Wednesday, January 15, 2014

More Apps for Musicians and Music Students

In a previous post, I discussed some of the apps I use on my iPad or iPhone (sometimes Android as well) to help students learn music. Many of the apps are useful for professional musicians as well. In my teaching, I've started using several apps to help my students (and sometimes myself) hone musical skills. As before, these are helpful for both student or professional musicians.

1. Rhythm in Reach

So many of my students struggled with rhythm that I started using this app to help them. It shows students a short musical passage and has them tap out its rhythm on the iPad. It has a metronome accompaniment, so students have to keep a steady tempo to get a good score. This app is easy to customize to the level you want, and it has students take a test to get to the next level. It's done wonders for many of my students who struggled to remember the difference between quarter notes and half notes, or keep a steady beat. It's amazing how an iPad app captures student attention far more than a workbook or my repeated instructions:) I would highly recommend this to any music students who'd like to improve their rhythm.

2. Musical Ears

This app is available on both Android and iPad. It's an ear training app that plays a short melody, and then has the student choose the notes. It's easy to customize for different levels of students, from easy to challenging enough to make a professional musician work hard. I've had both young children and adult students try this app, and they've all enjoyed it. Ear training is an important aspect of musical training, and this app is a useful tool for helping students develop their aural skills.

3. PlayByEar

This is a very challenging app on violin, so I'd only use it with advanced students (it might be easier on piano). It plays either intervals, chords, or short melodies, then has the student play the notes back. It can detect whether or not they're playing the correct pitches. I think this app would be useful for advanced jazz students or any advanced student who wants to improve their ability to play by ear, but it's too difficult for beginners or intermediate students. I wish it was easier to customize--for example, if the teacher could set it to play in one particular key, or could limit the range. Still, I found it fun to use.

Related articles on Suzuki Method and Violin/Viola teaching or performing:

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