As a way of always trying to improve our education at Jack's Guitar Garage, we have found many apps that are useful additions to lessons as JGG.
These are some ways we find apps improve our music education:
Interactive, learning based apps designed to teach the fundamentals of music, in a way that is progressive in motivating students to meet new challenges.
Apps that will aid the student in their practice routine, and to work out difficult sections in their repetoire
Creative apps that will allow student's to foster their own creativity on their own time, applying concepts used in lessons
Many of the apps that we recommend are free, or low cost. If you have an iPad (or iPhone/iPod in many cases), all of these programs are available. Some of these are available on the Android OS as well, though not as many due to developmental challenges. Some of these apps are:
Note Squish ($.99)
Note Squish is effectively the Whack-a-Mole of note reading. In one-minute rounds, students are drilled on a certain range of notes where they must select the mole with the correct note name. This app is well liked, and applicable for all instruments
Music For Little Mozarts ($.99)
The Music for Little Mozarts App was specifically developed for the preschool age group (four, five, and six-year olds). The games provide a balance between learning key aspects and pure enjoyment of making music. With Beethoven Bear and Mozart Mouse, your young child is sure to enjoy this musical adventure.
Flashnote Derby ($2.99)
This student favorite is a fun alternative to flash cards. It is designed like a horse race, where students answer notes correctly to run faster. The great thing about this app is the ability to drill certain notes (Line notes only, space-notes only, etc.). It is also customizable to answer note names or piano keys depending on the setting.
Sproutbeat (FREE for the first 20 worksheets)
Spoutbeat is a worksheet based app that allows students to fill in answers and complete assignments without having to print. This is useful after lesson time, and as worksheets to work on specific concepts. While some of the sheets are piano focused, a lot of the sheets can be applied to any students learning to read music.
A very versatile music app that is great for all ages and skill levels. This app houses dozens of exercises like note recognition, fretboard/keyboard recognition, and ear training. All of the exercises are customizable so teachers can really gear certain exercises towards each student's specific needs.
This app is a great way to get students introduced to how to use/practice with a metronome. Rather than the harsh clicking of a traditional metronome the petronome uses animal noises to keep a steady beat which create a fun atmosphere. A great way to get students playing in time with one of the most used musical tools: a metronome.
Piano Maestro (FREE)
This piano-only app is the best musical invention to come to the iPad. It works with each student creating an account, and going on a musical journey, where they play through pieces of progressing difficulty. The app is complete with fun arrangements of popular songs and classics, as well as various exercises. Students are encouraged to earn stars and level up, as the app listens for correct notes and proper rhythms. Songs and exercises can be assigned week by week by the instructor. This app is a must have for any piano student.
iReal Pro ($12.99)
The most expensive app we use but perhaps the most impressive! This is another great app which is a digital lead sheet generator and player. With the built-in playback feature, teachers can pull up/create songs for students to jam along with. What makes this app great is the ability to change tempo/key of every exercise/song to customize it best for the student. All tracks can be exported to midi so that the student can use it at home! A great app for any musician!
Garage Band (FREE)
One of the most popular Apple apps, Garage Band is a great way to experiment with creating your own music. With built in drum loops, multiple instruments to choose from and a built in looper, it is a great way to make music fast! Great for musicians of all levels, you can either pick the sounds available in the app, or you can record yourself and enhance your own material!
We are very excited about all of the tools that are available to help aid students on their musical journey. We are always looking for feedback/new materials so if you happen to find an app/technology that is a great musical/teaching aide, please let us know!