My Favorite Music Education Apps

Something you may not know about me is that I have a certification in eLearning as part of my Masters degree. This gives me a much deeper understanding of really useful apps for learning. Here are a few that I love and regularly use in my teaching.

Auxy is an Apple Design Award winning music-writing app. It is by far the best step sequencer app I’ve seen so far for music students. There are many very powerful and excellent programs, such as Ableton Live, Reason and Fruity Loops, but these have so many features it is hard to figure out what everything does. Auxy is simple,  light, looks great, sounds awesome and is stable.

I suffered through Ear Training classes in college. As a drummer, I was pretty far behind most other students, and I had a hard time practicing the material.  I resorted to using a blindfold and pressing random piano keys to quiz myself. It didn’t work well. I wish I had Theta Music Trainers back then. These music games are both fun and effective ways of teaching yourself to identify pitches, chords, rhythms, tuning a guitar  and more. A few of my favorite games to assign students are Paddle Tones, Pitch Compare, Dango Bros, and Speaker Chords.

Tenuto is the iOS app version of The app is a couple of bucks, but the website works just as well if not better, now that they have recreated their site using HTML5 instead of Flash, so you might as well just use that if you have internet access in your practice room. The website features excellent basic lessons on music theory, but what I use it for is the Exercises. Tenuto has a The exercises are basically flash cards for staff notation, keyboard identification, and fret board identification. You can (and should) customize what questions get asked using the settings tab at the top right.


Honorable Mentions

forScore is a fully featured and incredibly useful score library that allows you to save all your scores, create set lists, make notes and more. Totally professional app that most of the top musicians I know use. Great once you start having too much printed music to carry around. 

Joy Tunes
Joy Tunes is an extremely well put together app designed to teach youngsters to play the piano and read staff notation. The first few levels are free, but later level are a buck each …  making it pretty pricey to keep using. The good news is that kids can learn a lot just the free portion. I generally recommend it for younger piano newbies. 

Inspired by the Real Book, iRealPro is a songbook, sans melodies. If you want to learn a billion chord changes, this is the app for you. You can make your own charts or download charts created by others. My favorite is the John Cage score. 

PolyNome is a fully featured metronome created by excellent drummer Joel Crabtree. It does all the stuff you’d want a metronome to do and more. 

Another excellent ear training app, this one sticks to standard flash card type games. Not as much fun as Theta Music, but very useful and no monthly fee. 

Vic Firth Speed Note Reading
Not an app, but a flash-based web application, Vic Firth Speed note Reading is a great reading game as long as you can use Flash. Very well put together.