As January is coming to a close and all our resolutions are starting to lose momentum I wanted to recommend a few apps that I currently use myself or previously have.
Time management and planning
A thing that many people struggle with, myself included, is managing our practice time. From the stacks of partially filled out journals, random pieces of paper, and google calendars that just don't get any use, I have recently used a few apps that help me both plan, and keep track of my goals and time.
Work Log (Free, google play link)
Work Log is a great and simple app from AR productions which is designed to track working hours. There are a few reasons why I like this: It's simple, tracks overall work time which you can look back at, you can add quick notes about what the session was for. The takeaway from this is you can get a good view on how much time you are putting in, and a general overview about what was worked on.
Again this isn't a ground breaking thing, and lots of options exist, for me the simplicity of Work Log is what makes it great, and makes me use it.
This app, when used well can be wicked powerful, it also got me off of sending myself daily emails. Features I like to make use of is setting up several notebooks, using the built in ability to record video, and more. The multiple notebooks are useful, I tend to keep one for teaching, one for clinics, a personal one, and then a planning section.
So the whole "planning" thing is tricky, I started using Wunderlist as a way for my wife and I to manage our groceries, then it became my to do list for Timepoint Ensemble. One day as I was about to practice at lunch during a clinic I realized I didn't have my practice note book on me, where I made my daily list from (which I make from an email I send myself after each day's practice) and I cursed myself for my lack of preperation. Then it hit me, Wunderlist strikes again!
Tuners and Metronomes
Alright, so there are literally hundreds of these out there, all of various function and use. I know many people have their favourites so I'm not trying to reinvent the wheel on this one, so here are the ones I am currently using.
A classic, it works, it's accurate, and shiny. That's all.
A nice little metronome, the features are easy, you can move the accents around quickly, lots of subdivision are available as well in the paid version you can make use of it's pretty fancy polyrhythm features.
So in general a lot of ear training apps are super underwhelming, and after the first few days of excitement, they basically go unused and get uninstalled. Here is one that have stood the test of time for me, for now.
It works, it's simple, and it lets me focus on basic ear training. A few highlights is that it does a good job establishing key centers, and you can change the instrument sound, so that's cool. I do truly appreciate it's simple so you don't waste tons of time dealing with it's navigation.
Here are some other apps I like to use
Mobile Sheet Music Reader (free and paid, google)
I have used this for my tablet's sheet music program for years, it works, it's stable, and it has a good organization system.
Work on your ear by working on your improv chops. I try to spend some time daily with this app. In short it's a digital backing band, you can choose from tons of premade charts, or make your own and get your tunes on.
So that is it, more a less. The apps that have helped me drag less paper around with me everywhere, and have let me stay as plugged in as I can, which is a thing I like to do. Would love to hear other's favorite apps in the comments below.
Also, have you checked out my new student horn book? Get your's now for $5.99.