We are surrounded by technology in our day to day lives and while technology can often be a distraction to our music practice routines it doesn’t always have to be! Here are a few examples of how certain apps, devices, and websites can actually help you improve more quickly and efficiently on your instrument.
1) Practice with a Metronome
This isn’t the most cutting edge piece of technology but it is an essential tool when practicing a piece of music that is meant to be played at a particular tempo. When sitting down to practice with your metronome you can set it to a slower speed, say 60 bpm (beats per minute), practice your piece until you can play it perfectly at that tempo, and then gradually increase the BPM by 5-10 until you can play the piece at the normal tempo. You can find metronomes at any music store or download the many free metronome apps on your Apple or Android devices.
2) Slow Down Music Player (Apple)
This app is a very useful tool that allows you to take an audio file and slow it down or speed it it up while still keeping the music at it’s normal pitch. This is an especially useful tool that guitar players can use in order to learn licks and strumming patterns from a recording. This specific app is only available to Apple devices, but Android devices have similar apps available for free. The benefits of this app are similar to that of a metronome: slower is better if you want to master a difficult section or piece of music.
Tenuto is an app designed to help musicians learn music theory concepts and practice ear training exercises. It has exercises for both the guitar and piano including exercises and quizzes for fretboard and keyboard note memorization, fretboard and keyboard interval identification, scale charts, and chord charts. This app costs $3.99, but I would highly recommend it as an easy way to practice on the go.
4) Online Music Forums
Online forums such as those found on ultimate-guitar.com, reddit.com (/r/guitar, /r/piano, etc), mandolin-cafe, Stack Exchange, etc, can be great places to ask questions and gain knowledge on any music related topic. The blog page on Zera Music Company’s website also has a lot of short articles related to practice advice, instrument maintenance, and music theory.
Try using some of these technologies to see if they can be beneficial to you in your practice and ask your instructor if they have any apps or tools they could recommend that they like to use in their own practice routines. Also, be sure to subscribe to the Zera Music Co. Blog for updates about our new article series that will give readers an introductory overview of music theory!