Best Apps For Practice Time in Your Studio

Students love apps.  They don’t typically love practice time though.  So, what are the best apps for practice time?

P.S. This list will not cover online programs (i.e. Tonara, etc.) since each teacher has a different system for running their studio.

Best Apps for Practice Time

Depending on what you want your student to focus on, the “best apps for practice” will change.


One of the best skills we teach our students is to listen as they play.  But, there are times when we feel a little like Sisyphus pushing a boulder up a hill for eternity. 

Though fun fact: Sisyphus probably started the Isthmian Games.  These games focused on athletic & music competitions.  Thanks, Sisyphus & Britannica Encyclopedia (for the fun fact)!

My all-time favourite listening apps for practice:

  • Music Memos (as of Jan. 2021, replaced by Voice Memos which is automatically on any Apple device)
  • YouRecord

Get your student to record a section of their song.  Then, have them listen to the recording to see what needs to change next.  Within seconds your student knows what to do next … all without needing you to say anything!

If you are looking for a quick tutorial, be sure to check out the You Record tutorial.

Both of these apps are incredibly easy to use & inexpensive.  Both students & parents can quickly see how the app is helping improve playing.

Backing Tracks

Practice can become a Pyrrhic victory without variety.  Sure, we can insist students practice scales or drill short sections of their pieces.  But, at what cost? 

(We learnt this lesson from Pyrrhus of Epirus, a Greek king who may have technically won against the Romans.  But, it was a pretty hollow victory.)

There are a few ways that backing tracks help students.  They take the tedium out of repetitive activities like scales.  They also ensure your student has to keep going no matter what.

My all-time favourite backing track apps for practice are:

  • iReal Pro: Great for creating quick backing tracks for students.
  • MusiClock: Great for technique.

I would also have to add Music Memos (see note above) & YouRecord to this list when you are recording a duet part for a student.  But, keep in mind copyright laws regarding whether you are allowed to electronically share duets written by someone else.

To see how iReal Pro works, watch this tutorial.  Keep in mind that Yamaha Chord Tracker may not be available anymore.

My students have loved using all of these apps during their lessons!  The look on their faces when they realize that playing the piano does not have to be a solitary activity is priceless.

Tutorial Apps

Much like Athena was the goddess of wisdom & strategy (among other things), we need to bring a little strategy to how we guide our students.  

Making sure our students have access to tutorials in between lessons can be the difference between “It was hard, but I was able to master this.” and “I didn’t know what to do & forgot to practice”.

My all-time favourite tutorial apps for practice are:

  • YouTube: Building a library of tutorial videos is one of the best uses of your time!
  • Google Drive or other online storage:  Perfect for checklists, PDFs, etc.

Yes, you could make individual videos for students.  But if you are going to channel Athena, then the better strategy is to ensure each video is adaptable to any student playing the piece.

“Trick Them Into Learning” Apps

I am a huge fan of tricking students into learning.  Why be bored when we can have fun instead?  Plus, it makes good marketing sense.  Students who love piano lessons AND are making progress = referrals & more students.

While we don’t want to go quite as far as Dionysus in our pursuit of fun, there are some apps that are student-favourites for good reason!  (You may notice a theme from Greek mythology.  It was one of my favourite university courses since the stories were always so entertaining.)

My all-time favourite tutorial apps for practice are:

  • Blob Chorus:  Blobs explode.  Need I say more?
  • The Most Amazing Sheep Game: I got a text letting me know my student’s cousins were playing the game while they were visiting.

This category is a tough one to keep the list short.  There are SO many great apps that students love & don’t even realize they are learning.  For example, a current favourite in my studio is NoteFlash Derby.  But, the ones on this list were chosen for the sneaky way they have students practice a concept.

Digital + Real World

For more apps for practice, check out The Apps I Can’t Live Without (Teaching Edition).

One of the best ways to keep students practicing is to give them a wide variety of options.  As much as students love apps, there is something about using objects in new ways that bring a smile to their faces as well. 

Give your students a toolbox of practice ideas with highly visual PDFs of practice ideas!

To find out more (or purchase) the “5 Ways: Practice Strategies”  please click below.

Practice Strategies

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