Tablet and Smartphone Apps for Music Education: Android and iOS

Tablet Music Teaching Applications

Updated February 2014 (Apps in green are new for 2014)

Below is a selected list of music teaching and creation resources selected from 1000's of tablet and smartphone apps for Android and iOS (iPhone & iPad). More and more options appearing everyday. I do not pretend to know all the best apps out there for music education.

The list below is a highly selective based on what I've seen and in some cases used. This list is biased to iOS because that is what I use the most and from my perspective the music industry is focused on iOS platform for reasons articulated below. Starting in 2013 I tried to offer some Android tablet/phone options as well. The mind-boggling explosion of apps make it almost humanly impossible to stay on top of new music apps. Please feel free to email me from the Contact tab on this website with contributions or edits.

David B. Williams, Illinois State University Emeritus

What's new for tablet music as of February 2014? [back to the top ]

  1. iOS (iPad and iPhone) remains industry preference over Android and Window OS for tablets and smartphone (see notes below)

  2. Greater sophistication of iOS music apps for composing, sequencing, mixing, recording as professionals make greater use of mobile music computing

  3. More commercial desktop music apps either going to tablet versions or remote controlling desktop apps: Cubasis, FL Studio, Traktor DJ for iOS, Rebirth, Logic Remote, Touchable 2, Auralia & Musition, MakeMusic Smartmusic, to name a few.

  4. Greater use of IPad-based music studios pushing more sophistical hardware solutions for tablets for MIDI, multichannel audio, alternate controllers, mixing and more

  5. HTML5 removing Flash constraint on accessing music web solutions (e.g., Noteflight 3.0). Web delivery of desktop apps thru HTML5 -- see .

  6. Three interapp solutions for audio within iOS: Audiobus; Inter-App Audio (IAA), and Background Audio (see newest GarageBand). Audiobus is a standalone app and an API for other developers to include in their own apps. Audiobus allows live audio streaming between apps, providing for the ability to use apps together like modules in a studio. It's the virtual cabling that ties everything together. IAA and Background Audio are Apple's solutions for inter-music-app connectivity. For a discussion of IAA vs. Audiobus see this 9TO5Mac article.

  7. More musicians using tablets and apps like Forscore (iOS) for music in performance with or without wireless foot pedal controls. Music stands for tablets now available.

  8. Collaborative recording and music creation: SoundCloud (AD / iOS ), SMULE Magic Piano (AD / iOS ), UberHype (AD), and GigBaby! (iOS ).

  9. Multimedia music content formerly implemented on CD-ROM (i.e., The Voyager CD music disc of the past) now appearing as apps. See Touch Press' Beethoven, Lizst, and Orchestra apps as examples as well as the Ken Burns American history app).

Android Tablets for Music? (Samsung, Google, Asus, Acer, Lenovo, HP....)[back to the top ]

Some reasons expressed as to why serious music apps tend to be developed for iOS rather than Android:

  1. Audio implementation from various hardware manufacturers is inconsistent making it difficult for programmers writing sophisticated music apps.
  2. Speed and memory of iOS devices over Android (e.g., latest GarageBand with the A7 processor will handle 32-Tracks)
  3. Varied versions of Android OS (again, this keep improving) and inconsistent API (the key programming glue that developers need to build music apps). This makes it difficult to do low-level programming for things like digital signal processing (DSP) and the like
  4. Latency issues, especially audio-in (this is slowly improving with new Android OS updates and new tablet hardware)
  5. USB port needs to be OTG (On The Go) compliant and MIDI devices must be class ready (requiring no drivers)
  6. Expectation that apps should be free or cheap for Android
  7. Music developers had a significant head start with writing music apps for the iPhone and iPad and pro industry has bought into this in a big way

Few Android apps that will handle external audio or MIDI. Good examples of those that do audio well: Grand Piano Pro (Keyboard synthesizer). Opus #1 Pro (Organ synthesizer), and IK Multimedia's USB Recorder Pro , Audio Evolution Mobile DAW, FL Studio, n-Track Studio Pro (all of these appear below).

Elementary/General Music [back to the top ]

  • The History of Jazz (iOS)
  • explOratorium Sound Uncovered (iOS )
  • The Orchestra (iOS | video demo), Beethoven's 9th (iOS | video demo), Liszt Sonata (iOS | video demo) from Touch Press.
  • Ken Burns American history (iOS video demo), look for the music content imbedded through the timeline.
  • CSO (iOS / AD ) & LA Phil (iOS / AD ), Bravo Gustavo (iOS )
  • iOS Young Children's apps: Staff Wars (iOS), Musical Me! (iOS | video demo), TuneTrain (iOS | video demo), A Jazzy Day (iOS | video demo)
  • Android Young Children's apps: Kids Piano (AD), Music Note Flashcards (AD), Little Fox Music Box (iOS | AD | video demo), Genikids Orchestra ( iOS / AD )
  • GSCE UK Music Curriculum app: GCSE Music Revision: AoS1 on Western Art Music (AD)
  • Oxford Music Dictionary (iOS )
  • SMULE Magic Piano (AD / iOS ); SMULE Glee (iOS ); Let's Xylophone (AD ); and Glitchamaphone (iOS )
  • Spotify ( iOS / AD )

Music Theory [back to the top ]

  • Auralia Interval Sing (iOS | video demo) and Interval Recognition (iOS) for iPad & iPhone (Rising Software)
  • Theory Lessons (iOS ) and Tenuto (Ricci Adams) (iOS )
  • Musical Ears ( iOS / AD )
  • Ear Wizard (iOS | video demo)
  • Karajan Pro (iOS ); Ear Trainer (iOS ); Scales Lexicon (iOS ); myRhythm (iOS )
  • Score Master (AD ); Music Tutor SightRead (AD ); and Interval Recognition (AD ); My Piano Assistant (AD )
  • Mapping Tonal Harmony Pro ( iOS / AD ) also Mac & PC desktop versions

Music Aids [back to the top ]

  • APS MusicMaster (iOS), MusicMaster Pro (iOS ): Swiss-army-knife of tools for music techer from tuner to metronome, to fingerings and much more.
  • ClearTune ( iOS / AD ) --this is the iPhone tuner app I use; n-Track Tuner ( iOS / AD ); and, much favored by music teachers, Tonal Energy (iOS | video demo)
  • Mobile Metronome (AD ) or Tempo (iOS ). Tempo is my preferred iPhone metronome.
  • Soundbeam (iOS ) or OsciPrime Oscilloscope (AD )
  • Decibel (iOS ) and SoundMeter (AD )
  • Fingerings for Brass & Winds (iOS )
  • Fingerings (Clarinet & Flute) (AD ) & Bassoon (AD ) and many more instruments
  • DrumDizzle Sticking Notation (AD ) and Rude (AD ) for drum rudiments
  • Practice with tempo change maintaining pitch: AnyTune Pro (iOS ), Amazing Slow Downer (iOS ), Practice Makes Perfect (AD )
  • Maestro XL for conducting training (iOS)
  • Vocal Exercises (iOS); SInging Vocal Warm Ups (iOS); and Vocal Trainer (AD) for vocal warm-ups
  • DrillBookNext (iOS / AD and PC & Mac desktops) for planning & charting marching band maneuvers (video demo)

eScore Readers: Play along [back to the top ]

  • Home Concert Xtreme (iOS )
  • iReal Pro ( iOS / AD also available for Mac OSX) (video demo)
  • Fakebook (AD )
  • Jammit (iOS )
  • SmartMusic from MakeMusic (iOS | video demo) brings this unique, long-standing practice support to the iPad
eScore Readers: Readers (many to pick from, just a few noted below) [back to the top ]
  • forScore Version 6.0 (iOS ) I personally use this for performing along with my AirTurn pedals; it is now completely redesigned (video demo for earlier version)
  • MusicReader PDF (iOS ) just one component to across platform solution for e-scores (view video)
  • Musicnotes ( iOS / AD ) based on access to large library of scores for purchase
  • Mobile Sheets (AD )
  • NextPage (iOS)
  • UnRealBook (iOS) packages all your music or lyrics in one place for easy access
Notation [back to the top ]
  • Noteflight (Mobile with HTML5 ) now accessible from iPad (iOS) and Android (AD) tablet web browsers as well as from desktop computers.
  • Symphony Pro (iOS). This is back and updated; multi-stave notation app for the iPad
  • Notion for iPad (iOS ) iPad version of the desktop Notion notation software
  • Ensemble Composer Pro (AD )
  • Neuratron NotateMe (iOS / AD | video demo) stylus or hand notation to traditional notation; Musitek SmartScore NoteReader (iOS / AD) due in 2014
  • Sibelius AVID Scorch (iOS ) and Finale SongBook (iOS), both designed to perform scores created with the respective software
  • iRig MIDI Recorder (iOS ). Placed this here since it could be used to generate MIDI files for notation as well as sequencing

Composing Helpers [back to the top ]

  • Chordy (iOS | video demo) chord player app for music creators, play chords and chord tones.
  • ProChords (iOS | video demo) unique app that helps write chord progressions based on database of songs
  • Chordbot Pro (iOS | AD ) songwriting tool and electronic backup band
  • iMashup (iOS) add your own music to edit, mix, and recreate mashups (video demo)
  • ScoreCloud (iOS) convert your sung or played melody to notation (video demo)

Instruments Virtual (and many, many more!) [back to the top ]

  • 50 in 1 Piano (iOS )
  • Grand PIano Pro & Opus #1 (AD ) one of few Android apps with MIDI input on select Android devices
  • Musical Pro w/Piano (AD )
  • Ukulele Chord (AD ), Andser Bongos (AD ), Gamelan DJ (AD )
  • iBone ( iOS / AD ) & iTrump ( iOS ) these are great fun!
  • Ethnic Instruments: Infinite Kalimba (iOS ), Janggu Drums (iOS ) , AirHarp ( iOS / AD ) and Harmonica ( iOS )
  • RealDrum (AD ) & DrumKit (AD )
  • Ukulele for Dummies interactive book (iOS ) Nice example of an interactive music teaching app from a book
  • Finger Stomp (iOS) for urban music making of hip-hop and rap street music (video demo)

Instruments Electronic (and many more!) [back to the top ]

  • iKaossilator (Korg) and more (iOS ) many powerful Korg synth devices in virtual app form
  • Korg Gadget (iOS) with 15 different synths in one package (view demo)
  • Sampletank (comes free with IK Multimedia products) (iOS )
  • nLogSynth Pro analog synthesizer (iOS )
  • WI Guitar and WIVI Band 15-in-1 (Wallender Instrument) (iOS | video demo)Try the WIVI Band you won't believe how cool it is turning your iPhone into a wind instrument!
  • Theremin (iOS ) & Pocket Theremin (AD )
  • AUUG Motion Synth (iOS | video demo) Kickstarter project turns iPhone into expressive motion-controlled instrument.
  • Voice Processors: iVoxel (iOS) vocoder and vocoder synth; ImproVox (iOS) live voice harmonization, pitch correction, effects; Singaling (iOS) vocal effects processor; VoiceBot ( AD )
  • Synthecaster (iOS) a 99-cent guitar/keyboard fused instrument
  • MorphWiz (iOS | video demo)

Sequencers & Generators [back to the top ]

  • Modular synths: ShapeMix (iOS | video demo); Reactable ( iOS / AD | video demo ); Jasuto Pro ( iOS / AD | video demo); Sunvox (iOS / AD) (video demo) modular synth with tracker sequencer
  • Dingsaller (iOS | video demo) an algorithmic composing workspace
  • SampleWiz (iOS | video demo video demo 2); miniSynth PRO (iOS); Nanoloops (iOS / AD); Steinberg Nanologue (iOS) keyboard-based sequencer/synthesizer/sampler packages
  • Cakewalk Z3TA + iOS (iOS | video demo) classic waveshapping synth
  • MusePad (AD ) piano--roll style sequence
  • iSequence drum synth (iOS)
  • Propellerhead Figure (iOS | video demos) several Reason modules nicely packaged for synth use on an iPhone/iPad
  • Moog's Animoog for iPhone (iOS | video demo) put Moog synths in your iPhone
  • Propellerhead ReBirth for iPad (iOS) emulates Roland TB-303 bass synth and 909 drum machines for dance music
  • EasyBand Studio (AD ) auto accompaniment tool for your solo work
  • Seline 2.0 (iOS| video demo) based on Seline HD for live performance and improv

Looping, Matrix, or Beat Machines [back to the top ]

  • Matrix generators: MusicGrid (AD ); TonePad (iOS ); and Beatwave (iOS )
  • ReLoop (AD ) sequencer; Loopseque (iOS)
  • Groovemaker 2 (iOS ) many different music genres to choose from the IK Multimedia library; SPC Music SketchPad 2 (AD )
  • SoundPrism (iOS | video demo) use unique visualizations of pitch to create melody, tone & chord patterns
  • iMaschine (iOS) from Native Instruments, a beat sketchpad with drums and keyboard or recording voice (video demo)
  • ReBirth (iOS) from Propellerhead taking the original ReBirth to the iPad (video demo)
  • Electum Drum Machine/Sampler (AD ); The Drum Machine (DM1) (iOS )
  • Native Instruments Traktor DJ (iOS | video demo)

Digital Audio Editing, Recording, Recognition, Sharing [back to the top ]

  • TwistedWave (iOS | video demo) audio editor for iOS, Mac OSX, and web-based app
  • Hokusai (iOS | video demo)
  • n-Track Studio Standard & Pro Multitrack ( iOS / AD ) now PC, Mac, iOS and Android
  • J4T MultiTrack Recorder ( AD); FourTracks Pro (AD ); iRig Recorder ( iOS / AD )
  • AudioCopy 2.0 (iOS) for copy/paste audio and catalog sounds between many iPhone/iPad apps
  • AudioBus (iOS | video demo) now route your audio streams between iPhone or IPad music apps
  • SoundCloud ( iOS / AD ) for recording to the Cloud and sharing
  • SoundHound ( iOS / AD ) and Shazam ( iOS / AD ) for recognizing commercially recorded music (audio recognition)

DAWs and more [back to the top ]

  • GarageBand for iOS 7 (iOS | video demo) much more performance oriented than GarageBand for Mac OSX
  • Steinberg's Cubasis (iOS ) and share projects with PC and Mac Cubase (video demo using Cubasis with GarageBand and FL Studio)
  • FL Studio Mobile (iOS / AD | video demo)
  • Auria (Wavemachine Labs) (iOS | video demo)
  • Music Studio (iOS ); MultiTrack DAW (iOS ); Meteor Multitrack Recorder (iOS ); NanoStudio (iOS)
  • Audio Evolution Mobile DAW (AD | video demo)
  • Control your desktop DAW from the iPad
    • V-Control Pro (iOS) for ProTools, Logic Pro, Cubase, Final Cut, and more
    • Touchable 2 & mini (iOS) for Abelton Live
    • Logic Remote (iOS) for Logic Pro & GarageBand for the Mac OSX
    • Touch DAW (AD) for Cubase, Live, Logic, Pro Tools, Sonar and more

Hardware for Tablets [back to the top ]

See my other helpful websites for low budget music software and web-based music applications for the music classroom. And for helpful tutorials and reviews for using tablets in the classroom check out Chris Russell's blog Technology in Music Education


Website content Copyright © 2008-2014 by David Brian Williams