What I Use

What I use to make music and videos for students, JW Pepper, my website, and YouTube. 

I wouldn’t say I’m cheap, but the cost for a lot of things can prevent an eager person from learning a lot of tools. So… all of these are free. Even if they offer paid features I use the completely free one to do some or all of what I need. 

Drum notation on the go


I can’t always pull out my laptop for drumline and percussion ideas. Drum Break Creator is an app for phones and tablets that will let you easily jot down ideas. It doesn’t have all the features you’d need or rhythms for a full complex score but if you’re trying to write out an idea for a snare part and you don’t want to forget it, OR you’re trying to explain a part to a student over email this is a big help. Some of the playback is a little uneven at times but it’s still the best tool. 

To show how useful it is I even wrote a drum book using only this app. Checkout HOT NUGGS


Musescore is like Finale or Sibelius. Full-featured, complete scoring and engraving of all music and ensemble types. It’s free. 100% free. I pay for an annual pro membership to their website but you can use the program for free. They have an app but it’s just to browse their library of lessons and user created music. You can’t create with it. 


The bonus with this is that instead of screen capturing a score playback this will export your score as a video. You can even upload directly to YouTube. 

The drumline sounds are fantastic. No more wishing for Virtual Drumline or suffering with sounds of toys for a drumline. There are a few accessories that sound a little strange. The brake drum is a little different from what I would want and you can get a good sound for certain cymbal effects like rolls, but still 10 out of 10. 

Edit it all


Any video, screenshot, screen capture, or new video I edit or create with Splice. It’s free. Powerful. This is really easy for anyone to use. Some text effects are limited but you can edit, cut, chop, slice, and even use their huge library of music and sounds. Exporting in 4K can take a long time for longer videos and you can’t navigate away from the app while it’s finishing your video. You can choose a lower resolution if needed but you won’t really notice unless your vides are 20-30 minutes or longer. A video over an hour takes a long time. Maybe your phone or tablet will be faster than mine.