Using An ipad For Worship

Featuring Loops In Worship Posted on July 11, 2010

When Apple announced the iPad in January we posted this article  on our thoughts and what the iPad could mean for music. We talked specifically about the live performance aspect of it and how it could be used as a killer controller app. It’s been a few months now and we figured it’s time to take a look back at what’s been developed so far.

The iPhone/iPad for Worship?

If you haven’t seen this video yet you clearly aren’t very active on the internet or maybe even alive. It’s part of the string of recent worship leader “viral” videos to spread around lately (including this one). It’s been interesting to see the response from worship leaders that are now considering the iPhone and iPad as legitimate tools/instruments for worship. It’s sad it took us 3 years after the phone released to consider this but…at least we are making steps to get there! I just hope it isn’t 3 more years until we use an iPad for worship (I already know a few churches that have, so whoo!) The point is, if you’ve got an iPhone or an IPad, think of how you can use it for your worship services. How can you use it to take your worship experience to another level? Don’t wait for permission to try something new – be crazy and bold and let’s put the church in the forefront of musical and technological innovation.
As an Instrument?

One thing discussed in the previous article is the use of an iPad as a very simple midi controller/keyboard. This seems to be a very practical possibility. There are some cool synth/key/piano apps available now for the iPhone/iPad.

Korg Electribe for iPad $9.99

NLog Synth for iPhone $4.99 or free

Noise.io Pro Synth for iPhone $14.99

Mini Synth for iPhone $1.99

Mini Synth Pro for iPad $9.99

Mellotronics M3000 for iPad $11.99

Synth for iPad $.99

ProKeys for iPad $1.99

After fiddling with a few of these apps it’s clear that using an iPhone for playing legit keyboard parts probably won’t happen too often. It’s not the worst thing in the world but for the for the fat fingered folks it’s not the easiest thing in the world. Playing these parts on an iPad is where the magic really happens. Bigger screen real-estate and quicker access to more functions makes playing simple synth leads/pads enjoyable.
Using your iDevice to control your favorite DAW

The future is here! It’s easier then ever to pull up an app on your iPhone/iPad and control your favorite DAW. Sure “easier then ever” is a relative term (ever tried setting up one of these? They aren’t always the easiest!). I’ve worked with Novation’s Automap Controller $2.99 for iPhone quite a bit and I’ve found it to be the easiest and most straight forward. This seems to be the most accessible app development area for music/midi control app developers. There are quite a few options out there if you’re wanting to control your favorite DAW with your iDevice.

AC-7 DAW Control Surface for iPhone $5.99

AC-7 DAW Control Surface for iPad $9.99

Touch OSC for iPhone $4.99

Touch OSC for iPad $4.99

Again.. The iPad just makes this process so much more accessible then the iPhone.  The iPad’s relatively low price makes it a good competitor in the DAW control surface market considering it’s an Apple product and you can do lots of other stuff besides just controlling your software.

I’m really looking forward to the release of MidiPad for iPad. The screenshots look great and the videos look like it’s a killer controller!
The Game Changer

We’ve yet to see a game changer in the field of iPad music/controller apps yet. So what will this look like? What will that game changing app be? When two things happen I feel that will be the point in which the iPad will completely redefine the way we create music.

    * When DAW software companies start creating GUI (Graphical User Interface) apps specifically for their programs. Imagine being able to open an Ableton Live controller app and easily connect it to your computer – the software would already be built into your program and you’re controlling the software easily and enjoyably within a few seconds. It’s built by the software creators so it will retain all the important parts of the software while representing them in a more iPad-friendly way. You’ll still use your laptop to run your program, but your iPad will be the ultimate controller!

Steinberg seems to be the catalyst in this area. They have an app for their Cubase software called Cubase iC app for iPhone (Free) that lets users control Cubase via their iPhone. Again it’s a GUI for their software that represents the software in a more iPhone/iPad friendly way.

and more importantly…

    * When software companies start building mobile versions of their programs. They allow you to do everything you can in the full version of the software but on your mobile device. This would be a “laptop killer” for a lot of mobile musicians. Until we have a solid audio interface for the iPad it will be difficult to record projects with the iPad and even when we get it the CPU limits will limit us to not a lot of tracks.

Imagine a mobile version of Ableton Live on your iPad. You can drag in mp3’s of your songs or samples and fire them from an iPad-friendly version of Session View. The interface would have to be tweaked a bit to make it more iPad friendly but it would be the actual program not just a GUI to control the program.

You can already pseudo do this with a great app called Air Display $9.99. It essentially creates a 2nd display for your Mac that actually is a touchscreen display. Here’s a video of Spectrasonics’ Eric Persing using it to control Logic and some Spectrasonic’s instruments. It’s pretty impressive!

Apple has already done this with Pages $9.99, Numbers $9.99, and Keynote $9.99 for iPad. Propellerheads (the guys behind Reason) recreated Rebirth
$6.99, their software replication of classic drum machines in an iPhone app. This could mean they are close to replicating Reason in iPhone/IPad form…We can only hope! .

The iPad has already changed the way a lot of people work and use a computer and the future looks very bright for the iPad and its impact on music creation and performance!

For those of you that have been using an iPad for the past few months: What are your thoughts? What apps are you really digging? What apps have helped to change and shape your music creation/performance?

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