Every now and again I come across something that is really useful and loaded with potential and power for my teaching. PlayScore 2 is exactly that and I wanted to share with you my thoughts on this powerful app.
What is Play Score 2?
PlayScore 2 is an app that lets you scan music and then hear it played back. Yes, you read that correctly – Scan then Listen. I can’t help but think back to when I first started learning to play the clarinet when I was younger. Imagine having a way of scanning some music so that you can hear how it goes! Amazing – and lets not even think about the fact that when I started learning an instrument there was no internet or mobile phones.
PlayScore 2 is therefore a very powerful tool and that is why I thought it was blog worthy. It is available from the Apple App Store and Google Store.
PlayScore 2 has recently had an update and it is packed full of features that are all really useful. In a moment I will consider how this apply to classroom music teachers, but for now, here are the range of features available in the newest version:
- Orchestrate your scores – choose from 18 high quality instruments per stave
- Choirs and ensembles – Learning a new piece? Create a Playable Score, so each member can listen to their part on its own or standing out from the others
- Snap music with your camera or import images and PDFs. PlayScore 2 will play it right back to you, scrolling through the song following bar by bar
- Create and share Playable Multi-page Score Documents that anyone can play back using our free interactive player (built into PlayScore 2)
- Export MIDI and Full Notation MusicXML to score editors like Finale, Sibelius, MuseScore and Dorico, with dynamics, articulation, trills, turns, repeats, slurs etc, even tremolo, not just notes and rests
As you can see, this is a powerful music recognition tool that gives you the ability to listen, create, share and learn.
Music Teacher Review
I guess the most useful thing is for me to review this from the music teacher point of view. Is this product something that every music teacher needs. My simple answer is, yes, it really is.
Imagine you are in a lesson and you are studying some music, but you don’t have a piano or any instruments to hand. The students want to hear how it sounds. Well, scan it in and let Play Score do the rest. It is that simple that the results are fantastic. There are so many occasions where this is useful. If a student is playing a solo in a GCSE class you can quickly scan in the music, allowing them to hear exactly how it should sound. In an ensemble setting you can scan in music to provide students with an audio guide to the piece – very helpful particular if they can’t make a rehearsal.
This app is giving you the power to bring music to life for your students and it is something I know I will use more and more. It is also an app I would recommend to students who are studying music at GCSE & A-Level. They have the ability to import PDFs and allow Play Score to play the music back to them – such a great way to support their learning. Websites such as IMSLP have such a wealth of music available, and using the app students can instantly hear what a piece of music sounds like. They can then slow it down, speed it up and highlight specific sections.
Application in teaching
So many things come to mind for ways in which this app can support teaching:
- Playback of accompaniment for performances in class – sometimes a piano isn’t available or an accompanist.
- Bringing to life scores and sheet music quickly and easily.
- Creating audio instantly.
I was teaching the other day and a student wanted to see how the accompaniment sounded for their next solo performance. I got my phone out, scanned the music and they could listen straight away. This was such a powerful process for me as a teacher and for them as a student wanting to get ready for a performance.
PlayScore 2 is one of the most powerful music apps that I have on my phone. Alongside my tuners, metronomes and streaming apps, PlayScore 2 provides that extra piece in the puzzle. It gives me the ability to take a photo of something and then hear it, instantly. What a great way to bring music to life! I recommend this app to all music teachers who want the power to bring music t life for their students.I also recommend it to music students who are often frustrated when learning a new piece or needing an accompaniment when practising.