Friday, February 3, 2012

APP Review: iPhone/Pad Sound Production For Saxophone, Walter Beasley

By Mark T. Burke

Walter Beasley, Sound Production for Saxophone.  I was really excited to download this app since I've been eager to investigate the use of APPs for applied instrumental instruction.  Overall, I have to say while the app provides some great instruction, it is essentially a portal to videos, videos that are actually downloaded (and quiet large -- almost 400 MB). In it's early stages, it misses a few opportunities to provide really powerful instruction, but I applaud the effort and look forward to seeing how the app develops over time. Thank you Walter for taking a risk and diving into a pond that few know what is swimming in it. 

The APP is huge, almost 400MB, so be prepared to tie up your iPad/Phone for a while.  The app has a main menu that forces landscape view and is small for the iPad.  The main interface provides a link to the instructional areas. Keep in mind, the instruction is aimed at jazz sax playing.  Walter covers a great set of topics, so most will find a key area of interest. 

The video quality, on a scale of 1-5, with 1 being weak and 5 being fantastic, is a 3+.  The videos are shot in a space without distractions, however, they feel a little confined.  Visual aids are limited and this is where I feel a real opportunity for growth exits.  Creating surround visuals would turn this app into a real powerhouse.  Written instructions, charts and procedural steps demonstrated on screen would be a great way to create a real iPad learning environment and a way to build a premium app (as compared to the iPhone version). 

Sound quality is good with only a few instances where the dynamics of the sax are a bit too much for the audio capture system. 

Walter also offers an app on Circular Breathing.  I will write about that asa I review it.

In summary, my comments may sound harsh, but I believe as we all progress in the direction of app based and online resources, we will be held to high standards.  A collaborative, non judgemental approach will help us build our presence in this industry.  Congrats Walter...

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