The Apps I Just Can’t Live Without

Once I discovered that I could use app for teaching & my business, I was hooked.  But, with about 2 million apps available it was a bit like being a kid in a candy store.  What to get first?

Over the years, I have found numerous lists online that have help me breakdown that list of millions to a much more manageable number.  Plus, as much as I love music games it can be a bit much to carry them from home to home.  Having everything on an iPad makes it much easier to keep things organized & streamlined.

My favourite teaching apps … the short(ish) list

Legend:

  • SF: Student Favourite (the ones they ask for over & over).
  • SN: Special needs students (apps that give a bit more time or have less visual stimulation)

Creating Music/Creativity:

  • Bla Bla Bla: Simple black & white drawings that move to the sound of your voice (or any sound, like typing).  Great visual for students to see how dynamics can change our perception of something.
  • iMashup:  Take any 2 songs in your library & mix them together.  Independently change the volume, speed, etc. of each track to make a one of a kind creation.
  • YouRecord:  (SN) When you want to quickly capture just the music, open & start recording.  Easily send the clip to parents or students.
  • Decide Now:  (SF at group lessons) Leila has so many great ideas for the app, that I just recommend reading her 50 Ways to use Decide Now post.

Ear Training:

I wish I could give you more options, but it turns out that several of the apps I use are no longer downloadable.  Sigh.  Will be on the lookout for more ideas!

  • Blob Chorus: (SF)  King Blob is attempting to match his blob subjects.  But, if you match him to the wrong blob … well, things get a bit messy.  Boys in particular LOVE this app.

Little Dudes & Dudettes:

These are the apps my little ones go to again & again … after bugging mom or dad to “Download the app, PLEASE!”

  • Loopseque Kids: (SF)  My little ones LOVE creating repeating patterns using this app.  Parents love how easy it is for the kids to use on their own.
  • Tune Train: (SF).  While this app is designed for younger students, even my teenagers have really enjoyed it.  All available notes are part of a chord progression so no matter what note is chosen it will sound great.  Each song has a several styles to chose from & notation can be viewed at the top as well.
  • DoReMi 1-2-3:  What could be more fun than creating or learning a folk song with animals?
  • Moozart:  This app allows students to place different sounds on any note in the treble clef.  Ability to change the tempo (turtle to rabbit) makes it easy for young ones to tweak their creation.
  • MonkeyDrum:  Make the monkey smile by creating a rhythm on the drum!  If he likes it enough, maybe he will join in.
  • Music4Kids:  Much like Moozart, students can drag & drop notes & rests onto a staff.  However, unlike Moozart these are pitched sounds that more closely resemble instruments.
  • Music with Grandma:  This one is great for discovery, but needs a bit of guidance for the really young ones.  However, it is wonderful to see them explore concepts that might have seemed beyond their reach.
  • Music For Little Mozarts: (SF)  Hands down, the one that my students AND their parents love.

Note Reading:

  • Flashnote Derby:  (SN, SF) Get ready for the races!  Students are able to choose their own speed as well as review their mistakes before trying again which makes this a fabulous review tool.
  • Music Tutor: (SN)  While advertised as a sight reader improver, it really focuses on note reading.  With only 3 options on the home screen, it cut out the visual clutter. Focus on either or both clefs, set the range of notes, & even the duration of the exercise.   However, I would not use it with students who get stressed with a countdown.
  • My Note Games:  This app is more than just note reading: rhythm, play with a song, & so much more!
  • Note Squish: (SF)  Wack a Mole on a staff.  If a student is having a rough day, I tend to hand them this app (with the reminder not to hurt the iPad).  Smiles all around!
  • Noteworks: (SF)  Don’t let the notes catch on fire!  Thankfully, students get a chance to douse the notes at the end as review of their mistakes.
  • Rainbow Notes (SF, SN)  Pick a season & practice notes on the staff.  While you can choose a timed game, there is a forever option for students that do better when not rushed.
  • Staff Wars: (SF)  May the force be with you!  Okay, not Star Wars themed but there is a rocket.

Rhythm:

  • Audio Ninja: (SF)  Highly addictive & so much fun.  Keep the ninja going!
  • My Rhythm: Great for students that find rhythmic notation difficult, but learn by mirroring someone else.  Like that it uses both hands to tap the rhythm.
  • Rhythm Repeat: Pitched rhythms are played & students copy them back.  Pattern is also shown at the bottom of the screen which helps bring down frustration levels for some students.
  • The Most Addicting Sheep Game: (SF) We were all sad when it looked like we were going to lose this game forever.  Thankfully, the developer was able to update & bring it back.  There was much cheering from students when it was back!

Sight Reading:

  • Dust Buster:  (SF) Granny swatting at dust motes with today’s pop hits as the backtrack.  Was very excited to see JoyTunes added the microphone access so students can play at the piano!
  • Piano Maestro:  (SF) Pop hits, classical, method books, technique … it seems to have it all.  My favourite feature: the learn button.  Breaks down songs into smaller chunks just like we would in lesson.
  • Simply Piano:  No frills, just daily piano practice.  Does not need a piano so it could be a good tool for an adult student for those days when they can’t make it to a piano but want to practice theory or rhythm.

Technique:

  • Dragon Scales:  (SF) My newest favourite technique app.  Plus, students love the fire breathing dragon.
  • MusiClock: I love practicing my scales with this app, especially in patterns (quarter, eighth, triplet, sixteenth).  If you students like backing tracks, this is a great app for your studio.

Theory (general):

  • Inversion Invasion:  For students that are fans of retro video games, they will love the look of this app.
  • Tenuto: (SN)  The minimalist design makes this a favourite for adults, older teens & students that dislike too much visual stimulation.  With a wide variety of exercises, students can use this app for a long time before repeating themselves.
  • Flashcards by NKO:  (SN) While I don’t use flashcards often, sometimes a set of concepts just lends themselves to this format.  Several game modes are included in this app & the ability to upload pictures makes it a must for music symbols.

Your must-have apps

Whether you are just starting out your app collection or have been building on it for years, there is always something new created that makes our teaching lives a bit easier, fun, or both.  What are the apps that you & your students can’t live without?  (Or, at least really don’t want to contemplate going without.)

I am looking forward to adding your suggestions to my App wishlist.  I’m starting to realize that apps might be like my tea collection.  There is no such thing as too much.

Have a great weekend!

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