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Equipping: Software & Apps


Equipping your Classroom: Software & Apps




Audacity is a free, open source, cross-platform audio software for multi-track recording and editing. Audacity is great for what it is, but it is important understand what it isn't. Audacity is not a DAW and it is not a sequencer. Some people will try to use audacity like a sequencer or DAW and get frustrated because of its limitations. Understand that audacity is not meant to be used that way. It is simply an audio recorder and editor. It is great to use to record sound, add effects and edit tracks by cutting, clipping and deleting, but that's it. Also understand that audacity does not play well with MIDI files. Audio and MIDI are different and audacity was intended to be used for audio. Audacity is great if you just want to use an excerpt of a longer recording. Upload the recording, clip and delete the parts that you don't want and then download the resulting file. Audacity is also great for sampling sounds. Record a sound into audacity, add some effects, delete what you don't want to use then download the file that can then be uploaded into a true DAW or sequencer.



Noteflight is a robust, cloud based music notation app. There is a free version, but it is well worth the subscription price for the full version. Education subscriptions are also available at very reasonable prices. In addition to the music notation software, noteflight's cloud based platform opens up a world of collaboration opportunities to share scores with their more than 3 million subscribers. Join group forums to share ideas and scores, use the worksheet templates to create worksheets for classes, create scores and parts with annotation to add important notes without cluttering the page. Noteflight also integrates with several popular learning management systems such as google classroom. In addition, you can download noteflight midi files directly into's DAW to convert traditional notation into an audio format. Use the DAW to add loops, change instruments or add effects. Noteflight also offers a great blog for music educators filled with helpful articles and a great user/help guide.

Music First

Music First is a cloud-based suite of apps that teachers can customize to create a cloud based classroom. Music First has created or partnered with a number of different music learning apps to create a menu that teachers can use to create a customized set of apps for the classroom. Available apps include: Focus on Sound, Sight Reading Factory, Soundtrap, Auralia, Musition and Noteflight, and more. Music First does not integrate with many popular LMS's because Music First is actually a LMS that can be used to manage your classroom. It is a subscription based service.


Soundflower is an open source kernel extension for MacOS, designed to create a virtual audio output device that can also act as an input. Once Soundflower is downloaded you can go to your system settings and choose 'sound.' Soundflower will have to options to choose from as an output source, Soundflower 2 channel or Soundflower 64 channel. This is really useful because this will allow you to record things from external apps such as your web browser directly into a DAW such as GarageBand or Soundtrap. For example, you could create a song from a web source such as and record it directly into a DAW. There is a catch though. Once you select soundflower as your output, you will not be able to actually hear what is coming out. There is a solution though! I have created a video in the mutechteachernetPro blogs about how to create a multi-output aggregate device in your Mac's sound settings.

If you are using a PC instead of a Mac, here is a link to some alternatives to soundflower --> Link


Make Music is probably better known to music educators by the individual software products that they have developed and own: Finale, Smartmusic, Music XML and Garritan. Finale and Smartmusic have been the industry standard in music notation and student practice software for years. Make Music has responded in recent years to the move towards more cloud based apps by offering more cloud based solutions and uses with Smart Music. Smart Music is now offered in a cloud based platform that works across platforms and devices or it can still be purchased as Smart Music Classic where the software is actually downloaded onto the device (Classic is not compatible with Chromebook). Finale has long been the industry standard for music notation and publishing. It is sold as software that is downloaded onto a Windows or Mac computer. Finale offers an extensive selection of worksheets and templates that can be used to create instructional materials for the classroom.