Musicians, teachers, and students — listen up! Did you know you have a wealth of resources available to help you learn scales, improve your rhythm, check your pitch, and teach you new techniques? In fact, they’re all probably in your pocket or bag right now. That’s right — you can find them all on your smartphone!
Apps have come a long way in recent years, presenting new and creative ways to make your life easier. And for musicians in particular, it’s convenient and easy to have tuner apps, metronome apps, drum machine apps, and more at your fingertips. With the help of your teacher, you can figure out ways to supplement your lessons and get some extra practice time in, whether you want a fun game to help you with music theory, or the guitar chords to your favorite songs.
With that said, what are the best apps for singers, guitar players, and drummers to have on hand? Which apps are great for all musicians? Continue reading this guide, and learn all about our favorite music apps.
The Best Apps for Musicians – Why Use Them?
Haven’t jumped on the app bandwagon yet? As you continue reading through this guide, you’ll learn about tons of great apps to download, from free metronome apps to help you improve your rhythm to guitar chord charts for those impromptu jam sessions.
But first, let’s take a step back. Why are apps for musicians so helpful? Why not stick with the tried-and-true method books, electronic guitar tuners, or even the rickety, bulky metronomes of the 1700s?
Here are a few reasons to grab your phone and start loading up the best apps for musicians:
- Convenience. Apps that are software versions of traditionally mechanical music practice tools, like metronomes, are easy to carry everywhere. Not only that, but gone are the days of having to remember to bring your practice aids everywhere with you, since most of us carry our phones everywhere we go!Apps that are digital encyclopedias of chords, scales, and other elements of music theory also mean that you won’t be hauling around heavy books every time you want to sit down and play.
- Accuracy. Just a few years ago, musicians were forced to periodically rewind and repair tools like metronomes in order to maintain their precision. With music apps, this is no longer necessary. Your metronome app will always be right in time with the rhythmic pulse of your playing. This increase in accuracy even extends to simple one-octave or two-octave keyboard apps, which can be used for honing sight-singing skills.While real instruments need to be tuned and tightened every once in a while in order to maintain their accuracy, digital sight-singing aids do not need to be, since their lack of actual playing surfaces means that there will be no loosening over time with repeated playing.
- Inexpensiveness. When there isn’t a need for costly re-tuning, the third advantage is pretty clear: the inexpensiveness of apps. Many of these custom apps for musicians are available completely for free! You can find everything from free metronomes to free dictionaries of music theory, tuning forks, notation exercises, and more. And if it’s not free, usually it’s no more than a few dollars.
The convenience, accuracy, and inexpensiveness of apps all combine to make music practicing easier than ever. And what’s best about these kinds of apps is that their advantages extend to the practicing of any instrument, from drums, to piano, to guitar and beyond.
While digital apps will never be a substitute for good old hard work and elbow grease, they can certainly help you along the way. Check out the the best singing apps, the best guitar apps, and more below — and you may find yourself improving faster than ever!
Our Top Pick:
We may be biased, but TakeLessons Live is a must for any aspiring musician. With a free membership option, you have access to an array of online classes led by expert instructors in real time. You can take classes in popular music subjects such as piano, guitar, singing and more. You also have the chance to interact with other students at your level from all over the world.
Best Music Apps for Guitar Players
Guitarists, the Internet (and world of smartphone apps) is FULL of cool things to explore. Looking for a quick video tutorial for your favorite song? YouTube’s got it. Just want the chord charts or tabs, so you can figure it out on your own? Ultimate-Guitar.com offers fresh tabs every single day, for classics as well as current chart-toppers. How about a guitar tuner app, a metronome at your fingertips, or a quick video lesson on easy warm-ups for guitar players? Yup, there’s an app out there for all of those!
For more top picks for the best guitar apps, check out the article linked here!
Best Music Apps for Piano Players
We’ve all seen the virtual piano apps, allowing you to play one note at a time (maybe two or three, depending) on your small smartphone screen. Is that a replacement for practicing the assignments your piano teacher has given you? Eh… we think not. However, there are several piano apps that can help younger students learn notes, and help pianists of all ages practice their rhythm, knowledge of music theory, and more.
Check out out the best piano apps in the articles linked below!
Bonus: Although it’s not an app, programs like Piano Maestro also offer cool ways to learn piano via technology!
Best Music Apps for Singers
Gone are the days of the pitch pipe — now, all you need is your phone to find your note! There are also apps for ear training, apps for recording yourself sing, and apps with video lessons and warm-up recommendations to supplement your weekly private lessons. And for the casual singers? You’re not forgotten — you can easily look up lyrics to all your favorite karaoke songs, or even find an app to auto-tune your voice just for fun!
Check out our top apps for singers in the article linked below.
Best Music Apps for Drummers
As a drummer, you know the importance of keeping time! And because of that, your metronome is your best friend as you’re learning to hone your internal rhythm. So why not take that tool everywhere you go, with the help of a metronome app? You can also find apps to download to improve your overall musicianship, as well as fun drum machine apps and virtual kits to mess around on.
Follow the link below to check out our recommendations for the best music apps for drummers!
Best Music Apps for Violin Players
Violinists, we haven’t forgotten about you! Explore the App Store and you’ll find tons of great options for practicing and learning violin techniques, violin tuner apps, and more. Plus, you too will benefit from apps that help make you a more well-rounded musician, from sight reading to general music theory knowledge to ear training.
Check out the recommendations linked below!
Apps are Great for Music Teachers, Too!
When it comes to managing your schedule as a teacher, your computer and phone can be a valuable resources. There are several apps available that make it easy for you to create schedules and stay on top of deadlines. Whether you’re a teacher who is just learning to manage time or you simply want to improve the quality of your lessons, here are the teacher apps that I recommend!
Apps for Teaching Online Lessons
1) Skype. These days, the Internet allows people to connect and work together without distance being a problem. I have several online students, and Skype is one of my favorite video chat platforms to use. But remember: if you’re teaching online lessons, it’s essential to have a strong and reliable internet connection. Communicating without a breaking signal or image/sound delay is the key for a great online lesson. Skype works pretty well on smartphones as well, but make sure you’re in an area well-covered by your carrier.
2) Messenger. This is a good alternative to Skype, with the same functions and pretty much the same system. Both apps are free to download from the official website. Before starting online lessons with a new students, make sure to add them as new contacts (or ask them to add you in their list).
Apps for Managing Your Teaching Schedule
3) TakeLessons app: TakeLessons is a great tool for teachers, as it not only helps you get new students, but it also has an amazing system to schedule lessons, receive weekly payments, and keep track of your activity as a teacher. I can manage my bio, check my weekly schedule, and cancel or reschedule lessons. My students are automatically notified about any changes, which definitely makes my life as a teacher so much easier!
Beside TakeLesson as my main tool for organizing my schedule, I use some external apps for keeping notes about my students (like keeping track of their progress, specific questions they ask, and more personal notes).
Apps for Managing Your To-Do List
4) Things. Things is a popular program that has been adapted for the smartphone. Simply put, it’s a to-do list that helps you stay organized. Categories such as “scheduled” allow you to put items on your to-do list way into the future or save them until you’re ready to take action. The app uses your to-dos to create a daily schedule and allows you to add, delete, or move items from that list every day. It’s great for teachers who need to organize schedules, assignments, and other aspects of their lives!
5) ToodleDo. This is another to-do list app, but it goes the extra mile by allowing you to add alarms to your smartphone or have them texted, e-mailed, or tweeted so you do not miss items. I love using ToodleDo to send homework and notes to my students because of this feature, so you both do not miss things!
Even if you are already a well organized teacher, I encourage you to give these apps for music teachers a try. All of the above apps will help you manage your students as well as your time. And when that stress is gone, you’ll have more time to devote to doing what you love — teaching!
Other Resources for Finding the Best Music Apps
» 10 Essential Apps for Musicians for the iPhone and iPad via Paste Magazine
» 12 Great Android Apps for Musicians via Advancing Musician