Studies have shown that teaching a child to play an instrument has long-lasting positive benefits. For parents and teachers looking to engage kids in the study of music, a steady stream of new apps will keep music lessons fresh and exciting. Regardless of a child’s level of musical experience, these apps will offer new ways to reinforce existing skills while teaching new strategies:
Based on learning to play the piano, Nota offers users a basic course in music theory that can help both beginners and advanced players increase their skills. With over 100 different topics included in the app, users can learn basic chords, scales, and symbols. A simple browser interface makes it easy to look up specific chords and play or invert them, as well as set roots to sharp or flat. Play along on the four-octave piano, or use the app on an iPad to take advantage of the app’s full-size Grand Piano.
2. Musicopoulos: Music Theory and Practice
Reinforcing one of the most basic and important skills in becoming a musician, Music Theory and Practice offers music students a valuable resource for improving their abilities. With drill and practice options for intervals, chords, scales, and more, the app will not only help your child improve his or her knowledge of music, but it will also take them to the next level of performance. Available lessons for beginner, intermediate and advanced students let your child progress through increasingly difficult skill sets.
3. Music Theory Pro
Designed to promote music theory fluency, Music Theory Pro is a customizable app that helps to sharpen the user’s skill and ears. Informational videos offer resources to learn scales and chords, allowing users to master intervals, key signatures, and notes. Competition-style quizzes challenge all users to pit their knowledge against others, working to earn high scores and beat others around the world. For more advanced students, a jazz component includes extended chords and altered dominants.
Perfect for student musicians, MusicPal actually reads sheet music to let users hear tricky musical scores. Simply snap a picture of the music, and MusicPal will play it. Users can zoom in on a particular problem area for specific instruction, change playback speed, and mute staves to isolate left- or right-hand parts. A must have for any piano student, MusicPal also includes a symbol-search game that teaches the app to more accurately interpret music.
5. Young Person’s Guide to the Orchestra
Inspired by composer Benjamin Britten’s piece in the educational film Instruments of the Orchestra, this app introduces students (both young and old) to the members of the orchestra in an engaging and fun way. Students select an instrument and can hear musical pieces that highlight their chosen instrument, follow it into the orchestra pit, and see pieces of the score to follow along. Beautiful illustrations, engaging videos, and more make this app a wonderful introduction to orchestral instruments.
6. Play By Ear
Play By Ear plays exercises for intervals, chords, and melodies, and then uses pitch recognition technology to judge whether the user plays the notes back correctly on his or her specific instrument. By using their actual instruments, users develop increased proficiency in mimicking the sounds heard. They also develop more robust listening abilities. Settings are customizable, thus allowing users to progress at their own pace.
7. 123 Kids Fun Music
Perfect for preschoolers and toddlers, 123 Kids is a fun, colorful introduction to music and sounds. Offering 25 different instruments for kids to explore, the app lets users hear the different tones of instruments, explore musical melodies, and try their hand at composing original songs. With hundreds of graphics and special effects, this app is sure to entertain even the youngest children.
8. Steinway Metronome
Created by the famous piano company Steinway & Sons, this digital metronome provides the familiar tick-tick-tick of a standard metronome, which helps music students keep time while they practice their instruments. Users can customize the time signature, sound options, and visual indicator. They can even change the display to match the wood finish of their instrument. To choose a tempo, users simply select the time signature on the dial or manually “tap” the screen with their finger to help the app find the beat.