What is your favorite app?

by Leila Viss

While preparing an article for my column "Teaching with Apps" in Clavier Companion, I got stuck. My objective was to name the top five apps I'd recommend for first-time iPad owners. There were just too many favorites and the fifth one was not "rising to the top" as expected. So, I decided to gather the opinions of other teachers to help determine the fifth app to appear on the short list. To do this, I posted the following question in the iPad Piano Teachers Facebook Group administered by Linda Christensen.

If you had to recommend five apps for teaching piano, what would they be? Don't think about it too long, just go. 

Around 35 teachers replied to the post and their "votes" were tallied. The five apps teachers listed the most frequently are featured first. Next, I include the four apps I selected for the Clavier Companion article. The names of additional apps suggested by fellow teachers follow in alphabetical order.

As a new iPad owner and piano teacher I hope you find this list helpful as you integrate the iPad into your instruction. For veteran iPad piano teachers, you may find the list enlightening and discover new apps to add to your already-crowded mobile device.

The Five Most Popular Apps from our poll

Piano Maestro (Sight reading library with a gaming environment)
Flashnote Derby (Customizable pitch recognition drills)
Sproutbeat (Hundreds of worksheets for completion on the iPad with an option to print)
Notesquish  (Customizable pitch recognition drills)
Rhythm Swing (Tutorial and drills for basic rhythms)

For Comparison

The top four apps that I included in my Clavier Companion column:

  • Flashnote Derby
  • Tenuto
  • Sproutbeat
  • Piano Maestro

Other Favorite Apps

Autoflip (Sheet music viewer with automatic page turning)
Basic Music Theory Flash Card App (Theory review)
Bass Cat Pro (Bass clef pitch recognition drills)
Better Practice App (Practice tracker)
Blob Chorus (Pitch ear training)
Camera (Native app to the iPad)
Chromatik (Catalog of free sheet music)
Decide Now (Customizable spinning wheel)
Dragon Scales (Spell and play scales)
Dropbox (Share files between devices and friends)
Flashcards (Create and share flashcards)
Home Concert Xtreme (Practice and perform with MIDI files)
iReal Pro (Generate lead sheet and backing tracks)
Jammit (Isolate an instrument and jam with a track)
Jelly Band (Create colorful orchestral loops)
Music for Little Mozarts (Reinforce concepts of the Alfred preschool method books)
Music Intervals (Recognize apps on the staff)
MusicNotes (Access your portable, digital sheet music library)
Music Theory Pro (Theory lessons and drills)
My Note Games (Pitch recognition)
Note Star (Purchase and read sheet music with a back-up band)
Notion (Notation for composition)
Practicia (Practice tracker)
Piano Tutor for iPad (Tutorials and drills for beginners)
ProMetronome (Free metronome)
ReadRhythm (Read and drill rhythm patterns)
Rhythm Cat  (Read and drill common rhythm patterns)
Rhythm Lab (Extensive drills for reading rhythms)
Rhythm Taps (Drills for rhythm reading)
PlaybyEar (Call and response drills to develop playing-by-ear skills)
Simply Piano (Step-by-step instruction of piano basics)
Strike a Chord (Learn chord symbols and create with chords)
Super Metronome Groovebox (Metronome with customizable grooves)
Tap That Note (Color-coded notation to teach pitch recognition)
Tenuto (Extensive and customizable exercises to drill pitch notation, chords and intervals)
The Most Amazing Sheep Game (Game that reinforces a steady pulse with clever graphics)
Tin Pan Rhythm (Create and orchestrate loops with chords)
Tonara (Interactive sheet music reader)
Treble Cat Pro (Identify notes in the treble clef)
Wunderlist (Create and share to-do lists)
Yamaha Chord Tracker  (Analyze and display chord symbols of tunes in your iTunes library)

leilaLeila Viss owns a creative-based, tech-savvy piano studio. She’s an organist, blogs at 88pianokeys.me, writes for Clavier Companion and authored The iPad Piano Studio. With Bradley Sowash she cofounded 88 Creative Keys, a keyboard improvisation workshop.