iPhone Music Apps: Overview

The iPhone has revolutionized hand held computing.  I just love my device and I am careful not to call it a phone.  Personally, I can’t say I am very happy with it as a phone.  First and foremost (AT&T, I hope you are listening), there is no reason why in 2009 that I can’t drive down I-95 from Stamford, CT to NYC and have an uninterrupted conversation.  Not one but SEVERAL dropped calls. We’re talking about a MAJOR route not some back roads. Enough ranting, the phone aside, it’s the computing device that I love.  Instant access to my email, Internet, maps with Google locater and directions and a variety of applications, ranging from free to on average $10 to upwards of $50.  It’s those applications that I think are particularly interesting to music educators that I’ll focus on in coming articles. Today, here’s a brief overview.

If you don’t know how to view and get apps for the iPhone, see my article iPhone & Music Apps.

Go to the Apps Store, and find the Music category. I wish Apple would come up with subcategories (instruments, sequencers, recorders, etc) but you are stuck sifting through the 23 or so pages of applications in the Music category. In the center/main screen you can then sort them by Name, Most Popular or Release Date. The default is Release date so you’ll be looking at the most recent releases or updates. The sidebars have the most popular Paid and Free. If you click on the arrow in the Paid or Free sidebar, it will list them according to the top 100 in that category to date.


Looking at the number of apps can be a bit daunting at first so here’s a tip to initially sift through them. Sort them according to “Paid” or “FREE”.  Free is good so I like to start there.  Free programs can be teasers for the paid versions but often enough they are complete programs. The Top 100 downloads doesn’t mean that they are the best-liked programs so you’ll need to look at the reviews and star ratings. It’s actually easier to see the reviews if you are looking at the Apps Store on your iPhone.  The reviews are right there.  Unfortunately, when you are looking from your computer, you have to click on the app to reveal more details to see the reviews.

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Turn ANY Computer Lab into a Music Lab Instantly with Korg’s nanoKeys

Korg has started shipping their newest line of potable USB products nanoSeries controllers. They are designed to be no wider than a standard laptop and fit beautifully into a laptop bag so you can make music anywhere, anytime. Click here for tech specs.

Korg's nanoSeries controllers

Korg’s nanoSeries controllers

For those of you who just HAVE to make music where ever you go, these babies were made for you. Grab one for around $50 retail, plug it into the USB port and you are ready to go. I plugged the nanoKey right into my iMac G5 and my Macbook Pro and it was instantly playable in GarageBand and Logic Pro. They are what they are; small, lightweight and portable so don’t try to compare these to any full sized keyboard. They have a decent feel and a good spring back to the pad action keys. At first, I thought they would be flimsy given their plastic construction. I wouldn’t want to drop them off a table (more one that later) but it’s a Korg product and Korg has been making fantastic keyboards for many years. I have used it for a few weeks with Logic Pro, GarageBand and Sibelius and just love it! These babies really hold up under use.


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