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12 Addictive Apps Every Musician Needs - top music apps

12 Addictive Apps Every Musician Needs (2015 Update)

12 Addictive Apps Every Musician Needs - top music apps

Since the invention of the app store, aspiring and experienced musicians have been finding inspiration, practicing their skills, and immersing themselves in their craft — all with the help of some of the top music apps!

There are so many noteworthy apps that can benefit all musicians, from guitarists to singers and songwriters. Whether you are looking for something educational or creative, this list will benefit your collection of apps. And best of all, they are all fun to work with… and pretty addictive, we might add!

Here are our picks for top music apps…

12 Addictive Apps Musicians Will Love (2015 Update)Songwriter’s Pad

Songwriter’s Pad is the ultimate songwriter’s tool. It contains powerful idea-generating tools to inspire creation while making lyric-writing easier than ever. Everything you need to write music is packed into this one application. Finally, an app to defeat writer’s block once and for all!

Download: iOSAndroid

 

12 Addictive Apps Musicians Will Love (2015 Update)Songsterr Tabs & Chords

Songsterr Tabs & Chords was featured in the Wall Street Journal as, “one of the best apps for learning to play music.” With a huge catalog of 500,000 accurate tabs and chords, all musicians can learn something with this app. Most songs have tabs for individual instruments too, including the guitar, bass, drums, and vocals.

Download: iOS, Android

 

12 Addictive Apps Musicians Will Love (2015 Update)GarageBand

Do you need a full recording studio on the go? If so, this is the app for you. GarageBand turns your phone into a collection of instruments, including piano, organ, guitar, and drums. Guitarists can even plug their electric guitar in and play through classic amps and stompbox effects!

Download: iOS

 

12 Addictive Apps Musicians Will Love (2015 Update)My Note Games

This is a fun music game that teaches music theory and instrument mastery, including lessons for saxophone, piano, guitar, recorder, trumpet, violin, viola, and cello, plus vocals and whistling. The app actually listens to you playing your instrument, checking your tone, pitch, and accuracy.

Download: iOS

 

12 Addictive Apps Musicians Will Love (2015 Update)Beatwave

With Beatwave, you can make unique music just by tapping on your screen! No musical skills are required, and you can create songs anywhere from your phone. In minutes, you can make complex songs with multiple layers of instruments and sounds — and then share them on social media!

Download: iOS

 

12 Addictive Apps Musicians Will Love (2015 Update)Ear Trainer

Ear Trainer is an educational application designed for beginner to advanced musicians, music students, and anyone interested in improving one’s musical ear. There are more than 260 individual exercises covering intervals, chords, scales, relative pitch, and melody.

Download: iOS

 

12 Addictive Apps Musicians Will Love (2015 Update)Sing! Karaoke by Smule

Are you ready to take karaoke to the next level? With Sing! Karaoke by Smule, you can sing your favorite karaoke songs and show them off to the world. Record yourself, add audio effects, and share with the app’s global community!

Download: iOS, Android

 

12 Addictive Apps Musicians Will Love (2015 Update)Polyphonic!

Polyphonic! is a simple interface app for creating your own complex layers of music, even without any prior musical ability. Each square represents a different sound and each color represents a unique group of sounds. This app is perfect for anyone interested in music creation.

Download: iOS

 

12 Addictive Apps Musicians Will Love (2015 Update)Hum

Hum makes note-taking and audio recording of song ideas easier than ever! Every aspiring songwriter needs this tool in his or her arsenal. Hum keeps your lyrics and song ideas organized and sortable so you never lose anything again.

Download: iOS

 

12 Addictive Apps Musicians Will Love (2015 Update)Lyrics Pro

With this app, you get access to the lyrics of millions of tracks, straight from your phone. You can search by artist, song name, or the lyrics themselves. It also has a cool auto-loading feature that delivers the lyrics to any song that is currently playing!

Download: iOS

 

12 Addictive Apps Musicians Will Love (2015 Update)Figure

You now have the ability to create awesome music in minutes! Simply open Figure and start by creating a beat, then share it with your friends. Whether you are new to music production or are a seasoned veteran, this app is super fun to use. All musicians can use it to improve their rhythm and expand creativity.

Download: iOS

 

12 Addictive Apps Musicians Will Love (2015 Update)SongPop

Do you know everything about music? Test yourself against friends with SongPop. As you play, you’ll listen to song clips from thousands of original artists in more than 300 genres, and the idea is to guess the artist or song faster than your friends.

Download: iOS, Android

 

Readers, what top music apps are missing from this list? Let us know in the comments!

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6 Resources for Creating Your Own Sheet Music

Tips On Writing Your Own Sheet MusicAs you develop your musical skills, you may become interested in writing your own music. While learning to play an instrument and being able to play others’ music is a wonderful skill, nothing compares to creating sheet music full of your own compositions!

As a budding songwriter, you’ll need to add some additional skills to your repertoire. Writing music can be as simple as putting a pen to paper, or you can take advantage of the many songwriting tools technology offers. Whether you’re sketching out notes for yourself, writing the next pop hit, or creating sheet music of arrangements for a big band, the most important step is to just get started.

First: Where to Find Free Blank Sheet Music

The easiest method is the oldest! Nothing beats a crisp blank piece of staff paper as you pick up your pen and begin your musical journey. There are many free resources online for printing blank staff paper. Here are two of the best:

This website allows you to print any kind of blank sheet music for free. No matter what instrument you’re writing for, you can find pre-designed sheet music for it here. They offer blank pages set up for piano and keyboard (grand staff), blank guitar tab, bass clef, blank mandolin sheet music, and even sheet music set-up for choir.

Music-paper.com is a site that not only offers more than 100 different downloadable and printable PDFs of blank staff paper, it also offers information on how to write music! Whether you’re looking for paper to jot down your next pop song or orchestral opus, you’ll find it here for free.

Next: Apps & Programs for Writing Music

Technology has changed the way we do almost everything, and writing music is no exception. Today, there are hundreds of applications and programs that can get you started composing on your laptop, desktop, tablet, or smartphone.  They range in price from free to several hundred dollars. Here are some of the best:

MuseScore is a free program that allows you to create, play, and print sheet music. It’s a great alternative to professional notation programs like Sibelius and Finale (see below). Muse Score is available for Mac and Windows along with various open source systems like Linux and Fedora. When you visit the MuseScore website, make sure to take advantage of their online video tutorials to help you get started.

Available for free on the Google Apps store, Music Composer works on your Android smartphone or tablet. It’s an intuitive, easy-to-use application that helps you notate your musical ideas on the go, whenever and wherever inspiration strikes!

It features a notation editor (that supports chords), and easy options to change tempo, clef, key signature, time signature, keys, and instruments. Also, Music Composer comes with 128 instrument sounds built in so you can hear your music played as you write it! When you’re finished composing, you can then export your sheet music as a printable image file or a playable audio file.

Sibelius is the world’s best-selling music notation software used by professional composers, publishers, and advanced music students. It allows you to quickly express and promote your music, allowing you to share both audio and video of your work. It is the fastest, smartest, and easiest way to write music for performance, film, television, or the classroom. It’s a professional tool worth considering if you are serious about composing.

Finale is another professional-level music notation program. Many music programs are drag-and-drop interfaces where you select items from a menu and drop them on the staff, but Finale offers complete freedom and flexibility. It offers extremely realistic playback of your compositions and allows you to print charts and scores.

Finale also offers several lower-priced, upgradable products, including Printmusic (a “lite”version of Finale, at $119.95), which can print up to 24 staves. Another option, Songbook, is a free digital sheet music app for your tablet — great for bringing all of your music to rehearsal on your tablet!

Composing is natural next step as your music skills advances. Whether you take the simplest approach of putting pen to paper, opt for free notation apps, or invest in a professional-level notation program, the key is to just get started! A great way to learn about composition is to work with a qualified teacher. If you already study with one, ask your teacher to help you. He or she can offer insight into the best way to get started and can help you with the learning curve if you choose to use software. Good luck!

View all Takelessons.com Free Sheet Music Resources.

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8 Piano Apps Worth the Download

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.

Metronome for iOS

Metronome for iOS

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.

forScore for iOS

forScore for iOS

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.

Tenuto for Android

Tenuto for Android

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.

Virtuoso Piano for iOS

Virtuoso Piano for iOS

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.

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Tuning In To Twitter’s New Music App, #music

After weeks of buzz as celebrities and VIPs test-drove Twitter‘s new music app, #music, the platform has finally been released to the public, available for iPhone and iPad. #music is designed to help tech-savvy music fans discover new music. The app also promises to turn Twitter into a powerful tool for artists to reach even more new fans than before.

Does #music live up to the hype? Read on to learn more about how the app works and what it might mean for the future of music discovery online. Read more

5 Practice Tips with a Spring Break Twist

As Spring Break hits, it’s so tempting to put everything on hold and just lounge by the pool with some lemonade, passing a few lazy days before getting back to school or work. If you’re studying music however, it is really important not to slack off when it comes to your practice routine. Taking just a week off can seriously slow your progress or even move you backwards from reaching your goals. How do you keep up your discipline to practice when your brain is in vacation mode? Try these five tips to make the most of your break! Read more

Discover 4 New Places to Find Free Music Online

Remember a time when the only way to discover new music was listening to the radio or asking your friends?  With the growing list of ways to find music online, that sure seems like ancient history now!

We were in awe when Spotify was released, a perfect equation of one-part Pandora and one-part iTunes, with practically every song you think of available for free and instant streaming.  Unfortunately, for those who downloaded the service when its first US release came out in July 2011, your streaming access will soon be capped to just 10 hours per month.

Still, you don’t have to worry – there are many other options for finding music.  Facebook, for example, has been rolling out its “Listen With Friends” feature, allowing friends to listen to songs simultaneously.

Still need more options?  Here are 4 more ideas for finding music online:

Google Music
Google Music may not have as much free music as either Spotify or MOG, but every day it offers new songs and albums from big-name artists that users can download to their computers for free. Moreover, users can upload up to 20,000 of their own songs to Google Music for free to stream from any computer or mobile device. This way, you don’t have to waste any of your allotted time on services such as Spotify listening to music you already have.

RCRD LBL
Like Google Music, RCRD Label lets you stream and download new tracks from established and lesser-known artists for free every day. There’s no membership fee or subscription; all you have to do is create a free account and you can download the tracks, no strings attached. The site’s selection is much smaller than the others on the list, but then again, the point of it is to discover new artists whose catalogs you can listen to elsewhere.

Turntable.fm
Calling Turntable a music streaming service misses the point somewhat. In reality, Turntable is a virtual hangout space that just happens to be built around music. Users create avatars for themselves and can join or create music rooms of their choice, each centered around a different genre, where users take turn playing the role of DJ and chatting with other users. It’s probably not the right service for someone who just wants to passively listen to a few songs while at work, but the site does offer the potential to discover artists and new friends, all for no cost.

YouTube
When all else fails, there’s always YouTube. If there’s an artist or song you want to listen to, chances are YouTube has it — it just may not always be studio quality.

Will you be paying for a Spotify membership once they start capping the free music, or will you turn to other services?  What other ways do you find music online?

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Photo by cdharrison, licensed under Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic.