Scheduling the start time of your tuning procedures
Did you ever wish that you could begin tuning exactly at the same time each day? How cool would it be for the tuning reference pitches to sound at the same time each day?
For years now, many string teachers have been using the tuning sequence that I put it up on this blog. I have mentioned in several of my presentations that I have had success in automating the start of the tuning sequence to match the start time of each of my classes.
One of our subscribers asked me recently exactly how I accomplished this. In the past I had a simple alarm clock app that I was able to program to trigger an iTunes playlist, which was my tuning sequence. Some time has passed, and that app is no longer available, so I searched the web and the app store for replacements. The apps that I found on the Apple App Store, are either too basic and don’t let you customize, or would fit the bill perfectly, but are around $10 and $15. I prefer the free route!
Before you begin…
If you haven’t done so, download the tuning sequence tracks, import them into iTunes, and create a playlist named “Tuning Sequence” in iTunes.
Download Tuning Sequence files (mp3)
You are now ready to begin automating…
There is no reason that a simple task such as triggering the playback of of an iTunes playlist could not be completed with the help of a script. The tool to create scripts on a Mac is called Automator. You can find it in your Applications folder. Automator has many great “actions” – things that it can do. You can add actions to a workflow, then save the workflow for use later. Automator also allows you to save the actions as a custom app. That is, a file that you can double click, and run the series of actions.
For simplicity, I have created an Automator app that will launch an iTunes playlist named “Tuning Sequence.” The exact naming of the playlist is essential for the Automator actions to work.
Part 2: Scheduling the launch of the Automator app
The scheduling of the script to launch seemed a little bit more complicated. With a little research and experimentation, I have found away to automate the training sequence and schedule it at any time and any day you would like using iCal.
- Open iCal (or “Calendar” as it has more recently been titled).
- Use the “File” menu to create a NEW calendar. (You probably don’t want your tuning times mixed in with your regular calendars!)
- Create a calendar event on a day by double clicking on the day. Name the event something like “Concert Orchestra,”or “3rd period, ” etc.
- Adjust the start time of the event to match your class so that it exact. (If your school clocks don’t match your computer, then you should compensate for the difference). The end time doesn’t really matter too much.
- When editing your event, pull down the alerts menu and select “custom“
- In the alerts submenu, change “Message” to “Open File.” When you do this, you will be presented with a search box to find a file. Select the Play Tuning Sequence Playlist App you made with Automator or downloaded here.
You can then copy & paste the event you created onto different days. If you don’t have class that day, you just leave iCal blank. You can also copy & paste the event, then change the class name and time to fit your schedule.
To recap, I essentially created a clickable app (script) using Automator, and saved it as a Mac application. Then, I used iCal to schedule the launch of that application.
Watch the video below to see how I used iCal to do to schedule the launch of the tuning sequence…
I hope this is useful for you!
Please provide your comments and questions below. Best of luck to you all in the upcoming school year!