New and innovative ways to better use the iPad in teaching!
I discovered Musi this week through this post from iFans. Musi (free) is an iOS application that allows you to stream audio (and video) content directly from YouTube. Since almost all popular songs out there are readily available on YouTube, this app will definitely come in handy during a variety of situations, both for the classroom and for personal purposes. This app has very recently been updated to reflect the cleaner, flatter look of the upcoming iOS7 operating system. The resulting user-interface is stunning.
While Musi is not a native iPad app, you can use the iPhone version and scale it up, since, for all intents and purposes, you are not really going to be relying on the screen while music is playing. A hope for an iPad version would be a small request for the future.
Great about this app is that the music is not stored onto your device, but rather streaming from the Internet. You will not have to worry about the songs/videos taking up storage on your iPads/iPhones. That being said, Musi will also work on a data/cellular connection, but you probably won't want to stream music while outside of wifi. With a strong wifi connection, however, your tunes will be good to go and stream without any lag.
I teach guitar privately outside of my full-time teaching load. Most, if not all, of my students enjoy learning songs that they hear on the radio. I end up heavily relying on YouTube when I don't own the mp3 of the requested songs. Using Airplay, I have streamed the music videos onto my speakers, and we play along the tracks. There are times when a particular student will be distracted by the music videos. Now, Musi will fix that problem. While I certainly have the option to view the video, where this app shines is that I can choose to listen to the audio only.
Users will save battery life when playing music by locking the screen of the device: music will continue to play in the background even when you use other apps.
Finding music is easy: type in the artist or title, and tap “Add Song”. You can also choose from four categories within the home search screen:
1. Most Liked
3. Our Picks (More “Indie” style songs that are not your typical “Top-40″ selections
4. Top Charts (Songs with millions upon millions of YouTube views) I would suggest choosing the official “Vevo” videos.
If what's suggested within these four categories does not suit your musical tastes, go directly to the Search YouTube at the top of the search screen.
Applications For The Classroom:
Using Airplay with Musi and AppleTV worked beautifully. Sound was pushed to the television speakers and the “Now Playing” screen appeared, with album artwork, just as if I was playing a song from my own iTunes library.
A wish for future updates is the ability to skip/go back tracks directly from the lock screen. However, for a free app, this is a must-have for iOS users who enjoy streaming music, music that they choose, entirely free of cost. There are countless other music-streaming options out there (Songza, RDio, and Pandora to name a few). Many are subscription based and require a small monthly fee. How Musi is better than those is that you can choose exactly which songs you want to hear. You can create as many infinite playlists as you want. The new user-interface is impressive, and the feature that you can play music in background (with your screen locked or while using other apps) is great.
If you are not an audiophile (they will say that YouTube's music is much too compressed and not high-quality enough), this app is perfect for you.
Here is a short video demonstration of Musi, showing the search and play functions:
Finally, check out a recent newscast on the creators of Musi, three teenagers from Winnipeg, Canada, here.