Improvisation

Decide Now 

It is not related to music but I use it ALL the time during lessons. Decide Now allows you to create an infinite number of wheels. Students love to spin to see who will perform first at a group lesson or to determine what key for a transposition challenge or…

I went nuts over this app: sign up here for a free PDF of 50 Ways to Use Decide Now.


Garage Band  Free with any new iPad purchase

An app that promotes creativity more than any other! Although I am more familiar with the software program, it didn’t take me long to figure out how to lay tracks to create my own loop with the app version. As you learn to create with it, remember the recording feature–Garage Band will record anything and share the file to iTunes or email with ease.


Hook Theory

A good friend and outstanding iPad (!) piano teacher, Wendy-Kirby Alexander, recently told me how much she enjoys teaching with HookTheory.com. Here are her thoughts:
HookTheory is a great resource for students of all ages that are interested in learning pop music.  I have an adult student who has a hard time playing by ear and HookTheory has become her favorite resource.  The HookTheory1 book is a great way to learn about chords and scales and how pop music is constructed.  It has live links so that you can listen to the concept being played on the piano which helps the ear develop.  I have my students read this book first (no matter what level they are) and then start using the TheoryTab on the website.  The TheoryTab has hundreds of songs to choose from and students quickly learn about scale degrees and chord function.”

iReal Pro:

Bradley Sowash told me about this app and this too will become a staple. As I encourage my students to play pop and jazz from lead sheets, this app will enhance their playing as it provides a back-up band for built-in jazz and pop exercises and chord charts. It also allows you to create and edit your own lead sheets.  Here’s  how Bradley uses it with his students and a video of how I use it with students.


Isle of Tune Mobile $1.99

Here’s Jennifer Foxx’s review of this app full of creative possibilities.


Music Lab Pro 

There are few apps for young beginners that teach and gently guide them along through new concepts. Music Lab Pro sequentially teaches the basics like up, down, higher, lower, louder and softer with the help of some friendly animals and arcade-like games. The app includes options for students to create, too! I was stunned when my young pianist showed me each track he pre-recorded to lay down a groovin’ pattern. The interface resembled a kid-friendly Garage Band experience.


MusiClock

When you need something to liven up scales, use this app. After the key is decided, ask students to choose a style and play the scale ascending and descending along with the groove provided by the app. Then let them improvise along with the MusiClock backing track. It’s the perfect lesson opener.


Orphion

This is a terrific app for helping students developing a melody for a future composition.


Soundrop Free

If my 20-year old son who is a math whiz finds this app intriguing, I’d say it’s proven its worth.


Tin Pan Rhythm

I teach “Heart and Soul” to every student so they memorize the four chords: I, vi, VI and V. This knowledge helps to unlock the “secret formula” of most pop songs and triggers student musical imaginations. That’s why Tin Pan Rhythm is right up my alley! It allows users to easily create a four-chord pattern with piano, guitar, bass, drums and percussion. The selection of chords are organized into a pyramid of primary, secondary chords (diatonic) and then color or borrowed chords. Users can see their chord-knowledge put to use in this app but they also do not need to know much about chords in order to create a pleasing instrumental pattern. Patterns can be looped to an infinite number of combinations, recorded and shared. Follow this link for more info and to download the app.

This app has been a HUGE hit with my students of all ages!


Yamaha Chord Tracker

Fellow savvy colleague Linda Christensen informed me of this hip, new app. After opening Chord Tracker, you can important any tune in your iTunes library into the app. Push play and as the tune plays, chord symbols of all the chord changes stream by so you can play along. This is a must-have app for your students who are eager to learn their favorite playlist tunes.

 

 

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