Clarinet Chronicles: Four Must-Have Apps for Musicians
by Dylan M. Scroggins
With the advancement of technology, it is now possible to have more concentrated and effective practice sessions using tools developed to help you improve. In today’s media-driven world, musicians can harness the power within these tools to take their practice sessions to new levels, while efficiently managing their time. Here are the top four must-have apps for musicians.
Developed by Marc Gelfo, a professional horn player with a degree in cognitive science, and Andrea Nysen, the creative director, Modacity has become my go-to app because it allows me to access many features in one place. Engineered to foster deliberate practice, Modacity allows people to organize practice materials into categories while keeping track of time spent on any particular goal, including the ability to record and listen back at half speed. The recordings, time stats, self-evaluations and notes are stored under the appropriate category. A metronome and drone are always available while simultaneously using any feature of the app. One of the best features of this app is the deliberate practice tool. The tool begins with questions designed to help you be specific about your goal (What do you most want to improve? How do you want to improve?) and includes suggestions.
Only available for Apple App Store with Andriod app in development: https://itunes.apple.com/us/developer/modacity-inc/id1239141952?mt=8
2. Sight-Reading Factory:
If you’ve ever struggled with sight-reading, this app may be able to help. I love this app because it generates new sight-reading excerpts whenever needed. With this app, I can work on sight-reading in difficult time signatures and keys with a metronome built right in. Sight-Reading Factory allows the user to manipulate the length of excerpts from eight measures to thirty-two measures and even has the option to play the sight-reading excerpt for the user.
Only available for the App Store with Andriod app in development: https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/sight-reading-factory/id1046058520?ls=1&mt=8
3. Tonal Energy Tuner:
Tonal Energy Tuner is an all-in-one app that features a tuner, drone, and an advanced metronome. The app is user-friendly, making it easy to benefit from the multiple features offered. The app can recognize a wide pitch range (C0-C8) and is able to adjust the pitch reference. Tonal Energy Tuner can quickly be changed between equal and custom temperaments. One of my favorite features is the chromatic pitch wheel with the option of vibrato in the drone feature of the app. Available for iOS and Android, this app includes over a dozen more features that are useful and is well worth the small price of $3.99.
4. Time Guru:
This is a special metronome for developing steady internal time. While there are other functions, I use this app for one particular feature: to randomly mute the metronome. For example, if I am working on excerpts, I will mute the metronome by 20% meaning the app will mute the metronome 20% of the time. If I am solid with my sense of time, I will go on to 30%, and so forth. This app also works well in chamber ensembles. This function is highly useful to check if you are internalizing the pulse.
What other apps do you use to help you in your practice sessions?