By Douglas Stefaniak
If you’re like me, lately you’ve been trying to find more things to do at home. One thing that most musicians and students are realizing is that they have more time than ever to practice. And with all this extra time, we need to get creative. That is why I have put together a list of apps that will help supercharge your music practice! They add a great level of motivation and diversity for any online instrument lesson. You can practice for more time, be more efficient, and be creative while doing it. These are apps that I always use in my own practice and teaching, so I know they work!
1. GuitarTuna: Guitar, Bass tuner
GuitarTuna is an app that makes tuning your instrument extremely easy. The app shows you what string you’re tuning so there is no confusion, and you will hear a ding when you are right in tune! This app is great because it keeps you in tune for practice and your online lessons! GuitarTuna is also great because it has a metronome, chord library, and various games!
2. Music Tutor
Music Tutor is a sight reading app that I use in my lessons all the time. I really like this app because you can really customize the experience you’ll have when practicing. You can help your sight reading by limiting (or expanding) the notes you have to name, choose different clefs, or even answer by tapping the correct piano keys! There are different durations of quizzes, options to turn on sharps or flats, and even a practice alarm that remind you to play at the same time everyday!
With everything being online these days, having an app to organize all of your music is essential. That’s where forScore comes in! The app is able to copy PDF files from other apps like Safari and Mail, and keep them all in one place. There are multiple ways to view the music for performance, and you can annotate music like you do on Zoom lessons! Another cool feature is the ability to connect a foot-controlled page turner so you don’t have to worry while playing an instrument. Many of the teachers at Orpheus use this app, and so do many professional musicians that perform live regularly!
Tenuto is an app produced by musictheory.net that takes music theory learning to the next level. You can construct notes with Solfege or letter names. You can identify scales and chords. Are you looking to start learning guitar or transfer your skills to another instrument?. You can by learning to identify everything on a guitar or piano! This app was recommended to me many years ago, and it has only improved since then. If you are serious about learning how music really works, at both the beginner and advanced levels, this app is for you.
BandLab is a music creation platform that allows you to record multi-track recordings on PC or mobile. Have a CD Project coming up? This your answer! This app makes it easy to work with your ensemble partners to create performances while social distancing! You can play virtual instruments, create loops to play over, and “fork” (remix) music that other users have uploaded. This app allows you to be creative with others, something that everyone can benefit from right now!
6. Music Flash Class
Music Flash Class is another sight reading app that has different, fun games to name notes! My personal favorite is Hot Potato, where a timer counts down until a buzzer goes off! Another great one is play until you name a wrong note. Because of the games, it really doesn’t even feel like practice!
Here are some bonus resources that Orpheus recommends!
This is a website that shows you how to improve your practice, performance, and approach to music. Using scientifically backed research, Noa Kageyama gives you practice “hacks” that can improve your playing. Whether it’s finding motivation or being efficient, he has the answers to your questions. There is a blog, podcast, and free resources! I personally still use these resources all the time.
Ever seen amazing piano videos online or on Youtube like this? SeeMusic can do this for you with the click of a button! SeeMusic is available on the Mac App Store, and will produce visuals like particles and lights to match seamlessly to your playing. This download allows users to understand harmony through color, and create videos extremely easily. You could share them in your online music classes for all your friends!
What apps have you been using lately?