ProductivityResource ReviewUncategorized

The Apps I Can’t Live Without (Teaching Edition)

must have teaching apps

There are just certain pieces of technology & must have apps that make life so much easier.  And honestly, if I didn’t have access to iPads, a cell phone & online apps my studio would look very different & wouldn’t be nearly as profitable. These are “The Apps I Can’t Live Without” – Teaching Edition!

If you are just getting started with technology (or want ideas on how to streamline), the list below is the one you need. None of the links are affiliate links (meaning I don’t receive any compensation for having them).

These are the apps that I use all the time & use to streamline my work week. They have ensured that I can make the most profit with my set work hours AND still have a personal life.

Must Have Teaching Apps

In the last year, I’ve made a big change in how I do lab time with my students. While we still focus in on various concepts (improvisation, ear training, note reading, etc.), things are much more integrated than before. That being said there are some apps that just have to be listed.

Creativity/ Creating music:

  • GarageBand & iReal Pro:  Great for creating backing tracks that get students ready for recitals & are oh so much fun to play with!
  • Yamaha Chord Tracker: With an audio track, you can get the chord progression. This gives students a leg up when improvising using the same chord progression from a piece they are playing.
  • Music Memos: Have a musical idea stuck in your head? Record it & listen later to write it out.

Ear training:

  • YouRecord: Long time favourite in the studio because of how easy it is to use. Great for getting students to record, then listen for specific things in their recording.
  • Music Memos: Also a great app for listening back to practice. Or, sending a copy to your teacher.
  • Good Ear: Contains several apps that cover scales, intervals, chords, & melodies!
  • ABRSM Trainer: I really like how you can get a balanced set of exercises & that it always comes back to the music.

Note Reading:

  • Ningenius: continues to be the most popular note reading app in the studio
  • Kahoot: students love playing against the clock … more on how this relates to note reading later!


Sight Reading:

  • Scan Bee:  Scanning short exercise excerpts allows students to mark up the page with colours & not destroy your books. Scans must be shredded afterwards to comply with educational use copyright laws. (Check the copyright laws in your area to be sure you are complying).
  • Piano Maestro & Dust Buster:  Another long-time student favourite! Students will gladly spend all lab time trying to up their level.
  • Read Ahead:  My students will be using this as a warm-up in the upcoming months. It trains students to check for patterns, keep a steady tempo, & look ahead as they play.


  • MusiClock:  Who doesn’t like playing scales with backing tracks?  Also a great way to build up speed without students really noticing.
  • Tonic AR Chord Dictionary: AR (augmented reality) app that shows students where chords are on the keyboard using blue dots. Only downside, it only shows root position. But, that’s what we are for!

Theory (general):

  • Tenuto: I still love the customisation within this app, plus older teens & adults appreciate the simple look.
  • Notability:  This is THE app my students use to access their lab assignments.  Adding PDF’s with links is easy & students can mark up PDF’s to their hearts’ content.
  • Google Drive: Storing worksheets, sheet music & student portfolios … it all goes here.  And, makes it easy to transfer labs between my office to the student iPad.


  • Safari: (Comes with iPad)  Student is unclear on a musical term?  Look it up!  Student just HAS to play a new song they just heard?  Easily find a level-appropriate score!
  • Google Drive: Keep a folder of digital sheet music so it’s easy to pull up during the lesson.
  • YouTube: Love ’em or hate ’em, tutorials are all over YouTube & they give students a great visual practice tool during the week.  Set up repertoire lists for students that they can view new options during the week rather than using lesson time.
  • Native camera app: Have students use the Camera app on their device so they won’t forget what to practice in a new section.

Must have apps … your list

If you are looking at this list & feeling overwhelmed, keep in mind you can start with just one app.  I’ve been building up this list of apps over years as I worked to solve the challenges in my studio.  As I mastered one app, I would add another to solve yet another problem.  But, it all started with ONE.

If you are just starting out, what is ONE app that you will try out this upcoming week?

Or, perhaps you’ve used apps for years in your studio.

What is a teaching app that I’ve missed that your students love?

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