My girls are learning violin and need to practice often. The problem arises when their violins are out of tune and that learning-to-play-the-violin sound turns into a several-half-dead-cats-fighting sound. Pianos or electric keyboards are really handy, but if you don’t have one of them, there are Apps to help you tune just about any stringed instrument. They all work the same way: Just tap the strings on the virtual instrument to hear each note, then tune your instrument’s string to match. Most have in-app advertising, but that tends to disappear if you turn off wi-fi. Other apps such as virtual metronomes can also help. I’m only mentioning free apps in this post, but there are many paid apps that claim to help students with music theory and practice. Feel free to mention any music apps you use in the comments section.
I’m not going to mention every single tuner app in the iTunes store (there are heaps and they are easy to search for) but here are just a couple:
Violin Tuner Free – iPhone app by Alvin Yu. This is the one I use with my girls. It is incredibly simple to use and I just love it.
Viola Tuner – free iPhone App by Alvin Yu. It looks nearly identical to Violin Tuner, but has a different notes.
Mandolin Tuner – Alvin Yu does it again. When you are on to a good thing, I’d say stick with it. Made for iPhone but works well on iPad.
Guitar Tuner – by Alvin Yu for iPhone, and this one is quite awesome, at least to me. It not only has the standard tunings but alternate tunings and pitch up/down tunings.
Tuner! a universal app by Mad Calf Apps. If you have more than one stringed instrument to tune, this App might be for you. It has tunings for guitar, bass, banjo, mandolin, ukulele, cello, violin and viola. Alternate tunings and transposed tunings are available where applicable, and there is a chromatic option where you pick any note (handy for a cappella groups?).
Keeping the Beat
Tap Metronome – a universal app by Dan Souper. Very easy to select options, but I find the electronic pip sound a bit hard on the ears. No ads.
iRhythmicLite – by Vinay Krishnaswamy. The interface looks like the traditional metronome but the sound is electronic. It isn’t as hard on the ears as Tap Metronome, and the beat will run in the background if you need to close the App. The paid version has more features but this free version seems to have enough features for the budding musicians in my house.
Drum Beats – by Alvin Yu. This App provides 50 different drum beats to accompany guitarists, or any musician really. Think of it as an ultra-cool metronome.