Paperless Music Composition Lessons

I shared this a long time ago on the FB group, but thought I’d repost here with the fresh start. Music composition lessons were very paper-expensive when I was a student, and I’ve gotten them to be largely paperless with my iPad Pro, GoodNotes, PDF Expert, and Dropbox. I wrote about the whole workflow here. It has (I think) a good way of sharing GoodNotes documents with others. They can’t edit my GoodNotes notebooks, but they can read them, and the link I send is persistent, so I don’t need to re-send it each time I update the notebook.

In brief:

  • Students have digital notebooks in Goodnotes that I write in with the expectations for each future lesson. These get “backed up” automatically as PDFs in Dropbox. Then, Hazel copies those PDFs to a Dropbox folder that I share with the student. That way, they always know what the assignment is for next week’s lesson.
  • Students can also upload to that Dropbox folder. They put scores, sketches, drawings, form diagrams, photos, recordings, etc. there. We can review those in the lesson. I use PDF Expert’s Dropbox sync so I can pull them up right away, mark all over them, and they’re all marked up the next time the student opens their work at home.
  • Each student also has a Spotify playlist that I share with them which either of us can add to. I add listening assignments, and students add things that they want me to hear so we can talk about them in a future lesson.

I don’t mention the Hazel stuff in that article because it’s a different audience than MPU (lots of Windows users and non-automation-geeks), but it’s a pretty straightforward file-moving recipe.