and LabCorp results are a tap away. The beauty of the app is that it allows me to organize these data points and see them alongside one another so I can draw meaningful conclusions about them. Like for example, I eat better on days when I get more sleep.

Home

Apple’s Home app is the hub for controlling my smart home. I can control all of my smart things in the same user interface rather than by punching into lots of different apps. I can also use it to automate different actions. For example, my Good Morning scene automatically runs at 6:30 am every day which turns on my lights, changes the temperature, and lately, turns on the Christmas tree.

My Today view in Apple Health aggregates all of my health data regardless of which app is responsible for tracking it.

My Today view in Apple Health aggregates all of my health data regardless of which app is responsible for tracking it.

The My Home view in Apple Home shows my most used home automation devices and ‘scenes.’

The My Home view in Apple Home shows my most used home automation devices and ‘scenes.’

Tonal Energy Tuner

Absolute must for an instrumental music teacher. Using the new Screen Time feature on iOS reveals that I spend too much time on Reddit. But also that I spend more time than any other app in Tonal Energy. It’s literally running in the foreground all day long while I’m at school, helping students to match pitch, blend, and keep steady time.

Trello

This may be my productivity discovery of the year. Trello is the team project app you have been waiting for. It’s vibrant, Kanbab board style interface will have your team, family, or Dungeons and Dragons group enjoying every minute of collaboration. Bonus points for how well this app integrates with Slack which is my preferred team communication tool.

Planning concerts in Trello allows my team to share todos, check lists, files, and more. We can give items due dates and even assign tasks to other members.

Planning concerts in Trello allows my team to share todos, check lists, files, and more. We can give items due dates and even assign tasks to other members.

GoodNotes

GoodNotes has become my go-to handwritten note application. It acts like a bookshelf of notebooks so to speak. I take a lot of the work I create in iWork, Ulysses, and OmniGraffle, export them as PDFs, organize them into notebooks in GoodNotes, then annotate them on the go using my iPad. My favorite thing to do with it is keep a notebook of seating charts that have my rehearsal annotations on top of the names of my students. I love how you do not need to trigger an annotation mode to start scribbling on a document with the Apple Pencil. It just feels like paper.

Streaks

There are a lot of great habit building apps out there but Streaks has stuck with me because it encourages you to focus on just six habits at a time. When I am building too many habits at once, they start to feel like a todo list. The Streaks method of choosing six, along with its addictive user interface, keep me launching the app, which keeps me working towards my goals.

AutoSleep and AutoWake

Of the ten or so sleep trackers I have tried for the iPhone and Apple Watch, AutoSleep has stuck with me the most. There are numerous things I like about it, but most of all is how it figures out the most accurate number of hours I have been asleep whether I wear my watch to sleep or not. The companion app, AutoWake, wakes me up silently with haptic feedback on the watch. It does this when I am in my least deep sleep within a half hour before my alarm is set to go off. This eases me awake rather than jolting me awake. I plan to blog later this month about how I am automating some cool stuff in my house when I wake up using this app.

WaterMinder

WaterMinder is my favorite app for tracking water intake, mostly because of its well designed and space efficient widget.

Shortcuts

I did not get as much out of the Siri Shortcuts app this year as I wanted to. In fact, I had a lot of bad luck with it. But it is still an app that is working really well for me in a couple of small areas. In one tap, it generates a clean copy of my band's seating chart in GoodNotes for annotations and opens my lesson plan for the day in OmniOutliner. 

The Waterminder Widget.

The Waterminder Widget.

Some of my Shortcuts.

Some of my Shortcuts.

CARROT⁵ Weather

This is my favorite weather app due to its clean and appealing design. It gets my pick this year because of how they continue to innovate the Apple Watch app. My favorite feature of the watch is the customizable complications. Carrot makes the best weather complication for the Apple Watch, maybe the best complication, period. Carrot allows infinite customization for how it looks on the watch, depending on which watch face you like to view it, and even in which corner of the watch face you prefer to keep it installed.

The Carrot Weather app complication can be seen in the lower left corner.

The Carrot Weather app complication can be seen in the lower left corner.

Streaks. Guess I can check off that one in the lower right corner now.

Streaks. Guess I can check off that one in the lower right corner now.

Favorites of 2018 - Live Music

These posts will never happen if I don’t make it fuss free. So here is it! With little introduction or fanfare, the ‘stuff’ that made up my year. My favorite albums, live shows, apps, and ‘things’ of 2018.

Next up, live music!

Live Shows

The Telluride Bluegrass Festival

Hard to write about this one in few words but I promised myself this would be fuss free. My wife all but dragged me to this festival, affirming all year long that it would be worth the journey. My camping chops are a long way from my Eagle Scout years. Anyway, the memories outlast any annoyance I felt camping at a music festival.

Some of the highlights include:

  • Seeing Live From Here with Chris Thile recorded...well, live

  • Bela Fleck featuring Brooklyn Rider String Quartet (think Bartok meets late 20th century strings for string quarter and banjo)

  • Edgar Meyer and Christian McBride bass duet set

  • St. Paul and the Broken Bones

  • Sturgil Simpson (always killer)

  • Edgar Meyer and his son, George Meyer on the small stage

  • Hawktail on the small stage

  • I'm With Her, Nightgrass set (You can enter a lottery to get tickets to see certain artists perform at the local opera house in town. I'm With Her sounds stunning around a single mic.)

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Punch Brothers at The Telluride Bluegrass Festival

We saw them four times this year if you include three times at the Telluride Bluegrass Festival. One of the most memorable of these performances was on the main stage where they debuted their new album, All Ashore, in its entirety. It is a beautiful record and my family will share really special memories of hearing it live with the crisp mountain breeze washing over us.

But perhaps one of the most memorable shows I have ever seen was later that night when Punch Brothers performed a Nightgrass set in town. The band member’s musicianship was on full display. And due to this intimate audience, (and a long weekend of performing tightly organized sets), they let loose a little. They were kicking back Manhattans, lengthening solo sections, and engaging in banter. Things that made their earlier performances memorable for me but that have since become less a part of their live show due to a lengthier song repertoire and wider audience to please.

Let me give you an example. During the solo section of a bluegrass standard, each member completely deconstructed the I-V progression. During the banjo player Noam Pikelne’s solo, he hinted at motif from a song on the new record (in an entirely different key and time signature), and Chris made a gesture to the band. Then somehow they morphed this small suggestion into the entire introduction of the other song, while the bass still wavered between I-V, ultimately transforming completely into a performance of of the entire song, back into a I-V progression, and into more solo’s. Chris Thile’s solo (equally ridiculous) somehow managed to transform into one of the Bach Violin Sonotas, which he performed in its entirety, followed by the band transforming that back into the head of the bluegrass tune they had originally started off with.

As an encore, Chris came out into the center of the audience with Sarah Jarosz, and they sang a few old folk songs together. Chris’s parents were in the balcony, seeing him perform at the festival for the first time together since he was a kid. At one point Chris called out to his father to sing one of the verses with him in harmony. I’m not crying, you’re crying. This was an easy top five-er for me, and a reminder of all the reasons I love Punch Brothers.

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The Bad Plus at The Hamilton

I am cheating by including this show. It happened right around the new year, but technically in 2017. The Bad Plus is another artist that has been with me for a while. I learned about them in a formative time of musical discovery, and while their sound has not really evolved in recent records, it was nice to see them on their last tour with Ethan Iverson playing piano. The show was bittersweet. On the one hand, they played a lot of old favorites I had not heard in a while. On the other hand, they seemed kind of done with one another.

Gabriel Kahane at Jammin’ Java

See my tidbit on Gabriel Kahane’s record, ‘Book of Travelers,’ from my recent Favorite Albums of 2018 post. He played most of the album at this show. The venue, Jammin’ Java, was small and quiet. The upright piano was inconsistent and out of tune. I thought the beauty of Kahane’s songs might be disrupted, but this quirky and intimate situation made a perfect frame for the message of Kahane’s songs.

The Centennial High School Wind Ensemble - The Peabody Institute, Miriam A. Friedberg Concert Hall

The Centennial High School Wind Ensemble was invited to perform at The Midwest Clinic this year. This is a point of pride for my teaching community because it takes place in the Howard County Public School System, the district in which I teach. More directly, my school, Ellicott Mills Middle School, is a direct feeder of students into Centennial. Having had the opportunity to work with a small few past EMMS students, and by having a private student of mine in the group, I take serious pride in the accomplishments of Centennial High School’s band program and their director, David Matchim. It was unreal to hear a high school ensemble play an hour of music at the level they did, and in December of the school year! Check out their wind octet below...

Favorites of 2018 - Albums

These posts will never happen if I don’t make it fuss free. So here is it! With little introduction or fanfare, the ‘stuff’ that made up my year. My favorite albums, live shows, apps, and ‘things’ of 2018.

First up, albums!

Favorite Albums of 2018

Johann Sebastian Bach - Vinkingur Ólafsson

Ólafsson breathes new life into the essentials.

 

Time - Louis Cole

What a way to close the summer! Addictive, savvy, electro pop from a master technician (both instrumentally and as a producer.)

 

All Ashore - Punch Brothers

For reasons that will be detailed in a Favorite Live Music of 2018 post, this album will forever be associated with an amazing summer of travel with my wife, including seeing Punch Brothers debut this album in its entirety at the Telluride Bluegrass Festival. This is an album made for the political landscape of our current time but that can be enjoyed for the beauty of its timbre, texture, and harmony alone.


Hawktail - Unless

My favorite bluegrass album in a while and my favorite bluegrass band discovery of the year. We have seen these guys a few times live this year and appreciate the relationships we have developed with the band members. If I were doing a favorite songs of 2018, the title track ‘Unless’ would be on it.

 

Book of Travelers - Gabriele Kahane

Around the time of the 2016 election, Gabriele Kahane took a trip all over the country by train on a search for empathy. This album features the songs inspired by this journey.

 

Heaven and Earth - Kamasi Washington

It would be easy to characterize this album as excessive but I see it differently. Even though many of the tracks have a similar contour, each one of them is its own epic. In combination, I am never exhausted by the result as I might expect to be, but instead rightly satisfied.

 

EP - The Fearless Flyers

Members of Vulpeck team up with Nate Smith on drums to create the “too-short-est” record I have ever heard. The dry texture of all three varieties of electric guitar on this record leave nothing to be desired. And Nate Smith can do more with a snare drum, bass drum, and hi hat than most drummers can do with a nine piece kit and plethora of cymbals.

 

Kids See Ghosts - Kanye West and Kid Cudi

I’d like to file this one under “listen to this if you don’t think hip hop is interesting.”

 

Dirty Computer - Janelle Monáe

If anyone wanted to argue that this is the most profound (and catchy) album of the year, I would hand it to them immediately.

 

See You Around - I’m With Her

Try to not enjoy listening to these sounds, even if you don’t like folk music.

 

Sampha - Process

Cerebral, groove centered, and colorful. One of my favorites of the favorites.

Brief experiment with Apple Music on the Amazon Echo

Read Apple Music is Now Available on the Amazon Echo for the (week old) scoop.

I have played around with this a little and there are still some major hang ups with using Apple Music on Amazon Echos.

In my limited testing, Echo did not always play requested music from my Apple Music account, even though Apple Music was set as the defaul music service to stream through when not otherwise specified.

Problem two: Amazon Echos can not stream to a group of Sonos speakers. This is pretty much a deal breaker as I can ask my HomePod to play music and have it send the output to a group of Sonos speakers via AirPlay 2. Echos can only stream from themselves.

Even the HomePod is early days enough that there are tons of hang ups with grouping speakers. It often forgets which speakers I like to AirPlay to and I have to readjust my groups in the AirPlay settings. This is a pain, but at least I have the option to do it.

I would love to see an update to the Home app and or Shortcuts app that allows me to create an automation that triggers music from pre-specified speaker groups at a specific time or based on my location. This is something that the Echo can do. Fingers crossed.

NPR’s The 50 Best Albums of 2018 - Apple Music and Spotify Playlist

Happy holidays! A tradition six years in the making has come around again.

NPR has released their list of the 50 Best Albums of 2018, and again, I have compiled it into an Apple Music playlist.

I used to do this playlist in Spotify and did not for the first time last year. By popular request, I was prepared to do it in both Apple Music and Spotify this year but found that NPR had already published the list in Spotify! I still had to make it in Apple Music (what does that say about AM?) which I wanted to do anyway because this is tradition now. So here it is. Ready to take you soaring in to the new year, I present to you a playlist of NPR’s 50 Best Albums of the Year.

From NPR:

Art is identity, scream these best albums of 2018. Even when it's pure invention. The most striking things we heard this year mined personal experiences that could feel intimate as whispers or bold and overstuffed as superhero science fiction. Even in an era where listeners have been primed for the unexpected, genuine surprises arrived steadily across the last 12 months – a cascade of introductions, breakthroughs, revelations and rebirths to reward whatever precious attention you could give. (Not a huge surprise: Most of them, after the votes from our staff and member station partners were tallied, turned out to have been made by women.) We're happy to share NPR Music's list of the 50 best albums of 2018. You can listen to them here and hear a discussion on the year in music on All Songs Considered. We'll have lots more before the year ends.

NPR’s 50 Best Albums of the Year - Spotify Playlist

NPR’s 50 Best Albums of the Year - Apple Music Playlist

I direct you now to last year’s version of this post where I highlight some of my favorites albums from these lists over the past five years.

Favorites from this year's list include:

The Other Side of Air | Myra Melford's Snowy Egret

Víkingur Ólafsson | Johann Sebastian Bach

Kamashi Washington | Heaven And Earth

Janelle Monáe | Dirty Computer

Enjoy!

Mastering Organization in Rehearsal with iPad

In September, School Band and Orchestra Magazine published an article of mine about using the iPad to be organized while rehearsing a large ensemble. I am reposting it here for readers of my blog to enjoy...

Mastering Organization in the Rehearsal with iPad:

Chances are likely that you have heard of a few iPad apps for use in the classroom. Like me, you may have heard about so many of them that you can’t even remember them all. Or you have made it so far as to download them and now hundreds of little icons have been left un-touched in a folder called “Music,” sitting on your home screen.

There are a lot of fantastic music teaching apps for educators and students. Tuning apps, notation apps, note reading apps, staff recognition, music games, creation tools, historical videos, you name it. The iPad is often positioned in music education as a miscellaneous platform. One that we use for whatever purpose it serves best in the moment, whether that be in our own hands or those of our students. Few of us have an iPad for each of our students though. And several years into owning one, you might still wonder what niche it is really intended to fill.

For me, the iPad become a transformative tool in the classroom when I started to think about it like a digital piece of paper. And it became in-dispensable when I found ways to become de-pendent on it while rehearsing large ensembles.

The apps in this article have turned the iPad in-to a necessity for me. Many of them are not simply portable versions of desktop apps I use elsewhere. They are apps that thrive, particularly on the form factor of the iPad.

Files

Rather than bringing a pile of parent letters, pie sale pamphlets, and field trip documents to the podium, I have taken to queuing these documents on my iPad. Thankfully, Apple has re-leased a Files app with iOS 11. This app func-tions very similarly to the Finder on the Mac. You can view documents, launch them in other applications, and even drag files from one fold-er into another. The Files app works out of the box using Apple’s iCloud Drive, but third party cloud providers get to join the fun too! Installing apps like Dropbox and Google Drive now makes them appear alongside the left sidebar in the Files app. No need to go fishing in the Dropbox app to see your documents stored there. In Files, they are displayed, natively, alongside your other iCloud files. You interact with your documents the same way no matter which cloud service you are browsing.

You can drag your favorite folders to the side-bar for easy reach, regardless of what third party cloud drive provider they are part of. Us-ing the iPad’s split view feature, you can open another app, like Mail, on the other side of the screen and drag files from the Files app, over into the Mail app, to add them as attachments.

If you are looking for a little more control, I rec-ommend an app called Documents 5 by Read-dle. If you have purchased their app PDF Ex-pert (which is amazing), it allows you to use all of the PDF Expert annotation tools right from within the Documents app. You can also open multiple different files at once in a tabbed inter-face, much like a web browser. This is useful for mornings where I need to review multiple different documents with the class at once.

Notability

I give my students a weekly rehearsal grade for preparation and participation. I use a rubric to generate this score but I base it off of informally collected data in the classroom. I needed a way to quickly jot down information on top of stu-dents names and then an easy way to view it from my computer later while inputting grades. I decided to design a seating chart using Om-niGroup’s OmniGraffle app (but you could just as easily draw one and scan it into your com-puter as a PDF). I open these PDFs in an app called Notability. Of all the many great note apps on iPad that let you scribble on a PDF, I find Notability to be the least fussy. The mo-ment the PDF shows up on screen you can begin scribbling on it with an Apple Pencil. It really feels as responsive as paper. I write quick notes on student performance on these charts throughout rehearsal. Jimmy is sitting with great posture, Susan is late, John didn’t bring his instrument...When I sit down at my computer, I launch the Mac version and view all of the charts because the edits have been syncing over iCloud. Then I enter my grades.

Going into the Dropbox app each morning, du-plicating the file, and opening it in Notability was getting to be quite a chore. So I decided to automate it...

Workflow (Now Shortcuts)

Workflow is an app for iOS that allows you to string together multiple actions and trigger them with one tap of a button. This all takes place in plain English, using drag and drop blocks to make up your recipe. This app is a real testament to the growing power of iOS as a productivity platform. If this app sounds in-tense, don’t worry. When you download it, the app walks you through the process.

One of my favorite “Workflows” is a two step workflow called “Band Seating Chart.” Step one of this workflow looks into my Dropbox account for a file called “Symphonic Winds.PDF.” Next, it opens that file as a new note in Notability. All in one tap. Workflows can be published as tap-pable app icons on the homescreen for easy use. So to create a new seating chart in Nota-bility every day as described above, all I do is tap once. Pretty cool.

If designing workflows seems tedious, never fear. You can download these pre-made from a user submitted gallery.

Note: Workflow was purchased by Apple and was integrated into iOS as the Shortcuts app with the release of iOS 12 this past fall. Look forward to more posts about this awesome app in the future.

forScore

forScore is my app of choice for all score read-ing and annotating now. I keep all of my music in it. Since the app added the ability to index long Real Book style PDFs last year, I even store my method books and longer form teach-ing materials within it. Indexing these files means that I can search for individual song ti-tles in the forScore search, even if they are within the body of a larger single file. forScore takes me right to the exact page I want to be on.

Of course my more obvious stuff goes in for-Score as well — things like band scores, meth-od books, sheet music for the next gig, you name it.

I am a messy note taker. While I miss the tac-tile feeling of post it notes and pencil on a pa-per score, doing it with forScore allows me to be as messy as I want and just erase it later in the tap of a button. forScore allows me to an-notate with my Apple Pencil right on the screen. With my seating chart open on the other half of the iPad screen in Notability, I can actually an-notate my seating chart and my score simulta-neously. And for the workaholics out there, have you ever tried score study in bed? You don’t need to keep a messenger bag of paper in your bedroom anymore!

forScore is full of fun bells and whistles. My cur-rent favorite is to embed press-able buttons in my scores that initiate tuning drones and met-ronome clicks. And forScore works with all the new iPad features of iOS 11. So, for example, I can open the Files app on one half of the iPad screen, forScore on the other, and drag and drop scores from Files right into my forScore library. These are just a few of the many pow-erful features in forScore.

Drafts

One of the most stressful things in rehearsal is tending to all of the student needs. Not to men-tion my already spinning head, struggling to keep all of my teaching responsibilities togeth-er. Drafts is a note taking app that focuses on simplicity at the front end, and unlimited power on the backend. Launching into this app brings the user to a blank white space and a key-board, where you can instantly begin typing. Once you have accumulated a bunch of unpro-cessed “drafts,” you can swipe to the right to reveal numerous custom “actions.” These ac-tions can process the text in your notes by rout-ing them to other third party services. Your draft could become the body of an email or text, a Twitter status, or a calendar event. It could be exported as a task to a todo app or become the basis of a Google search. User ac-tions can be created much like workflows in the Workflow app, even including multiple different steps. I use one of my favorite Drafts actions to take meeting notes and then, in one tap, save them to Evernote, email them to the members of my music team, and parse out the actions relevant to me and save them to my todo app of choice, OmniFocus. As with Workflow, you can download user created actions from an online gallery. When the whirlwind of rehearsal starts, and students begin telling me about bro-ken valves, missing music, and the like, I simply start brain dumping all of my thoughts into Drafts. Then later, I sit down at my desk and process all of these thoughts by sending them to the apps they need to go to.