Best Apps for Musicians

I got my iPod Touch about two years ago and I must say that it is one of the best purchases I’ve ever made. I use it every single day, and in many different ways. Like many people, I drooled over the iPhone when it first appeared, but I’ve managed to hold out so far. I actually like that my free LG flip phone is a separate device. I use my iPod touch for email, scheduling, searching the web, social networking, and for listening to and purchasing music. Due to the thousands of apps on the iTunes store, I can also use it as a metronome, a tuner, a music dictionary, a recorder, and an ear trainer. I’d like to share a list of apps that I think are very helpful for musicians

Dr. Bettote TC – By far, the best metronome app out there. Like it’s “similar sounding” namesake (Dr. Beat) it has the ability to subdivide the beat, multiple beat mode, a sound generator, and a busy but fantastic interface.

IStroboSoft – Like the old strobo-tuner I first used in Jr. High school, but a digital and highly portable version. I like it better than a simple needle simulator.

Karajan –  A great ear training application designed to help you build your sight-singing and hearing skills. Keeps tracks of your “lessons” and statistics to track your progress.

Musictionary – A very nice music dictionary, although I have my eye on the much more expensive ($14.99) and hopefully more comprehensive Oxford Dictionary of Music.

FiRe Field Recorder – One of many recording apps out there designed for musicians, although the included app Voice Memos may do in a pinch

Many of the aforementioned apps would we useless to an iPod touch user without a microphone. As I learned the hard way, not all microphones with a mini-jack work with iPods. The Apple Earphones with remote and built-in microphone work great, and they work just as well as the older apple ear buds. They are also quite handy to use for chatting on Skype or using your iPod touch as a phone as long as you have a wi-fi connection. [Note: I think the new iPod Touch includes a built-in microphone]

More and more musicians are blogging these days, and as you can see, my preferred blog host is WordPress. I used the WordPress app to blog for the fist time from my iPod Touch to write this blo, although I did clean some things up and added links on my office computer.

The number of apps is growing everyday in number and sophistication, so I am sure I will have to update this post in the future. I talk a lot about tools in my teaching; not just having them, but using them correctly. If you are looking for the MVP of my tuba tool box, it has to be my iPod touch.

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9 Responses to Best Apps for Musicians

  1. Pingback: Some Top iOS Apps for Musicians | University of Iowa Trombone Studio

    • John Manning says:

      Thanks Brian, I checked out your blogged and was very impressed – and then I saw your new site, which is AWESOME! It looks like you have done some amazing stuff, and your new website is one of the best I’ve seen.

  2. Charlie Meldrum says:

    I absolutely have to recommend the Cleartune tuner App. It’s extremely full featured with many many octaves of pitch playback (remember to use good speakers/headphones) and more temperaments (including just intonation) than perhaps any one person might what to do with. Also, it seems to have no problems working with notes in the tuba’s “money register” and lower (using a decent microphone), as did iStrobosoft at one time. I really think Cleartune is hard to beat.

    Speaking of full-featured: check out Tempo 2 for a metronome. The interface is a bit clunky when trying to use it with one hand from a music stand, but it really can do almost anything you might want in terms of combinations of beats and subdivisions.

    Btw, does anyone know of a good ultra-portable microphone to be used with an iPod Touch? The tiny “pin” or “capsule” shaped mics I’ve tried are easily overloaded by the tuba, and my larger mics are a bit inconvenient to lug around all of the time.

    Cheers! -TCM

    • Charlie Meldrum says:

      Mental Note: always reread an article before posting comments:-P The apple earbuds are a good suggestion, which I have yet to try. John, do they help you make a half decent recording (for auditions, as well as for your own practice), or would you just recommend using them to work with the tuner Apps?

  3. There used to be an application called creative keystar. You could change chords by using your F1-F12 keys. It was great. Unfortunately, the program only worked on W/95 and W/98. I have been looking for something like that for my XP desktop and my W/7 laptop. I am visiting my daughter (out of state) a world void of musical instruments. I see these neat things for iPhone and the like, but nothing for regular computers. Any suggestions?

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