iOS Apps for Music Students and Professionals

Must Have iPhone/iPad Apps for Musicians

We all love finding tools that make our practicing easier.  If you are a musician and you own an iPhone or an iPad, get ready to increase your productivity exponentially!  The apps below are becoming the new standards for performers and teachers all over the world. I get asked about these apps EVERY. DAY. so here is a roundup of what I use, how I use it, and helpful information to get you started.

Happy practicing!

Tuning App

I love Cleartune by Bitcount ltd. ($3.99, iPad & iPhone).  It is easy to use and pretty to look at.  I’ve said for a few years now, this is the kind of app I expect to be required at conservatory.  I teach all ages and levels, so I am thrilled to be able to use the same app for everyone.

49238-cleartuneHere are the best Cleartune features:

  • Notes are displayed on a continuos wheel
  • Ultra responsive 25 cent range fine tuning display
  • Pitch Pipe/Tone generator (great for scales!)
  • Selectable tone waveform (love this!)
  • Automatic or manual note selection
  • Needle Damping option
  • Accuracy ±0.01 semitone (±1 cent)
  • Selectable Temperaments (YAY!!!)
  • Selectable Notations (such as Solfège)
  • User-defined temperament and notations
  • Support for transposing instruments
  • Automatic reference note calibration
  • Adjustable A4 calibration in 0.1 Hz increment

The features I use the most are the tuner (with the tone generator or the needle display) and the selectable waveform.  I notice that many students are able to hear the intonation differently depending on the waveform shape.  I love being able to adjust this for each individual ear.


Tempo by Frozen Ape (full version $2.99, iPad & iPhone) is the best one I’ve found so far.  When I was at conservatory, I spent several hundreds of dollars on different metronomes (remember the Dr. Beat??).  This app does it all!  I connect it with my bluetooth speaker and it plays loud enough for private lessons, chamber music, orchestra rehearsals, and Suzuki group class!

My favorite Tempo features:16220-tempo

  • 35 different time signatures, including compound and complex meters
  • 6 rhythm patterns for simple meters and 3 for compound meters
  • Customize accents or turn beats off to create more complex rhythms
  • Tap tempo function
  • Tempo ranges from 10 to 800
  • Visual feedback in the form of pulsating LEDs
  • Two pendulum types, each with two animation types
  • Flash whole screen on the first beat
  • Store presets in multiple setlists
  • Share setlists via email as importable Tempo file or text file
  • Choose from 14 sound sets, including one optimized for live drumming click tracks
  • Voice counting
  • Vibration mode
  • Classical metronome and Italian tempo markings
  • Multi-tasking support: plays in background, with audio from other apps

Tempo Adjustment

I am obsessed with the Amazing Slow Downer by Roni Music (full version is completely worth $14.99, iPad & iPhone)!  It is easy to import songs from your iTunes or Spotify playlist right from your device.  As a chamber and orchestral performance professional, I use this app almost every day.  Who doesn’t want to practice with the Julliard String Quartet?  As a teacher, this is one of my favorite apps for ALL levels of students.  The young ones can use it to review older pieces and I find that this can help solidify their rhythmic integrity.  I use this for recital preparation for all of my students to help reduce the fees to our accompanist.

Amazing Slow Downer features:a38c8-images

  • import any song and slow it down or even speed it up by changing the speed between 25% (1/4 of original speed) and 200% (double speed) without changing the pitch
  • change the tuning or musical key
  • setup seamless loops by touching the “Set” buttons during playback.

 Tweet @_rachelviolin if you have any questions!

Check back soon for new posts about each of these apps.  I’ll include a step-by-step guide to making the most of technology in your practicing and teaching. 

Bluetooth Speaker

A bluetooth speaker is a really necessary accessory for anyone wanting to make the most of these apps.  For Cleartune, I use the speaker to play a loud drone during scales or for any detailed intonation work.  For Tempo, a bluetooth speaker can make it loud enough to use a metronome in many different environments.  I’ve managed to use it successfully with a small 25 person string orchestra.  Obviously, it works great for smaller groups.  For Amazing Slow Downer, having the music played loudly is a big help and I don’t recommend trying to use this app at all without a speaker.  Whenever a musician is playing live with a recording, we need it LOUD!  I’ve used my speaker in the middle of a group of 30 young violinists.  The entire class could hear it clearly and it was a great way to play with accompaniment without hiring someone for the entire class.  I did some research and was very attracted the the many capabilities and durability of the UE Boom.

The speaker I use:  UE BOOM

  • 360-degree speaker that drops bold, immersive sound in every direction
  • Versatile, go anywhere shape that is designed to be spontaneous
  • Colorful acoustic skin with plasma coating makes UE BOOM water and stain resistant
  • Switch songs, adjust volume and take phone calls from up to 50 feet away.
  • Wirelessly connect two UE BOOMs together in stereo via the UE BOOM app to spread the sound and pump up the volume
  • Rechargeable battery has 15 hours of playback. Lithium Batteries are included, built into the device and are non-removable

Currently coveting the now available UE Boom 2 !!!!


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