Music Apps

Interested in exploring Music Apps? Join me on discovering which apps music teachers and students are raving about!

Advantages of Music Apps:
  1. Teaching Assistant: instant feedbacks and instructional videos help students' learning at home. Some apps provide features like homework assignments and progress reports that can be shared between teachers and students/parents. 
  2. Various Approaches: can suit individual's need or teaching and learning styles.
  3. Game Challenge and Graphic Design: engage and retain students' attentions easily.
  4. Cost Effective: most apps are range from free to $0.99 - $4.99. Some free apps offer in-app purchase for upgrade features. Make sure to check out bundle deals from the same developer. Some monthly subscription apps cost a bit more, but can be shared between teachers and their studios. Consider: most apps are cheaper than a cup of coffee at a cafe! and they provide immeasurable education values. 
How to choose:
  1. Functionality: apps' layout and design (simple or advanced customized settings)
  2. Suitability: age and level of difficulty
  3. Studio size: monthly subscription app would be an excellent choice for large size studios
  4. Read reviews or descriptions from the developer's website
  5. Teachers' recommendations
  6. Try the free version if it is available

Reviews are updated periodically


Rhythm Cat Pro
Rhythm Cat ProTry Rhythm Cat Lite version for free (IOS and Android). Bundle deal with Treble and Bass Cat
All rhythmic patterns and exercises are listed in its  “stage map”. Rhythmic difficulties range from simple quarter note counting, dotted quarter note, eighth note rest, to various rhythmic combo and syncopated rhythm with ties. Some exercises require two hands coordination with two or three bottoms tapping that increase the drill challenge. Suitable for late Beginner to Intermediate students. It requires students to "play with a steady pause" because the metronome beat is only provided right before the music and is off once the music starts.
What we like: progressive levels that train students' ability to keep a steady pause with the music
Tip: work ahead of time on tapping 2-3 bottoms coordination!

Rhythm Lab: (iPad only)
A comprehensive rhythm app that provides rhythm drills from Beginner to Advanced levels. Has pre-set exercises like lessons A-1 and B-2 of 10 levels each (one hand or two hands tapping), specific patterns (ties, hemiola) and composers (more advanced rhythm like triple against duple). You can also customize patterns like unusual 7/8 meter, quintuplets, or cross-rhythm and save them on the worksheet! Comes with "send as email" feature for assigning or sharing specific patterns with your students or colleagues. MIDI input is available.
What we like: Excellent app for preparing curriculum aural exams!

Rhythm Swing
Rhythm Swing: Bundle deals with Flash Note Derby (IOS)
Fun game drill with categories of "Learn-instructional video", "Practice-specific pattern drill", "Play-including games of progressive difficulties", and "Ultimate challenge with the King Alligator".  Rhythmic difficulties range from quarter and half notes counting to dotted quarter and four eighth notes. Suitable for Beginner to Early Elementary students.
What we like: simple rhythmic pattern drill in game style
Tip: follow the metronome beat!


Flash Note Derby
Flashnote Derby: Bundle deals with Rhythm Swing (IOS and Android)
This is a true flashcard drill App in a fun race game style. It includes simple and advanced modes that allow you to customize any way you like from C major five fingers positions to ledger lines notes on treble, bass, alto and tenor clefs. Students can also review and practice a certain range of notes by watching the video lessons. My go to app when young students are having difficulties remembering certain notes or reviewing new notes in the lesson. Version 3 is now including features like recognizing acoustic and midi keyboards, tracking student's progress with detailed info, and a better screen layout/sound.
What we like: fully customizable setting, plus, the "review mistakes" feature is included in the end of each race. With version 3 students can directly practice notes reading by playing on the piano!
Tips: make sure to read notes correctly within the time limitation to score points.

Note Rush
Note Rush: Music Reading Flashcards Game (IOS and Android)
The best feature of this app is to allow users playing notes on Real instruments. Students not only identify the note but need to play it correctly on the piano, which helps reinforce keyboard register visualization (e.g. middle C vs treble C). It comes with four different background themes with grand staff, treble or bass clef reading, plus ledger lines!
What we like: play "correct notes" on acoustic piano, no MIDI required! Be sure to turn on the "Seasonal Themes" setting for additional choices.
Tip: focus on playing notes accurately! Don't panic about the timer.

NoteWorks(IOS and Android)
This app provides reading notes with key signatures and accidentals! There are total 21 levels of progressive exercise of each clef plus grand staffs. It comes with an excellent keyboard layout that covers several registers and requires students to identify the "correct note" on the keyboard! No more confusion between middle and treble C. Students can also this app on the MIDI and the game results can be shared between students and teachers. At the end of the game, students can re-identify the wrong notes and review their mistakes. More suitable for late beginners to advanced students.
Suprise: it provides multiple languages choices!
What we like: key signatures and accidentals! of course
Tip: Make sure that you id the note fast enough. Otherwise, they pile up pretty fast!

Treble Cat HD
Treble Cat HD and Bass Cat HD(IOS and Android) Bundle deal with Rhythm Cat
With the game design of showing multiple notes, and not just a single note at the time, it helps students to develop their reading skills with the concept of "intervallic relationship." There is a total of 5 progressive stages with ten levels in each of them. The final stage is quite challenging with notes comes out in opposite directions of two treble or bass clefs that demand fast reading ability! No ledger lines notes reading.
What we like: "intervallic relationship" of learning notes by skips, steps, etc..
Tip: the customize "practice" setting allows the user to select specific notes, however, if you choose "C," all the Cs on the staff will appear in the exercise.


Piano Maestro
Piano Maestro: iPad only, monthly subscription
PM is a comprehensive practice and performance app which provides a variety of methods book, technique exercises and music arrangments ranging from beginner to intermediate levels. All songs come with PM's nice accompanying arrangements, even with scales! Teachers can assign homework to their students and receive weekly progress reports through PM's "add/manage students" feature.
What we like: "step by step" practice instructions and its ability to recognizes piano or keyboard with real-time feedback, no wires needed!
Tip: this app serves well for sight reading drills too. Teachers can pick either one of the practice steps for slower tempo sight reading with metronome beat, or the whole song with PM's accompaniments, which is beneficial for students who are learning duet music.

Piano Dust Buster

Piano Dust Buster 2: (IOS)
This fun app (responds to acoustic piano) provides a variety of music arrangments from classical, folk tunes, to holiday and movie theme songs. I use this app as supplementary material for students to play their favorite songs "by ear." Teachers and students can search this app either by levels of difficulties or by categories such as "holiday blast" "be a Mozart" or "radio hits."  It provides two game mode settings:
1. "Simple" mode means that students will only see the keys when they play. This setting is suitable for those who didn't know how to read notes on staff or for the beginner who needs drills on learning notes on the keyboard.
2. Since the "Staff" mode has notes appearing as "germ characters" on the staff lines, students will not be able to i.d. the notes value or count rhythms.
Like Piano Maestro, this app recognizes piano or keyboard with real-time feedback, no wires needed!
Tip: This app does not provide fingerings. Therefore, it is beneficial to make suggestions on fingerings for beginners and elementary students to avoid awkward hand positions or unnecessary stretches.


Blob Chorus Ear Training: (IOS and Android)
This fun app has seven levels of difficulties for listening matching pitches. It trains students to identify the blob that sang the "same note" as the king blob. The app starts with two blobs choir size and goes up to eight blobs. The game is simple and yet challenged when students need to identify a correct pitch out of eight blobs that match with the king's. 

Tenuto by (IOS and Android)
One of my favorite music apps from, Tenuto provides a variety of ear training exercises from intervals, pitches identification to chords and scale recognization. It comes with customized settings that allow users to program the drills according to personal preferences.
What we like: great app for preparing curriculum exams such as ABRSM and RCM/MDP.

goodEar Pro: (IOS)
This app is very similar to Tenuto that covers ear training categories like intervals, chords, and scales. However, it is unique for its "Melody identification" which listed as multiple intervals in the app. This particular exercise corresponds to many curriculum exams' "melody playback" aural test requirements. goodEar Pro also provides customized settings for users to choose their preferences for each drill.
What we like: "melody identification"


Classical Music I: Master's Collection Vol. 1 by MagicAnywhere This app has a very informative collection of 120 representative classical music of all genres and periods like Bach Air on G Sting. They offer a free version of shorter samples. You can upgrade the app to a deluxe version for $4.99 and gain the access to the full version of every piece which also links to youtube performances. Read my full blog review

Musicnotes Decks: Music Flash Cards by Musicnotes       
There are two modes, "Flashcard mode" (card view) where the symbols are shown but titles and definitions are hidden until you want to see them. "List mode" (list view) allows you to flip through the symbols in an easy-to-browse list for use as a music notation resource. Read my full blog review