iPhone and iPad apps are extraordinary music tools, whether you want to teach music theory, introduce an instrument, encourage students who are interested in composition, or simply inspire some fun improvisation in your classes. Apps range from very sophisticated (“WI Orchestra,” for example, provides a full orchestral library and compositional tool for professional musicians), to whimsical (“Ocarina” transforms your iPhone into a virtual wind instrument). Note that for this list of ten, there are hundreds available through the iTunes Store that may expand upon what you need or are designed for a more appropriate student level. Whatever your interest, stay open to the possibilities, as new music apps are continually being designed.
1.Garage Band – This digital audio workstation and music sequencer provides a multi-layered platform from which to learn and compose music. Built into the software are over 100 synthesized instruments that can be used to create music tracks. The user’s own voice or instrumentals can also be recorded into the production to generate digital files for multiple tracks that can be controlled and edited. The latest versions of Garage Band feature contemporary artists as “music teachers” who present musical analysis and instruction of popular songs. (iPhone/iPad)
2. ACappella – This simple song recording app can be used to record voices into tracks that can be played at the same time or one by one. The user can adjust the volume, tempo, and time signature. The app was designed for ease of sharing files: song URL’s can be posted to Facebook and Twitter or shared on a special website called “SingSing.” (iPhone/iPad)
Learning Music Notation and Theory
3. Notes for Little Composers – Designed for ages 3 and up, this app can be used to introduce beginners to music notation and basic composition. The user taps on the treble clef screen to make notes, hear the names of notes, and create simple songs. Ideal as an accompaniment to starting music lessons. (iPhone/iPad)
4. Ear Trainer – This app is designed for beginning to advanced music students, and provides exercises on intervals, chords, scales, and relative pitch. A virtual piano keyboard helps you recognize the notes that have been played. Individual progress is tracked so that users can pinpoint areas of strength or weakness. (iPhone/iPad)
5. ImproVox– Record your voice into your device and create harmonies as you sing. This app demonstrates effects such as reverb and echo, and enables you to generate 4-part harmonies in different styles. (iPhone/iPad)
6. Percussive – This iPad app enables users to experience the look and sound of five percussive instruments: glockenspiel, marimba, vibraphone, xylophone, and kalimba. Users can explore the sense of hard and soft mallet playing with good sound and realistic visuals. (iPad)
7. Real Piano PRO– Bring grand piano sound to any location with this full 88-key piano app. Users can customize the key labels and easily transpose music to a higher or lower key. (iPhone/iPad)
8. iBone – This app enables the user to instantly create trombone music on the iPhone or iPad. Touch the trombone’s slide to change pitch, and blow to make the sound. The songbook enables you to pick a tune that instructs which rings to hit at the right time. While it is appropriate for beginners, professional trombonists have also commented that the app is first-rate for learning slide positions. (iPhone/iPad)
9. TabToolkit – This guitar tablature and notation viewer can be used for learning guitar and practicing music. The interface shows a fret board or keyboard with finger positions and/or standard music notation. Upload tabs from your computer or download from the Internet. (iPhone/iPad)
10. Metronome: Tempo – Completely accurate and stable metronome app with pendulum animation and 13 different sound sets (digital, wooden, shaker, etc.). Thirty-five different time signatures can be accessed by holding down the meter button. (iPhone/iPad)
But now I want to hear from you!! What are your favourite IPhone and iPad Apps? Do you have others that you think should go on this list? Do you already use any of these applications listed? What are your experiences? Be sure to add a comment in the feedback box below so that together we can collect an extensive list of applications to benefit all Music Teachers.