App #31: OnSong – A Music Teacher’s Must-Have App [Promo Codes available!]

OnSong Logo Full Color
Icon 1024

Introduction:

The app OnSong (official app link) is primarily a musician's app, geared towards band leaders and worship leaders in church. OnSong is a fully featured app, which includes connecting devices such as foot pedals for guitarists and keyboardists. I have been a user of OnSong since the iPad 1 days of 2010. As a worship leader in church, I have found it extremely useful to lead using this app. I prepare my sets and play the guitar and sing with OnSong. It just takes a quick swipe to the left to switch to the next song.

However, instead of reviewing the app from a worship leader's perspective, I am going to review this app with a slightly different take: as a conductor for a choir. A lot of what I used OnSong for can be transferred to a music teacher's needs for a quality app for displaying and reading music.

This was the second year that I was able to conduct the Christmas choir with my iPad. Last year I used Goodreader, which was great in that I could organize all the songs in the particular order that I wanted. I was able to use the tabs feature which was efficient.

This year I decided to try OnSong. It is primarily an app for musicians to create sets easily. You can easily import your songs into OnSong through Dropbox. Once songs are imported, they are saved locally on your iDevice (it works for iPhone too, though the screen may be too small to read from that far a distance). The advantages of OnSong over Goodreader in this instance was that I could simply swipe left to get to the next song, and that I could scroll up and down to get to the next page (instead of using tabbed browsing). As a conductor, I appreciated the ability to see the next page before normally having to wait until the last bar to “turn” it. I easily scrolled to the bottom of the page and was able to see the top of the following one.

Before the iPad, I always had to find little flashlights to securely attach to my music stand to be able to see the music. With the iPad, the light that is emitted directly from it obviously allowed me to use it instead of relying on another light source (The performances were in the “dark”, with lights shining on the choir, but not necessarily on the conductor.) Overall, I greatly preferred conducting with the iPad over sheet music. I was given a small speaking part in the musical, and was able to quickly switch over to Goodreader for the script to view it.

OnSong in Music Class

If you are a music teacher, I would recommend trying out OnSong. It costs $7.99USD, and Jason Kichline (the developer) is always tweaking it and improving it through updates.

  • If you have a group of songs that you will be working on in class, simply take a few moments before class and set them up in order. Save the set as a “lesson” and use it again if you teach multiple classes of the same grade.
  • You can import MSWORD documents as well as PDFs. Scan your paper sheet music (most newer photocopiers have this feature), email them to yourself, and put them all in Dropbox, then “Open in” OnSong. Sets can be saved and named whatever you'd like.
  • You can also leave yellow “Post-it” notes on each song, perhaps indicating the order of verses and choruses. If other members of your band or group also own the app, you can beam your sets wirelessly to them, and all your orders and notes will be shown.
  • Pianists playing large sets would love it too. No more need to get page-turners or fiddle with heaps of sheet music!
  • Finally, you are easily able to email your sets to your musicians (or students) and whoever else might need it.

OnSong is a universal app available for iPad, and iPhone/iPod touch.

Here are some screenshots of OnSong:

Setlists are fully editable, remove, add, change order within seconds
These are the sharing options for your set
When sharing your set, you have a large variety of options on the output format

Conclusion:

As a musician, I used to carry this huge binder full of sheet and chord music. I took pride in alphabetizing all my music, and always returned paper after each use. Now, the binder is sitting in my office, barely used at all. With Dropbox integration and OnSong, all of the contents are now ready to be used, right on my iPad. No more paper to be shuffled, no more wasted photocopies. As a music teacher, I would highly recommend OnSong. If any of you need any help with uploading through Dropbox, please don't hesitate to ask me.

Promo Codes:

Jason has generously offered me to give out a few copies of OnSong for free. So, if you are a teacher or song leader who think they would benefit from it, please let me know in the comments how. I will contact you by email if chosen. As usual, to qualify to be chosen, simply:

  • Leave a comment here
  • Follow me on Twitter (if you have a Twitter account)
  • Share this (or any other post from this blog) on Twitter, Pinterest, or Facebook (see below)

 

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25 Comments Add yours

  1. Kevin says:

    I’ve just got an Ipad last fall and am trying to integrate it into our worship team / choir. Your website has been a big help. Thanks for taking the time to share with others.

    1. Kevin, thanks for the comment. Let me know if you’d like a promo code.

  2. Daniel says:

    Thank You for the review.
    I recently heard about this app from a friend and think it could be good for me.
    The Internet is a great source for music and tabs, but time consuming moving between the various websites to change songs.
    Is there content available through the Onsong app? Or, do you have to import everything?
    What is your favourite source for music content?
    Thanks for your time.

    1. There is no content available directly through OnSong. I use CCLI but you have to have a subscription. I also had a bunch of songs on MSWord from years back that were uploaded to Dropbox. Syncing through Dropbox is effortless.

      I am looking into trying to get the school to purchase a document scanner where teachers can easily and quickly scan to PDF.

      Would you like a promo code?

      I still have a few.
      Steve

      1. Daniel says:

        Wow! Really?
        I would really appreciate a code.
        I would start playing with it immediately! I can’t wait!
        Thank you in advance. Dan.

  3. Is there one promo code still available for me ?

    1. No. Unfortunately the codes have expired. The developers have no more remaining for the time being.
      Steve

      1. Fair enough, also, if you now, when I buy the latest onsong version, 1.962, will I be able to get version 2 as well, or would I have to buy it again, I read somewhere that the app was released twice, and people who bought the first version had to buy onsong again for some reason.

      2. From OnSong:

        “We are unable to support OnSong 1.921 or earlier versions any longer.
        If you are being prompted to purchase the new version, please do so
        that we can continue to support you in the future. You will also
        receive OnSong 2.0 when released. If you require a refund, please
        report a problem through your iTunes purchase history.

        The reason for this is because we had to start a new company to
        prevent the app from being shutdown. Apple does not allows apps to be
        transferred between companies, resulting in us launching OnSong as a
        new app on the app store. Unfortunately Apple has not provided
        assistance in upgrading our users for free outside of refunds.”

  4. Cheryl says:

    i would love a promo code if you’ve got any left!
    I’m a worship leader, choral conductor and composer. =)
    heard about OnSong from a colleague in the UK and have been reading about how much of a time saver it is for the worship team!

    1. Unfortunately the codes have expired. The developers have no more remaining for the time being.
      Steve

      1. Cheryl says:

        ah well, =)
        it looks to be worth the pricetag, will purchase the app now!
        thank you again for your review!

  5. Chris says:

    I’m quite interested in this app for leading our student worship and Sunday morning worship. I play the guitar and sing so having the binder is vital to me but turning pages is terrible. I’d love to see how this could make my life easier and seamlessly connect our worship times.

    Do you find it takes a long to time to get sets put together?

    Also do you use it with the Bluetooth pedal for turning pages or metronome options?

    1. It literally just takes a couple minutes to prepare a set now. No more loose paper! My team is still hanging on to paper and binders but I just show up with an iPad and a guitar!

      I have used the pedals yet. Hope to in the near future.

      1. Jim says:

        I looked at the AirTurn pedals but ended up going with the less expensive PageFlip Cicada, which is also directly supported in OnSong. I play bass and also sing in our Worship Team and have been using OnSong for a year and a half and have also retired my 3-ring binder! The Cicada makes flipping pages forward and back a breeze.

        As far as set creation, you click on the + to create a new sett and click to add songs. The order you click on songs is the order they are added. When you are done, you can drag and drop the songs around to reorder them. Real easy.. And since 3 of us in the band are using OnSong, we can wireless share and individual chart or the whole set with each other. It’s a great product and well worth the low price. I’m looking forward to the Android release so we can get the whole band on it.

      2. Thanks Jim for your input! I’ll check out the Cicada!
        Steve

  6. Melvin Joash says:

    I play Guitar and Piano for worship in my church. This is a great App for me! I would really love to have a promo code as it would be a great help to me and my team.

    1. Unfortunately the promo codes have expired. Thanks for the comment anyways.

  7. Donny Assis says:

    Hi! My name is Donny, I’m from Brazil and I’ve just got an iPad along with OnSong app. I’d like to know how to use it. And how to insert some files in that, Could you help me out? Thanks!!!

    1. First start with Dropbox, connect Dropbox with Onsong to import all your sheet music. There are many video tutorials on YouTube. Look up their official account at “onsongapp”.

  8. isaiahsantiesteban says:

    I’am on the worship team and i play the Guitar but i heard of the app onsong and i wanted to see if you guys can give me a code or something for i can get one for free thank you.

  9. Austin says:

    I’m a worship leader at my church, and I’ve always had a hard time with sheet music and a promo code would sound awesome.. 🙂

    1. A few months late. Thanks for commenting anyways!

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