The Full Scoop on Chords

Here’s an interactive ebook featuring videos, colorful images and narrated instruction that’s suited well for aleila flipped classroom approach. Assign your students to read all or a portion of the ebook prior to a lesson. Less time will be spent on introducing a concept and more time reinforcing it.

Better Ears

One of the only app that provides aural drills not only of chords but chord progressions.

Cheeky Fingers

The developers define the app as a chord dictionary and a musical cheat sheet which is absolutely true. Basic information is literally at your finger tips as the graphics show fingers playing just about any chord you can think of. Chord symbols are included so this would be a terrific resource for anyone studying, playing and creating with chords and chord progressions.

Chords n Keys

The video shows exactly what the app drills: chords and their identity within the context of a key.

The Chord Wheel

With the circle of keys, it teaches the relationships between chords, keys and progressions. The book is my favorite tool over the app.

Garage Band

A staple app for looping, it is a good app for inspiring young composers and mastering chord progressions, rhythms and tapping creative inclinations.

Good Ear Pro

No nonsense ear-training app for teaching just about every type of interval, chord and scale.

Hook Theory

A good friend and outstanding iPad (!) piano teacher, Wendy-Kirby Alexander, recently told me how much she enjoys teaching with 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 is anunnamed-1 app that Bradley Sowash and I could not teach without at our 88 Creative Keys Camp. If you instruct your students to read and play from lead sheets, then you need this app as it generates lead sheets. After desired chords are entered or a chart is downloaded from the global-sized iReal Pro forum you can choose from countless styles. This app is perfect for improving the groove of rookie AND pro improvisers alike.

Here’s a past post of how to use this app to enhance your lessons. Here’s a throwback video (my very first one EVER) on how I use iReal Pro.

Highly customizable drills for chord ear training and and recognition and many other music elements beyond chords.

Helpful visual and audio reference for all things related to scales and chords.

Piano Maestro

This must-have app isn’t just for building better sight readers, it also includes TONS of exercises to build technique and theory skills including chords, inversions and cadences.


Chords are scrolled below a YouTube video of favorite pop artists


A must have app for any music teacher. Worksheets that can be completed on the iPad or downloaded for print drill major and minor chords, inversions and cadences.

Theta Music Trainer

Excellent and hip ear training drills for chord quality, function, cadences and much more beyond chords.


My go-to app for drilling just about all elements of music because it is so customizable and easy to use.

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! Here’s my blog post about it.

Ultimate Guitar

I have not tried this yet but it was recommended by fellow tech-savvy teacher Robyn Taff Harris. She says this:

I use it with all my singer/players since they can save their favorite lead sheets, transpose, play along with library and the scrolling feature is excellent for gigs. Not cheap but worth it for working musicians! I especially love mirroring through AppleTV for jam sessions so everybody can play/sing along!


The app is free but offers additional in-app purchases for courses on various topics. The app has teen-tested appeal!

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.

Want an excuse to come to Denver, Colorado?  Then attend our 88 Creative Keys Workshop improvisation workshops and webinars.

At our workshops and webinars you’ll learn first hand how to use AND teach with these the top music apps.

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