Apps for learning music

I’ve been actively playing music in a variety of bands for the past 17 years. I taught myself everything I know. I’m far from being an expert or professional, but I can hold my own against other musicians.

I would have loved an iPhone or iPad when I was learning how to play music. I probably would have progressed a lot faster, and might even be more competent than I am now.

For those potential musicians or secret rock stars out there, we’ve got a list of apps that are geared toward learning your instrument. We believe these are some of the best apps for learning music. Have a look at our selection and add to it if you think we’ve missed something…

Apps to learn an instrument

GuitarBots

GuitarBots

Using your iPhone’s microphone, play along with this guitar training app. If you are playing the notes or chords wrong, your virtual teacher will let you know. Learn chords, notes, rhythms, and more. By the time you get through the 300 lessons, you’ll be shredding like Jimi Hendrix. This app is available for free.

Piano Dust Buster

Piano Dust Buster

Similar to GuitarBots, this app also uses your iPhone’s microphone to listen to your skills. Play cords, notes, and even entire songs and receive immediate feedback from your virtual trainer. In Concert mode, players can compete against others. It’s like a battle of the bands. In Jukebox mode, play along with classic pop tunes, like John Lennon’s “Imagine” and Journey’s “Don’t Stop Believing.” This app is available for free.

Chord!

Chord

Learning guitar chords can be a complex, time-consuming, and physically painful experience, especially if you are a beginner and haven’t developed those much-needed calluses yet. This app is perfect for learning from the simplest to the most complex chords on the guitar or piano, plus, you can even get some music lessons on the “uke,” which we all know is the hipster’s instrument of choice. This app is available for $4.99.

Apps to read and compose music

Ultimate Guitar Tabs

Ultimate Guitar Tab

Once you’ve gotten a few music lessons under your belt, it’s time to dive, headfirst, into rock and roll. This app features nearly one million tabs and chords for popular songs. The extensive catalog includes music for guitar, bass, and the good old uke. Find song lyrics, save tab for offline access, and more. This app is available for $2.99.

Chromatik

Chromatik

Whomever came up with the phrase “practice makes perfect” was dead on in relation to becoming a better musician. However, playing the same song over and over again can really get boring after a while. This app shakes things up with a new song every day. The sheet music or guitar tab is available to use for seven days for free. Get notation for more than 20 different instruments and mark your copy with the included annotation tools. This app is available for free.

Musicnotes

Musicnotes

If you’ve learned how to play an instrument by taking classes you have probably also learned how to read music (I didn’t know how to until I went to college). If you write music, you probably have a special notebook for it. This app lets you add your own songs as PDFs and offers a huge selection of sheet music from the extensive library. This app is available for free.

Apps to add to your toolbox

Cleartune

Cleartune

A musician’s most important accessory to any instrument is a tuner. If your guitar is out of tune, no melody will be worth listening to. Even non-musicians can tell if a note is off. This app tunes any instrument with a sustained tone to near perfect accuracy. The note wheel interface makes it easy to see what pitch you are tuning. The app can be customized for different instrument calibrations. This app is available for $3.99.

Tempo

Tempo

Practicing chord progression and learning the Circle of Fifths is all well and good, but timing is everything. You may be able to hit all the right notes to “Tom Sawyer” by Rush, but if you can’t stick to the beat, you won’t be able to play along with anyone else. This app offers a huge variety of time signatures for every style of music. Plus, the setlist feature makes it possible for active musicians to keep track of song order for their next big show. This app is available for $1.99.

Metronome

Metronome

If you need your beats to be more precise than humanly possible, why not turn to technology for the answer. This app boasts being “more accurate than any other metronome app for iOS.” It features a practice timer to track your training sessions. The visual beat indicator makes it possible for you to see the beat without having to hear it. It comes with eight metronome sounds, including human voice. This app is available for free.

Tunable

Tunable

Even though the iPhone now makes it possible for you to have a tuner app, a metronome app, and a recorder app instead of carrying around three different devices, some people want even more convenience than that. This app brings together those three features into one simple app. You can tune your guitar using the brightly colored visual pitch indicator, tap to the rhythm with the number-based metronome, and capture song ideas with the in-app recorder. This app is available for $2.99.

These are only a few of the amazing apps available to musicians in the App Store. Whether you are a working professional or just starting out, this list is great for musicians of all levels. For more great apps to learn music, make sure to check this curated section of the App Store.

What are some of your favorite apps for musicians?

  • Derp

    The apps with the instruments are complete bs. You cannot learn how to play a guitar, piano or violin etc etc without using one in real life. Playing a keyboard on an iPad or iPhone is worthless.

    • The apps above are companion apps. Play along on your piano or guitar. The app is just the “teacher”

    • Dan

      your user name is well chosen.

      • Debbie Paulson

        You said it Brotha!!!

  • The Time Traveller

    Amazing set of companion tools to help the typical musician or a new learner!

  • tao zheng

    Hello guys, my ipad air camera is not working and got black screen. The others is fine. How can I do to fix this? Please help me.

    • édith Dupont

      Was it like this when you first bought it ?

      If yes or no , try a clean restore ( you’re not a jailbreaker right ? )

      If the problem is still there then it’s probably a hardware problem ( it happened once with my old iphone 3G ) in this case you must go to apple where they can replace it or …

      I hope this helps

  • evilplatypus

    Piano Dust Buster – word of warning; make sure to wear your headphones for this. The app often picks up it’s own noise as you’re playing.