iOS Apps for Music Education

* LAST UPDATED ON JULY 10, 2014 *

I have done my best to categorize the following apps, but some may actually fall into several categories. Some apps are for iPad only, others are iPhone/iTouch only, and a few are Universal, meaning that they will run natively on any device. Remember, you can run iPhone/iTouch apps on an iPad, although the graphics will not be optimal.

Clicking on the links will take you to the iTunes web store. There you can read a description of the app, read reviews, and see screenshots. Where applicable, I’ve included some notes of my own.

A great website to make an App wishlist is called AppShopper.com. You can even subscribe to a particular app and the site will notify you via email when an app on your wishlist goes on sale! Please note that the prices listed below are subject to change. Developers frequently change the prices of their apps.  With the latest update of the iTunes store, it now lets you keep a wish list as well.

Airplay Software for Mac

This allows you to mirror (wirelessly) your iOS device screen and audio to your Mac’s computer screen.  This is perfect when you have a computer hooked up to a Projector or SmartBoard and want to show your iPad screen to your class!  This software requires that the Mac and iOS devices be on the same Wi-Fi network (or ad-hoc network set up from your Mac).

Resources

  • The Orchestra, $14, An incredible app that shows multi-angle views of the orchestra, a score and MIDI view, as well as information about composers and pieces.  There are approximately 7 movements of major works from classical, romantic, and 20th century periods.

Games

  • Tap Tap Radiation, free, iPad – one of many Tap Tap apps. Emulates Dance Dance Revolution video games.  Good for getting kids to tap the beat and be accurate.

Composition/Creating

  • Beatwave – allows you to build beats, layering them, etc. Great for teaching subdivision.
  • Soundrop – bouncing balls play sounds when they hit sticks that you draw. A very unique app.
  • Looptastic HD, $15, iPad – A looping program with lots of options.
  • Garageband, $5, iPad – A scaled down version of Apple’s desktop version. Includes some cool things like “magic instruments.”
  • LaunchPad, free – A fun tool to create grooves in different styles.
  • Figure, $1, A fun little app to create grooves, etc. “Figure is the fun music-making app for instant inspiration.”

Rhythm Trainers

Recorders/Loopers

Theory/Eartraining Drills

Tuners

Metronomes

Performance/Musical Instruments

  • SoundSquares, $3 – assign any pitch to a number of square buttons, totally customizable
  • Chordion, $4 – a neat app that lets you choose a chord with one hand and play melodies with the other. Never hit a wrong note!
  • Blues Jam Tracks, free – pre-recorded tracks
  • Band, $5 – has a cool blues component
  • DrumKick, $1, a neat drum app that allows you to connect an iPhone via Bluetooth to use as a kick drum.  After connecting, place the iPhone in your sock and you have an instant kick drum!
  • Impaktor, $5, A unique drum synth that uses the iPad’s internal microphone to synthesize sounds into a multitude of incredible percussion sounds.

Sheet Music

  • For Score, $5 – take thousands of pages of score with you on the go! Annotate files, etc.
  • Finale Songbook, free – view and play Finale (MUS) files and PDF files.
  • Sheetmusic Direct, free – all-in-one sheet music and guitar tab viewer, score library and music store provides access to more than 100,000 high-quality scores.

Drum Machines

  • DM1, $5 – advanced vintage Drum Machine. It turns your iPad into a fun and creative beat making machine

Intonation Analysis

  • Tartini in Tune – NOTE: for some reason Tartini is no longer available on the App store. I will be contacting the developer to find out more.  It’s a GREAT app!

Assessment/Analysis

Coach’s Eye ($5) – Capture video of your student’s technique then review in slow motion and freeze frame portions to draw over the image.  Great way for students to see exactly what they are doing!

Excellent Utilites

  • Dropbox (Free) – Syncs with your computer and online Dropbox to allow you access to all of your dropbox items. Save them to your phone or share with others via an email link.
  • Goodreader ($5) – Open documents from Dropbox, Box.net, or other services. Includes the ability to annotate files. Very powerful.
  • Scanner Pro ($7) – Turn your phone or iPad into a scanner! Optimizes page sizes, converts to black & white, and more. Send the files to Dropbox or share via email, etc.

Amplifier Simulation

These apps work best when you can directly plug in an instrument (guitar, electric violin, etc.). To do this, and still have sound out, you will need a special plug/adapter to interface with your iDevice.
There are a variety of interfaces that enable you to connect your instrument to your iDevice, you can read about them here. I have experience with the Amplitube iRig ($40) connector. It works flawlessly.

iBooks

Soon, interactive books will be the norm!  Both text books and method books will soon all be digital!

  • Interactive Listening by Peter Carney & Brian Felix, $15 – Provides a fresh new look at music appreciation and listening.  Excellent, non-traditional listening examples, and amazing photographs & multimedia bring out the excitement of music listening.
  • Essential Elements for Guitar by Bob Morris & Will Schmid, $10 – the digital version of the guitar book
  • Essential Elements 2000, $9 – The exact original book, but completely enhanced with video and formatted for enhanced viewing on the iPad. Accompaniment tracks are fully embedded into the book!  Violin | Viola |  Cello | Double Bass

Accessories for iOS Devices

  • M-Audio Keystation Mini 32 – USB MIDI Controller, small enough to fit into a backpack!
  • Samson Go Mic – Small, portable, USB microphone that works with iPad or computer.  Lots of features.  $40

Web Apps for iPad

  • Noteflight, free — Now in HTML 5, so it works on the iPad.  Simple notation program that’s completely web-based.
  • Essential Elements Interactive

For more information about using technology in Music Education here are two blogs I highly recommend following!

This page will be updated as I find more cool things to share!  Please send me names any apps that you have used that work well for you.  Developers, I am happy to test out your app and post a review.

2 thoughts on “iOS Apps for Music Education”

  1. Hi,
    my name is Ariel J. Ramos, I am a composer, pianist and educator (Berklee College of Music graduate) working at mDecks Music.

    Our team have developed an app to study tonal harmony (for iPad) which we think it will be a great tool when used as supplementary material.

    A link to the app:
    https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/mapping-tonal-harmony-pro/id566767002?mt=8

    Here’s a link to the website, in case anyone interested would like to find more about the app before contacting us:
    Mapping Tonal Harmony
    http://mdecks.com/mapharmony.html
    containing info and three tutorials that explain how the app works.

    Thanks in advance for your help, and looking forward to hear from you soon,
    mDecks Music
    mapharmony@mdecks.com

    Ariel J Ramos
    mapharmony@gmail.com

  2. Hi,
    My name is Calvin Whitmore, I am a musician and retired music teacher and founder of Torculus.

    Our team at Torculus have developed an app called RhythmiCity, the rhythm trainer,(for iPad) which we think it will be a great tool and resource for sight-reading and learning rhythms.

    Here is a link to RhythmiCity on the app store:
    https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/rhythmicity/id766756872?mt=8&uo=4

    Here’s a link to the website:
    RhythmiCity Website:
    http://rhythmicityapp.com

    Thank you in advance for your help, and feel free to contact me if you have any questions.

    Calvin Whitmore
    rhythmicityapp@icloud.com

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Educational tech integration in string/orchestra classroom with a focus on Macs and iOS by Charles Laux