There are so many iPad apps that are great for piano teachers, I’m sure there are many that I’ve not even explored!
These 7 apps however, are the ones that I find myself using in lessons every week. These are the ones that I have reached for, again and again, since I got an iPad a year ago.
If you get an iPad and decide to download just one app to use in lessons, make it Piano Maestro.
Nothing holds a candle to this app for usefulness, design, ease of use, flexibility and developer support. There is a thriving Facebook group dedicated to the app, where you can go and ask questions, and make suggestions for improvements.
Piano Maestro helps sight-reading, rhythm, beat, and student enthusiasm; but even more amazingly it’s free for all piano teachers and their students! You’ve got nothing to lose!
***Update: Piano Maestro is no longer free, but their prices are still a great deal for what you’re getting.
2. Decide Now!
This app isn’t specific to music teaching, it’s just a spinning wheel…that may seem silly, but that’s what makes it my number two most used app!
You can create custom wheels with anything, improv prompts, scales, key names, etc. It’s the simplest way to gameify anything that students generally find boring.
When you’re testing scales or chords, don’t just say them, spin for them! If you’re looking for more ideas for DecideNow!, check out Leila Viss’s post ‘50 Ways to use DecideNow!‘.
This is a metronome app, of which there are so many choices in the app store. I got this one in a sale last year, and I love it’s flexibility. You can change the time signature, beat divisions and tempo as normal, but you can also change pretty much everything else.
There’s a large variety of sounds from clicks to beeps, and most importantly for me the visual aspect of the bar moving across the screen which really helps some students who just don’t “hear” the ticks while they’re playing.
This one is fairly obvious, but I really do pull up YouTube on my iPad all the time. We use YouTube in so many ways.
I make playlists of different performances of repertoire so we can compare and contrast the different interpretations, or playlists of repertoire choices they can choose from.
We also use YouTube as an extra incentive in the 40 Piece Challenge by recording and uploading all of their pieces as we go.
I still discover new features in ForScore all the time, there’s just so much you can do! You can store all your sheet music, make playlists, bookmark, and annotate scores.
While there are loads of features in ForScore, what I like most about it is that they don’t get in your way.
ForScore doesn’t make me feel like I have to learn how to use everything just to use it, the extra features are just there if you need them later.
6. iReal Pro
I’ve been using iReal Pro for about the last two years, as it’s also available on android. This is a great way to spice up lead sheets and chord chart playing.
You can make your own chord charts, or just choose from the thousands that users have created. Then choose your tempo, transpose, choose the tempo and style; and play along with a full band!
You can also control the levels and tune out the various instruments. I often use just the rhythm section as a more interesting metronome.
It seems odd that this would be my favourite app for drilling note names, it’s so simple! Notes are shown and students have to identify them to help their horse win the race.
So why do I love this so much? Well, it’s completely customisable so that you can choose exactly which notes are drilled, such as only landmarks notes or c position notes, or just the bass clef.
The second and most important reason is that students always finish a race and say “AGAIN!”. Awesome.
What would be in your top seven?
Is there any essential ones you feel I missed out? Any of the apps I’ve mentioned that you’re not a fan of? I’d love to hear your experiences!