There are dozens of piano apps that can help you learn about music wherever you are, and even play piano directly on your phone.
You might think of your smartphone as something your music teacher asks you to turn off before lessons. But with the right apps, your phone can stop being a distraction and start acting as a tool that’ll help you practice!
Here are eight of the best piano apps every student should have, whether you own an Android or iOS phone.
Best Piano App in Every Category
Top Metronome Piano Apps
The simplest and most common tool for the beginner pianist is a metronome. If you’ve taken at least a few piano classes, the many uses of this device have already been explained to you.
When starting out, a metronome teaches you basic rhythm and helps you stay on tempo while playing songs. Downloading a metronome app on your smartphone saves you a trip to the store and consolidates your piano gear.
Unlike the old-school wooden contraptions you may have seen, some metronome piano apps have extra features. Metronome stands out on iOS for using a custom timer built by clock software specialists.
A good choice for Android users is Metronome Beats, which combines great features and a developer who actually responds to user concerns and bugs.
Best Piano Apps for Sheet Music
Have you noticed more forward-thinking musicians ditching the three-ring binder of loose-leaf sheet music for an iPad at live gigs? Chances are, they were running forScore, which might just be the best piano app on this list.
A sheet music organizer might seem like a simple app that’s hard to do wrong. Maybe you even think opening up some PDFs in Adobe Reader is close enough. But aside from organization and searchability, the key component of forScore is its speed.
You’ll never know how slowly the pages in e-readers or PDF apps turn until you are waiting to know what note comes next in a song! Musicians call forScore’s turning “near-instantaneous” and “as fast as paper.”
On Android, Midi Sheet Music is the clear leader. It doesn’t have the across-the-board professional acceptance that forScore does, but it is free (and without ads)!
Piano Apps for Music Theory & Ear Training
Depending on your instructor and curriculum, you may already get a healthy dose of music theory in your piano lessons. A great way to use technology to supplement your lessons, however, is to use piano apps that focus on music theory and ear training.
iOS and Android have excellent solutions with Tenuto and Perfect Ear, respectively. Both apps solve the problem many students have with learning theory from a book. Exercises and quizzes keep you sharp by turning work into games.
Do games really accelerate the learning process? Well, just think about how easy it is to memorize the names of all of those Pokémon!
Best Piano Apps for Playing on Your Phone
Sometimes you’re away from your piano, but how many of those are times when you’re also away from your smartphone or tablet? Enter the many excellent piano apps on iOS and Android that replicate the actual instrument!
Of course, a touchscreen with flat representations of keys and sound coming from a single tiny speaker is no substitute for a real keyboard. But when you want to practice, the best piano is the one you have with you.
Once you’ve resigned yourself to playing this way, the iOS piano app of choice is Virtuoso Piano Free 3. The app does everything it can to replicate the key-tickling experience on a touchscreen.
While it’s better suited to the larger keys on a full-sized iPad, you might be surprised at the creative solutions you can come up with if you have six iPhones to play on at once.
The Android equivalent – Perfect Piano – is even more flexible, supporting external Midi keyboards over USB OTG so you can make use of the practice games and recording features in a more tactile way.
Perhaps more than any other pursuit, learning piano is best done with the help a private instructor. None of these piano apps can take the place of that relationship, but they can definitely keep you motivated at home or when you’re on the road.
The more resources and tools you have at your fingertips, the faster you’ll learn! What’s the best piano app on your phone? Let us know in the comments below.