Today, most students have access to a smartphone or tablet. However, these devices may not be fully utilized while in the practice room or during lessons. Apps for smartphones are generally inexpensive and can be extremely valuable to college-age musicians. The PAS University Committee has compiled a short list of curated apps to enhance musical growth in the practice room for the college musician. This list is not all-inclusive but focuses on some of our favorites. Most of these apps can be found on both iOS and Android platforms, and any deviations are noted. Hopefully this series of articles will allow you to get the most out of your smart device in the practice room!
APPS FOR PRODUCTIVITY
Maintaining a regular and well-balanced practice routine yields greater results when compared to irregular practice sessions that do not contain a healthy dose of warm-ups, technical exercises, and repertoire work. The following apps can help keep practice sessions organized and focused.
iOS and Android
Most smartphones have a stopwatch and timer. One way to use these is to limit practice to 10–20 minutes focused on one specific goal. After this block of time, move onto a different goal for another 10–20 minute time chunk. This approach to practice helps set specific goals for every minute at the instrument and can help combat burnout or lack of focus. It is also beneficial as it reengages the mind on a new, specific topic. Practicing in short periods of time also allows your hands and mind to recover better, as opposed to working over longer periods of time.
Toggl Work Time Tracker by Toggl
iOS and Android
This time tracker helps keep your practice sessions organized and focused. With Toggl, you can keep track of specific projects and share your timesheet with others. This app is especially useful for educators who require their students to practice a minimum number of hours a week. With sleek weekly, monthly, and yearly reports, you can compare your progress to the time invested and look for more areas to get the most out of your practice time.
forScore by forScore, LLC
With this sheet music app, you can easily store your sheet music library on your device and mark up your scores with ease. This app is also compatible with multiple Bluetooth pedals, such as AirTurn and PageFlip Cicada Bluetooth Page Turner Pedal, so you can turn pages with your feet without missing a beat.
Notability by Ginger Labs
This productivity app combines powerful hand-writing capabilities with typing and audio recording. The interface is simple and extremely pleasant to work in for all note-related activities. This app can be used to track student lessons, class notes, personal practice, and even to mark up documents to easily send as emails. Combined with the Apple Pencil, handwriting looks identical to pen and paper.
Evernote by Evernote
iOS and Android
FREE (Basic Plan)
This productivity app allows you to stay organized across multiple platforms while recording, typing, and handwriting notes. Multiple notebooks allow you to sort your practice routines, classwork, and other projects. These notebooks can then be easily shared with anyone. The free version of Evernote allows a limited number of notebooks, but the various paid plans unlock the full benefits of the app.
Peter Soroka is a diverse percussionist pursuing a Doctor of Music degree in Percussion Performance at Florida State University. He holds performance degrees from the University of North Texas and Virginia Commonwealth University, and has performed with the Tallahassee Symphony Orchestra and Sinfonia Gulf Coast in Destin, Florida.
Micheal Barnes is a master’s student at theUniversity of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music. He has performed with the National Youth Orchestra of the United States of America, the Ft. Smith Symphony, and the Symphony of Northwest Arkansas. He was recently awarded a teaching fellowship to work with the National Youth Orchestra and Choir of Belize, as well as being awarded the Mary Grey Thompson Award for outstanding contributions to the University of Oklahoma College of Fine Arts.