Digital Organization Tips for Music Teachers, Chapter 6 - Working with PDFs, with Guest Paul Shimmons (Season 2, Episode 6)

In this weeks episode, I am joined by Paul Shimmons (band director, music tech in education blogger, and podcaster). We have a great time talking about our various workflows for reading, editing, annotating, and organizing our PDFs. This episode was recorded shortly after the announcement of iOS 11 which will bring a lot of new productivity features to the iPad. Naturally, we had to discuss these announcements and how they might reshape our PDF workflows next fall.

This episode has chapters!!!! Using your podcast app of choice, skip to any topic in the episode by taping on the title of that chapter.


Twitter | Blog | Podcast


Show Notes:


Recommended PDF Apps:

Preview | Adobe Acrobat Pro DC | PDFpen | PDF Expert | Documents 5 | GoodReader | PDF Converter | PDF Office | Evernote | iBooks | Kindle | Notability | Microsoft OneNote |


Rogue Amoeba | Audio Hijack | iOS 11 | Readdle Apps | Spark Mail App | Readdle Drag and Drop | OmniGraffle | Workflow | AirTurn | FileMaker | Squarespace Websites


Digital Organization Tips for Music Teachers, Chapter 5 - Scanning, with Guest Chris Russell (Season 2, Episode 5)

In place of a formal introduction, Chris and I launched straight into a discussion about our recording setups and how to successfully record using iOS devices*. Then we jump into over an hour of action packed information on scanning. Scanning documents. Scanning music. Scanning with scanners. Scanning with phones. OCRing text. Automatic handwriting recognition. Automatic music notation recognition. Doing it all on PCs, tablets, phones, you name it.

Christopher Russell is a middle school choral and general music educator, music technology in education expert, blogger, and podcaster. Click the links below to read about him.

Chris Russel

Twitter | Blog | Podcast

Show Notes:


AirPods | Zencaster | | Newzik | Evernote | Notability | unRealBook | MMEA | AirTurn | PageFlip | From Paper to Pixels | Tony Vincent 

Recording Set Up

Audio Hijack | Ferrite | H4N | Blue Snowball | Audio Technica AT2020 USB

Hardware Scanners 

Fujitsu Scansnap | Canon 

Third Party Options

Recommended Scanning Apps:

Scanner Pro | Scannable 

Music Scanning Apps

PhotoScore | SmartScore | PDFtoMusic Pro | NotateMe | Sheet Music Scanner

Other Scanning Apps:

Tiny Scanner iOS | Tiny Scanner Android | Genius Scan iOS | Genius Scan Android | JotNot Pro | forScore 

 *This discussion was eye opening for me and I am glad I tried recording into my iPad for this episode but I would like to note that ...

1) Ferrite's touch editing interface was cumbersome enough for me that I ended up just doing it all in Logic Pro


2) Something about this setup resulted in a bit of a distorted sound on my voice which I did my best to clean up but apologize for.  

Digital Organization Tips for Music Teachers, Chapter 4 - Cloud Drives, with Guest Ben Denne (Season 2, Episode 4)

Show Notes:

Back at it again, with another work colleague! Orchestra Director, Ben Denne, joins the show to talk about cloud drive services, specifically, the strengths and weaknesses of the primary offerings and how our music team uses them to be productive.

Can you tell how long I’ve been sitting on this recording? Wait for the Easter egg around 1:24.

We recorded this one live. Apologies for the disruptions and sound problems, particularly the last ten minutes. Yeah, yeah, I know…

Buy my book, Digital Organization Tips for Music Teachers


Google Drive

Google Docs



Canvas document picker episode


Crash Plan

Digital Organization Tips for Music Teachers, Chapter 2 - Productivity Basics, with Guest Nick Dogas (Season 2, Episode 3)

Season 2 is back!!! After a series of technical difficulties and a busy concert/conference presenting season, Episode 3 is ready!

This week my choral colleague, Nick Dogas, joins the show to discuss basic productivity in the music classroom. Topics include: managing an active teaching schedule using calendar apps, staying on top of email responsibilities, where technology helps (and doesn’t help), the role of attention, and more.

This was a fun one to record. All of my other guests this season are experts on the topics of each episode. I was having trouble finding someone who wanted to talk about the not-so-glamorous topics of email and calendars. Nick joked with me that he could come on as a tech-NON-expert and I loved the idea. Considering how differently each of us approaches our work, this episode turned into an interesting counterpoint about focus, attention, the problems that technology solves for unorganized people, and when it is best to just turn off the computer screen and get work done.

Note: Due to some issues recording this episode on an iPad, there are a few awkward edits and audio issues.

Show Notes:

Sight Reading Factory - Excellent website for generating sight reading exercises for your students.

OmniFocus - Powerful task management for iOS and macOS.

Todoist - Collaborative, web based, and cross platform task management app.

Evernote - Versatile and cross platform note taking app.

Spark Mail App and Airmail - Two superior email apps for iOS and macOS.

Squarespace - Website platform that our music team used to build our website and publish our online calendar.

Google Calendar - The calendar service our music team uses to collaborate on classes.

Digital Organization Tips for Music Teachers, Chapter 2, Task Management with Dr. Frank Buck (Season 2, Episode 2)

Guest: Dr. Frank Buck





Book - Get Organized!: Time Management for School Leaders

Frank Buck is a former middle school band director, veteran school administrator, public speaker, productivity coach, and writer. He is the author Get Organized!: Time Management for School Leaders. Dr. Buck helps people achieve their goals through organization and time management. He has spoken to audiences throughout the United States and into Canada to acquaint them with how to work with total control and peace of mind.

Great Apps for Task Management

Frank’s App of Choice: Toodledo

Robby’s App of Choice: OmniFocus

What makes a good task management app?

Buck’s Magnificent 7

  • Assign a due date and sort by due date
  • Repeating tasks
  • Notes field
  • Search
  • Sync across all devices
  • Interfaces with email ** - Voice recognition

Robby’s Must Have Features

  • Quick capture
  • Inbox
  • Review
  • Due dates

Getting Things Done by David Allen