Smart phones, tablets and the wide-reaching usefulness of the Internet have recently altered the musical landscape, with literally thousands of available apps designed to help people learn, create and fine-tune their music.
Whether you’re a novice musician or the front man for an internationally-touring rock band, these apps — or electronic tutors— enable musicians to perform any number of musical tasks and tweaks in just a fraction of the time those same tasks would have taken prior to the Internet age.
Zac Green from ZingInstruments.com gives us the rundown of 10 must-have apps for musicians, with a brief overview of each application’s function and overall value.
Best apps for bands & musicians
Billed as an affordable “audio workstation,” GarageBand enables users to transform their smart phone or tablet into a mobile recording studio. With GarageBand, musicians can create, record and edit music on the fly—and even create state-of-the-art podcasts. At just a shade under five dollars ($4.99), this is a must-have app for anyone interested in setting up home recording studio.
Tuning your instruments can be a laborious and meticulous process. However, with Cleartune—the most sophisticated and easy-to-use chromatic instrument tuner available today—this process can be measurably streamlined. Unlike mechanical and hardware-based analog tuners, Cleartune is incredibly responsive, with the ability to fine tune and calibrate instruments in minute increments.
Ultimate Guitar Tabs
This especially useful and free application gives users immediate access to nearly one million guitar tabs and chords. In addition to this great musical library, Ultimate Guitar Tabs is also a helpful learning aid for beginner guitarists, instructing them on how to play riffs and solos through its interactive tabs. As a bonus, this application also includes a metronome and digital guitar tuner.
When musicians speak of tempo, accuracy is everything, and the app known as “Tempo” is widely considered one of the most accurate metronomes available today. With 35 distinct time signatures, in addition to 6 rhythm patterns for simple meters and 3 patterns for compound meters, Tempo is one of the most all-inclusive and impressive music apps on the Internet market.
The app known as Road Trip is an invaluable tool for up and coming bands touring small towns and intimate venues. Road Trip helps traveling bands track their fuel economy and costs; map out the quickest and most direct route between venues; manage maintenance tasks and costs; and track mileage statistics.
Are you an aspiring piano virtuoso? If so, Magic Piano—a free app—may be just what you need. Magic Piano is a virtual keyboard that allows novice pianists to learn basic piano strokes and play any one of the hundreds of songs included in the app’s library. For those who want to test their musical chops before actually investing in an expensive piano or keyboard, Magic Piano is a definite must.
Those seeking a deeper understanding of music and music theory will find the Tenuto app simply indispensable. This popular and affordable app offers users a wide selection of customizable exercises aimed at providing them with an in-depth comprehension of music; and teaching them how to recognize chords by ear regardless of the instrument.
forScore is an iOS application that eliminates the need for stacks upon stacks of sheet music, helping musicians and bands clear away the paper clutter taking up valuable space. Providing electronic sheet music for guitars, drums, bass and other instruments, forScore includes a huge library of songs across many different genres. Best of all, any songs/sheet music not included in the library can be instantly downloaded, enabling bands to consolidate their entire musical repertoire into the palm of their hand.
If you’ve ever ventured into the field of songwriting, you already know how time-consuming (and often frustrating) the process can be. Not so with Songwriter’s Pad. With its idea-generating features and rhyming dictionary, Songwriter’s Pad can help make writer’s block a thing of the past, and because users can also insert chords as they go, the app serves as an all-in-one tool for mastering the creative process.
If GarageBand isn’t your cup of tea, you may want to check out NanoStudio instead. This rapidly-growing recording studio application features sample trigger pads and virtual synths, in addition to a sample editor, sequencer and mixer with a bevy of integrated effects. Its step-by-step directions enable users to turn their smart phone or tablet into a comprehensive, handheld studio.
Each of these 10 apps can be useful for musicians and bands, regardless of their skill level or instrument of choice.
From apps that help users practice and fine-tune their instruments, to songwriting tutorials, to all-in-one recording studio programs, these apps have collectively broadened and enhanced the musical experience and helped introduce scores of new users to the world of music.