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Posts tagged with “General website”

Today we’re excited to announce several improvements and new features for the Practice section of Soundslice, the suite of practice tools we launched earlier this year. Let’s dive in!

Edit and delete private notes

You can finally edit private notes — or delete them entirely. Great for fixing typos or adding insights you forgot to include originally.

Click the pencil icon to the right of each private note to open the editing interface:

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For more details, see the help page.

View extended slice practice history

You can now quickly view your practice history for any slice — beyond the default seven-day view. Just click “See more”:

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Rename slices in practice lists

Let’s say you purchased a course from our store but the course’s slices use names like “Part 4(b)” that don’t make sense in your practice list. Or you bookmarked a community slice but its title has one too many emojis for your liking.

Renaming to the rescue!

You can now rename any slice in a practice list, to make it easier for you to find and understand. Renaming is private to you. For more details, see “Renaming slices” on this help page.

Access saved loops more quickly

You gotta love our saved loops feature, where you can save a specific subset of music for quick access.

Now, we’ve made it even easier to access them. When you’re in a practice list and view its list of slices, we now display the saved loops for each slice...

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...and you can click any saved loop name to immediately open that slice with that specific saved loop active. This saves you a few clicks and gets you to practicing even sooner.

A related bonus for power users: saved loops are now bookmarkable in your web browser. (That is, they have a distinct URL that can be bookmarked.)

Dedicated pages for each practice list

Each of your practice lists now has its own dedicated web page, with the full list of slices and the last-practiced date for each. This can help you quickly get a sense of what you haven’t practiced lately.

New design for lists of practice lists

On your main Soundslice homepage and Practice page, we used to display the first four slices for each of your practice lists. Now, we’ve simplified this — we simply display a big, single image for each practice list.

The upshot is that it’s easier to see all of your practice lists, because previously they tended to get buried behind all of the slices.

New mobile navigation

If you’re viewing our site on a phone (and you’re logged in), you’ll notice we’ve added app-like navigation on many pages. It’s the bottom row of icons shown here:

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This gives you quick ways to access the primary sections of our site — including the overview, the slice manager and the practice area.

It works particularly well if you’ve installed Soundslice in your phone’s home screen. (Highly recommended!)

Big news today: we’ve launched a new suite of practice tools, all focused on helping you make the most of the music you have in Soundslice.

We’ve been working for nearly 10 years now on perfecting our player — the core Soundslice experience, combining sheet music with audio/video for multi-dimensional learning. In our opinion, it’s the single best tool for learning and practicing any piece of music.

But beyond specific pieces of music, what about the bigger picture? How do you manage what you’re practicing, how do you stay motivated, and what tools can we provide to help your practice in a broader sense? We’re interested in zooming out — providing more connective tissue for your music-learning life.

Our new practice tools are the first step in addressing this. Here’s an overview of what’s new.

Practice lists

There are many parts to Soundslice, and you as a student can access content in many ways — from a teacher, from our store, from our friendly community or by transcribing or creating sheet music yourself.

Alas, up until now, these areas have been relatively segregated. When you log into your Soundslice account, there are separate sections for courses you’ve purchased, slices shared privately by your teacher, posts from the community and slices you’ve created yourself.

Now there’s a way to organize it all in one place.

Practice lists are a way to bundle slices together, in a specific order, for your own benefit. For example, a practice list could contain a handful of slices you created yourself, plus an Antoine Boyer etude you bought, plus an arrangement from Jake Estner’s channel.

It’s totally open-ended, and you can have multiple lists. You could have a “Warmup routine” practice list, plus a “Working on” list, plus a “Tunes for March 15 gig” list.

You’ll now see a “Practice lists” button at the top of every slice page (assuming you’re logged in). This is how you can add a slice to one of your practice lists, and it looks like this:

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Every Soundslice account gets a free practice list called “Bookmarks” by default. Our previous bookmarks system has been migrated to this and retired. If you used that system, your bookmarks have been automatically imported into your “Bookmarks” practice list.

The ability to create custom practice lists is now available for any Soundslice user in a paid plan. (The Plus plan is the cheapest, at 5 bucks a month — a good deal.) For more on practice lists, see our new help section.

Practicing slices

Organizing slices into lists is all well and good, but we’re launching more than just that today. When you view a slice in context of a practice list, you’ll get all of the Soundslice features you know and love — but you’ll also get some additional functionality.

The first thing you might notice is the left part of the page — it’s a special sidebar only visible for slices in practice lists:

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On smaller screens such as phones, you won’t see this sidebar by default. Open the sidebar by tapping this icon at the top of the page:

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The practice sidebar has three sections, each of which is a brand new Soundslice feature launched today.

Practice log

The practice log is a lightweight way to track your practice history. It’s super simple and (in our experience) provides an extra bit of motivation. Don’t break the streak!

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These circles represent the last seven calendar days, including today. (Today is always on the right.) For each day you practiced this piece of music, the circle is green. This quickly shows you your practice streak.

When you’ve practiced the slice for the day, just click that button to mark it as practiced:

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Man, that’s satisfying.

The practice log on an individual slice only shows seven days, for simplicity. But you can access your full practice history (at least since you started using Soundslice’s practice tools) to dive deeper.

For more info, see the new help page on practice tracking.

Private notes

The second new thing you’ll see on slice practice pages is called private notes. This is a way for you to write down reflections on what you’re learning, breakthroughs on technique, your current best BPM, etc.

These notes are completely private to you. Nobody else can see them, even if the slice is technically owned by somebody else (for example, if you’ve added a community post to your practice list).

It’s a simple and intuitive system, and you can read more about it here.

Saved loops

This one is my favorite! Remember how we launched focus mode back in November? It’s the feature that lets you select an arbitrary section of music and hide everything else, helping you focus.

You can now save a focus mode section, so that you can return to it quickly any time. Essentially this is a way to bookmark a “slice of a slice.”

For any slice in a practice list, simply drag across any part of your notation to create a loop. Then click the “...” button at the upper right of the selection and choose “Save loop.”

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We’ll automatically enter focus mode for your selected section of music, and you’ll be prompted to give the saved loop a name. By default we’ll use the bar range you’ve selected.

When you’ve done that, the newly created saved loop will appear in the sidebar:

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Once you’ve created saved loops, it’s very fast and easy to access them. Just click any of the names in the saved loops section of the practice sidebar, and your notation will instantly enter focus mode with the specific loop selected:

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Playback will automatically loop, and all other notation will magically be hidden — removing distraction and letting you focus on the subset of music.

See our new help page on saved loops for more, and enjoy!

The new practice homepage

And lastly: if you’re logged into your Soundslice account, you’ll now notice a new Practice link in the navigation:

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This page is basically the command center for all of our new practice features. It lets you create (and access) practice lists, and it shows you your practice history.

Next steps

We’re excited about these new features and excited to hear your thoughts about them. Your feedback will help guide us: where should we take this next? Drop a comment below or contact us. Hope you enjoy the new features!

Here’s an improvement that should make it easier to organize the music you’re practicing in Soundslice. You can now bookmark any slice sitewide.

Previously, our bookmark feature was only available on slices that were posted to somebody’s public channel. Now, you can bookmark anything — slices in a course you’ve purchased, slices a teacher has assigned you, slices you’ve created yourself but haven’t posted publicly, etc.

To make this possible, we moved the bookmark icon to the top of the slice page. Previously it was in the “sidebar” area, by the slice description, but only certain slices have sidebars. Here’s what it looks like (the orange icon at top):

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As always, your bookmarks are available on a dedicated bookmarks page for easy access. The latest few are also available on your overview page (the main page you see when you log in).

We’ve made several design improvements to Soundslice, mostly with the goal of making the experience even better on small screens such as smartphones. Here’s what’s new.

Consistent view-vs-edit switching

When working with slices that you’ve created, you’ll now always see the Viewing/Editing toggle at the top of the page:

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Previously, we only showed this toggle in our notation editor. Whenever you viewed one of your slices (i.e., not in the editor), you’d see an “Edit” button at lower right of the page. That button is now gone, and our new design is nice and consistent.

Simplified player header on small screens

Previously, whenever you viewed a slice on a small screen, the top of the page would have two horizontal sections — our sitewide navigation and the slice information:

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This took up too much valuable screen space! On a small screen, each pixel counts. So we’ve changed it to use only a single header:

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This seemingly small change makes things feel a lot less cramped and more spacious.

Improved landscape mode on small screens

When viewing a slice on a small screen in landscape mode, you can now move the video to the left of the notation. We’ve also reduced the size of the controlbar, to give your music even more space.

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Native home-screen experience

This one is really nice for people using Soundslice on their phones. You can now get essentially an “app-like” experience by adding Soundslice to your home screen.

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If you add Soundslice to your home screen, you’ll get a Soundslice icon that lets you use Soundslice without any of the usual web browser UI (such as the back button or URL bar). It makes a big difference!

If you use Soundslice a lot on your phone, we highly recommend doing this to make the best use of your screen space. Read more in our new help page.

Aside from the new Paged layout feature (which got its own announcement), here’s a roundup of other improvements we’ve made to Soundslice recently:

New homepage

We’ve completely redesigned our homepage. It does a much better job of communicating the various things you can do with Soundslice — we hope you’ll agree.

While we were at it, we also added a page about selling on our store.

Improvements to player’s settings menu

We made two small usability improvements to the settings menu:

  1. The “X” button at upper right will now always stick to the upper right, meaning it’s always accessible to quickly close the settings. Previously, if you scrolled downward within settings, you wouldn’t have an easy way to close. This was especially annoying on mobile devices.
  2. The background of the settings menu is now partially transparent — meaning you can still see a bit of notation behind it. This can be helpful when you resize music or switch to Paged layout.

“Replay repeats after jumps” feature

You can now specify whether repeat barlines are honored after a jump such as D.S. al Coda. This one will be appreciated by anybody who frequently creates music in AABA form. :-)

For more, see the new “Replaying repeats after jumps” section in this help page.

Visual improvements to Horizontal layout

We made two subtle improvements to Horizontal layout. Can you spot the differences in these before-and-after animations?

Old:

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New:

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The differences are:

  1. The music now goes “flush” against the left edge — removing that inelegant horizontal space we had previously.
  2. We now add a subtle gradient/shadow effect to communicate that there’s more music offscreen.

Accessibility improvements to player

Thanks to some user feedback, we’ve improved the accessibility of our player for people using it with assistive technologies. Various parts of it are labeled in a clearer way and we hope it’s easier to navigate and use.

Editor: Usability improvement for text entry

When you use our editor’s text features and change the font parameters, we’ll now retain your changes for any subsequent text you add. A nice little productivity booster.

Smarter transposition of tablature

If you use our player’s transposition feature on tablature tracks, we now disallow downward transposition if it would result in unplayable music.

For example, if your tab has a note on an open low E string of a guitar in standard tuning, we no longer allow transposing downward — because that low note can’t go any further down.

Fortunately our transposition works an octave in both directions, so you can always transpose upward if needed.

Improvements to mouse scrolling

Previously our player had some weirdness when scrolling with the mouse — especially noticeable when you tried to scroll diagonally with both horizontal and vertical scrollbars active. This is much smoother and more natural now.

New player JavaScript API methods

We’ve added a few methods to our JavaScript API:

Today, we’ve launched two improvements around the general theme of optimizing your Soundslice workflow:

Per-user permissions for organization accounts

Those of you using organization accounts — which let you share account access with multiple people without sharing passwords — are in for a treat. We’ve added a granular per-user permission system that lets you control what each organization user can do.

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Previously, we only had two levels: either you were an administrator of the organization or not. Now, we’ve added three more permissions:

  • Create slices — specifies whether this user can create slices, duplicate slices or bulk import slices.
  • Delete slices — specifies whether this user can delete slices.
  • Export slices — specifies whether this user can export slices.

More info is in our updated help page.

If you’re an organization admin, you can set these permissions when adding users to your organization or any time afterward.

For backwards compatibility, all existing organization members as of today can create, delete and export slices. If you use our organizations feature, you might want to tweak your users’ permissions depending on your needs. For example, if you’re giving temporary access to an intern, you might want to disable slice deletion for that account as a safety precaution.

Unsynced recordings identified in slice manager

In the slice manager, we used to display syncpoint counts (“35 syncpoints”) under each slice. But when we redesigned the slice manager a little over a month ago, we removed those counts to streamline the page.

Turns out some people were relying on that information to tell, at a glance, whether a slice was “finished” or not. Doh! So we’ve reintroduced this, but in a way that we hope is still streamlined.

The new approach is to display the word “Unsynced” under any slice that has a recording without syncpoints. It looks like this:

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This gives you a way to quickly see whether a slice still needs to be synced — without cluttering the slice manager interface too much. Thanks to the folks who requested this.

Today we’ve launched a reasonably large redesign of our site’s navigation.

Why a redesign? Because our site has grown complex over the years, and it had become a bit unwieldy. Soundslice has a lot of different audiences these days — teachers with students, our community, our store, our embedding customers and people using our notation editor for self-study among other purposes.

In our old design, some of these audiences were served better than others. And it was difficult for new users to understand all the stuff Soundslice can do for them.

So here’s what we’ve changed —

New sidebar for logged-in users

If you’re logged into Soundslice, you’ll now find that most pages have left-hand sidebar navigation:

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This gives you quick access to the various things you might want to do — and it helps communicate the things you can do on Soundslice if you didn’t know about them yet. It also changes the feel of the site in a nice way, making it more unified and “appy.”

If you’re on a device with a smaller screen, you can access this sidebar menu by clicking the “hamburger” icon at upper left.

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New Overview page

When you log into Soundslice, we’ll now take you to a new Overview page. It looks like this:

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This new page gives you quick access to a bunch of things:

  • Your most recently edited slices
  • Your most recently bookmarked slices
  • Your most recently joined private courses (if you’re using Soundslice with a teacher)
  • Your most recently purchased courses from our store
  • The latest posts from people you follow in our community

We’ll only show you the sections that you’ve actually used on our site. For example, if you’ve never bought anything from our store, you won’t see a purchases section in the Overview page.

Previously, when you logged into Soundslice, we took you to your feed — the latest posts by people you follow in our community — whether you followed anybody or not. Now, the Overview page features the latest four posts from people you follow, and you can click Your feed in the sidebar to access the whole feed.

New slice manager design

The slice manager, which lists all the slices you’ve created, has gotten a nice visual refresh.

Aside from some aesthetic changes — such as tighter spacing, new icons and different typography — it also works a lot better on mobile and touch devices.

Quicker workflow for importing

Both the Overview page and the slice manager now have a new Import button:

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This saves some time for common workflows, such as importing a MusicXML file or transcribing a YouTube video.

Unified global search button

If you’re logged in, you’ll now see a prominent search box on nearly every page of the site. This will let you search either your own slices or community posts — you decide when you search, by selecting the appropriate option:

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Previously, if you wanted to search your own slices, you had to go to your slice manager first. Now, you can search your own slices from many other parts of the site.

New navigation and design for the store

The Soundslice store has a new look. We’ve given it a bespoke header, to communicate that this is really a standalone thing.

We’ve made various improvements here, such as including a consistent link to “Your cart” in the upper right, tweaking the navigation and providing quick access to your purchases.

New navigation on slice pages

When you’re viewing a slice, you’ll now get a contextual Back button at upper left, depending on where you accessed that slice from. For example, if you accessed the slice via your bookmarks, it’ll say “Your bookmarks.” If you accessed it from via your feed, it’ll say “Your feed.”

The header is also a bit smaller — providing more vertical space for the slice’s music itself.

We have some further plans here, too. Now that the slice page’s header has been cleaned up, this gives us a place to put other slice-specific controls in a consistent way. Stay tuned.

Notification icon always visible

When you’re logged in, you’ll now always have access to your notifications via the bell icon in the upper right of every page.

Previously, this notifications page was buried in the “Your feed” page and many people didn’t realize it even existed.

Note that we don’t actually change this icon’s display based on whether you have any notifications. We might do that someday, but for now you’ll need to click the icon to see the notifications.

No changes for embeds

If you’re using our Licensing plan to embed Soundslice on your own site, it will continue to look and work exactly the same way. Nothing has changed in our embedded player.

Feedback?

We’d love to hear your thoughts on these changes, plus any other suggestions you might have.

We’re excited to announce we’ve created a comprehensive Help section that covers all aspects of our site: using our player, creating slices, teaching, embedding, posting to channels and more. Here’s the link.

Not only are many aspects of our product properly documented now for the first time ever, but this Help section also has a fresh new design and its own search engine.

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Some examples of what you’ll find in there:

We’ve spent a lot of time on this behind the scenes — writing, designing, coding, making screenshots/videos — and we hope it helps you use Soundslice even more effectively. We’ll continue to improve these pages and keep them updated over time.

We’ve begun work this week to translate much more of our site into languages other than English. Can you help?

Our player itself has been available in 10 languages for a while, but we’ve begun expanding our translation efforts to cover more of our site. Private courses, login/logout, community/channels, our store — there’s a lot to cover.

Are you a Soundslice user who’s willing to help translate our site into your native language? Please get in touch!

Today, we’re launching Soundslice Licks, a new part of our site that compiles licks and interesting musical snippets — all transcribed and synced with performance videos. They’re “daily musical morsels.”

Every serious musician is always on the lookout for new stuff for his or her bag of tricks: licks, voicings, chord melodies, techniques. As musicians ourselves, we figured we’d make a place to collect these sorts of things.

It has no ads, no spam and no BS — just high-quality licks for you to enjoy and learn from, using our beautiful player. And hopefully you’ll discover some fantastic musicians you didn’t know about.

Use Instagram? We post most licks to our Instagram account, @soundslice_music. Use RSS? We have an RSS feed, too, so you never miss a lick. Don’t use either? Just bookmark soundslice.com/licks and check it out every day.

Enjoy!

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