The Apps I Can't Live Without

The right app makes all the difference, right?  And while I’ve written about the apps I use in my studio while teaching, I haven’t shared the apps I just can’t live without for the business side of my studio.  That’s about to change!

What makes a great app

These days, there are a few things that I value above all else when it comes to apps.

  • Easy of use … including the initial learning curve.
  • Customer service … because things will go wrong at some point.
  • Updates … Are user requests added over time or is it a one & done type app?
  • Multiple device use … Can I start on my computer, pick it up on my iPad, & check reports on my cell?
  • Cost & Value … Least expensive isn’t necessarily the best, but the cost needs to be shown in the value I get from the app

Most of the apps I will be sharing are can be used on multiple devices.  These are online apps that also have iOS apps available.  An online app is one that is accessed through a browser (i.e. Edge, Safari, Chrome, etc.).  This means that I can easily start something on my Microsoft computer & seamlessly continue working on my iPad (Apple).  No more struggling to use 2 different systems!

The legend I’ll be using is:

  • Online app: OA
  • iPad or iPhone app: iOS

* Keep in mind that not all of the apps will work on the iPhone & even if they do it may not have all the same capabilities.

Planning Lessons

  • Planboard (OA, iOS): Digital lesson planning & practice pages. Easy to set up templates for different levels, teaching schedule, plus vacation days.
  • Google Drive (OA, iOS): Resources, student annual plans, studio calendar & client information … easy to email links to resources.
  • Evernote (OA, iOS): Online resources, notes, & anything else that you would like to access quickly.
  • ScanBee (iOS): Great for scanning scores (or excerpts) for student to work with during lab time.
  • Word or Pages (OA, iOS): Microsoft vs. Apple … it’s whatever works for you.  Create worksheets with scanned scores.  Save them as a PDF & it’s easy to add to Google Drive & access from any device.  iOS link for Word … Pages app is included on iPad.

* iOS 11:  Option to scan documents in Notes app.  You will still need transfer the note to another program to create a worksheet.

Running a Studio

  • Square (OA, iOS): Create recurring invoices, accept payments, send receipts (even for cheques & cash payments), track payments & overall income.  Tax reports available.
    • Link is for Canadian vendors.  Check other country availability here.
  • WordPress (OA, iOS): Studio site, easy to update on the fly.
  • Canva (OA, iOS): Create professional images with ease.
  • LastPass (OA, iOS): Instead of remembering 101 unique usernames & passwords, access them all with a master password.  Also generates strong passwords for you!

Keeping in contact with students & parents

  • MailChimp (OA, iOS): Studio newsletters & studio wide communications.  If you have a small studio, this is a great option since it has a free tier.
  • Active Campaign (OA, iOS): If you have a larger studio, this is a great option.  It also includes features that you pay a higher price for with Mail Chimp.  Choose the option that best fits the audience (number of people) you will be regularly sending to.
  • Facebook (OA, iOS): Studio page or group, quickly add a picture or video for parents to share & stay engaged.
  • FaceTime (iOS): #1 choice in my studio for ‘make-up’ lessons.  Comes with iPad & iPhone.
  • YouTube (OA, iOS): #2 choice in my studio for ‘make-up’ lessons.  Upload private video lessons or send students to listen to great recordings during the week.
  • iMessage (iOS): #1 choice for students to reach out for help during the week.  Comes with iPad & iPhone.
    • Students & clients can use your email when texting so your cell number stays private.

What are a few of YOUR favourite things?

We all have apps that we just can’t live without.  The ones that make the business side of our studio run a little smoother & enjoy the other aspects of our jobs.

In the comments below, share the business apps that you absolutely LOVE!

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