Integrating Luna Display Into the Classroom

My wife gave me a Luna Display for my birthday and I have been really impressed with it so far. Luna is a USB-C dongle that plugs into a Mac. Using the companion app on iPad, you can access the entirety of macOS, wirelessly. 


I cannot wait to use this device this coming school year. I teach in about five different classrooms which makes transporting my Mac cumbersome. It is heavy, always running out of battery, and is missing some of my iOS music apps like forScore and Tonal Energy. The light form factor of my iPad Pro is perfect for toting around the building in one hand.

There are a few problems with this. I am still faster on macOS for one. And more importantly, there is software on the Mac that I cannot take full advantage of on the iPad. I depend heavily on FileMaker for a tracking student data, assessments, and assignments. I have discussed that workflow on two episodes of The Class Nerd podcast. This episode on tracking student data and this episode, which is a bit miscellaneous. For whatever reason, keyboard input on certain parts of the user interface is slow on FileMaker Go, the iOS version of the app. Even though I can do 90 percent of the things I need to with my database on iOS, the typing speed slows me down.

Luna Display puts macOS right on the screen of my iPad.

Luna Display puts macOS right on the screen of my iPad.

It is for reasons like this that I am thrilled to use Luna Display in school next year. The experience of using the app is so smooth that at times I forget I am not using my Mac. Are there issues? Tons. But I stop to wonder every now and then why it is again that macOS can’t work with touch.

I also use a score editing app called Dorico on my Mac. Not as often as FileMaker, but enough that it is sorely missed on iOS. I have not tried to operate this application on the Luna Display but in full screen mode I suspect it isn’t so bad. Once I give it a shot I will report back.

Daniel Spreadbury and I talk Dorico.

In case you don’t subscribe to my podcast, I wanted to make sure you knew that I had the pleasure of interviewing Daniel Spreadbury, Product Manager of Dorico, last week.

Once we got going, this conversation ventured into great detail on the subject of Daniel’s start at Sibelius, using the different modes of Dorico, user interface design, the challenges of software development, the future of Dorico on mobile, and much more. 

I had a very fun time recording it and it is worth a listen if you have considered switching to Dorico. It is a must listen if you are in any way shape or form a nerd about user interface design or software development.

Here is a link to the episode: Listen here.


Black Friday 2017 deals for music notation software and related tech

Black Friday 2017 deals for music notation software and related tech - Scoring Notes:

Planning on traveling, eating, napping, and shopping this holiday weekend? We can’t help with the first three, but if you’re looking for a few deals, we’ve sorted through some of the Black Friday and Cyber Monday offers in our corner of the world of music notation software and related technology. This list is hardly exhaustive, and if anything else comes to our attention after publishing this post, it will be updated.

This is a really solid list. Nearly every player in the music notation space is offering a discount today. 

Sibelius 8.7 released with Cloud Sharing, other fixes - Scoring Notes

Sibelius 8.7 released with Cloud Sharing, other fixes:

Today Avid released Sibelius 8.7, the latest update to Sibelius. The new feature in Sibelius is Cloud Sharing, which we previewed a couple of weeks ago. The update is free for all 8.x users with an active subscription or support plan. Sibelius First has been updated as well.

Sibelius users share scores online in a format that can be displayed in any browser on a modern device, regardless of whether or not the person viewing the score owns Sibelius. No extra plug-ins are necessary.

Sibelius is pretty late to the game here. I admit, this is a nice improvement upon Scorch, but Scorch was terribly out of date. The best part in my opinion is the easy web publishing, though Noteflight has had it for a while now. 

The Sibelius team would have to do a lot at this point to get me to come back to it after switching to Dorico last fall. Sibelius is still plagued with layout issues, has a horrid user interface, and performs poorly alongside all of the other professional apps on my Mac. That being said, if you are using Sibelius, this is a nice update.

macOS High Sierra is out! Make sure you know which notation software is compatible!

The Scoring Notes blog is keeping track of High Sierra compatibility updates for all the major notation editors…

Music notation software and macOS High Sierra:

Today Apple is releasing macOS High Sierra (10.13), the newest iteration of its Mac operating system. High Sierra’s most significant change is its use of a new file system, Apple File System (APFS), for computers with all-flash storage. High Sierra brings a number of other new features, too, but on this blog we’ll focus on its compatibility with desktop music notation software: Sibelius, Finale, Dorico, and MuseScore.


Noteflight as a DAW | The Ethan Hein Blog

Noteflight as a DAW | The Ethan Hein Blog:

Notation software was not originally intended to be a composition tool. The idea was that you’d do your composing on paper, and then transcribe your handwritten scores into the computer afterwards. All of the affordances of Finale, Sibelius and the like are informed by that assumption. For example, you have to enter the notes in each measure in order from left to right. If you’re copying from an existing score, that makes sense. If you’re composing, however, it’s a serious obstacle. I can’t speak for all composers, but I’m most likely to start at the end of the bar and work backwards. If I want to put a note on the last sixteenth note of the bar in the MIDI piano roll, I just click the mouse on that beat and I’m done. Notation software requires me to first calculate the combination of rests that’s fifteen sixteenth notes long. I’m told that Dorico has finally addressed this, and lets you place your notes wherever you want. Noteflight, however, follows the model of Finale and Sibelius.

This is a super fascinating explanation of the way modern students are learning to create music on a screen. And I can vouch for Dorico that yes, it deals with note input in a non-linear way, much the same way a MIDI editor functions.

Dorico 1.1 is released

The Scoring Notes Blog has the scoop. I haven’t played with the chord symbols yet but from the screenshots, they appear very well implemented.

Dorico 1.1 is released:

Today Steinberg released Dorico 1.1, the most comprehensive update to the scoring program since the software’s initial October 2016 release.

I am aware that this update has been highly anticipated and that you probably have a lot of urgent questions.

So, what would you like to read about first? The addition of all the ornaments from Bach’s Clavier-Büchlein vor Wilhelm Friedemann? How slurs can automatically be placed on the first or last note of a tie chain, Mahler-style? That rests can now be nudged by any arbitrary distance, not just whole spaces? Chord symbols? The slight overhaul of the commands to control beaming? The implications of Dorico‘s polymetric features on bar numbering in multiplayer Layouts? How to notate…

Ah… Chord symbols it is, yes? Are you sure? Because, I’m telling you, that bar numbering stuff is fascinating.

Yeah, yeah, okay. Chord symbols.

...keep reading the article to get all of the fine details.