10 Musical Uses for Your iPad or iPhone

By Ryan C. Williams, Mike Levine

You may be interested in creating music using virtual instruments and performing live or recording your own music on your iPad or iPhone. But musicians know that you need much more support to handle everything you need to do musically. Take a quick look at what else your iOS device can do to help you improve as a musician.

Tuners

Yes, most guitar amp simulators include tuners, but you can also buy more full-featured tuners that offer different tuning options (like the iStroboSoft app) or that help you tune all of your strings at the same time (like the Polytune app).

Metronomes

Yes, you need a metronome. This tool helps you get your rhythm down pat. Sure, drum machines can also keep time, but you run the risk of getting caught up in the feel of a drum pattern as opposed to the rhythm itself. Plenty of metronome apps exist, including those that handle odd-meter tempos and subdivisions.

SPL meters

Need to know how loud you are? Put an SPL meter on your phone and use the built-in mic (or an attached mic) to measure your dB level and tame yourself if you get too loud.

Real-time analyzers

Sound pros use analyzers to view frequency bands as the sound is produced so they can adjust the EQ accordingly. Use these apps to find out exactly where the feedback comes from and how you can reduce it.

Notation apps

If you need to put together a score on your iPad, apps like Notion can help you create the sheet music you require on the fly. Store your music on the iPad or print it out for others to use (because you don’t want others touching your iPad, right?).

Sheet music and tablature apps

If you read music but don’t need to create it, plenty of apps exist that let you download and read sheet music straight from your iPad (or iPhone, but that screen is awfully small). Guitarists can also use tablature, if they wish.

Computer DAW controllers

If you’re recording on Logic Pro X, but your computer is all the way across the room, you can use your iPad to remotely control your recording session from wherever you are. Some DAWs offer dedicated controls, but you can also customize others to work with your DAW of choice.

Live sound mixer controllers

Companies like Yamaha, PreSonus, and Mackie offer apps that let you control your digital mixer from your iPad. Wander around the venue and make sure the band sounds great from all angles.

Instrument remote controls

Just like DAWs and mixers, you can remotely control instruments and amps from your iPhone or iPad. Stroll around the stage or adjust your amp settings from your mic stand.

Education and learning apps

Apps like Capo and iReal Book help you learn all styles and genres of songs by either playing tracks for you or even analyzing songs and showing you the proper chords. Almost makes it too easy, doesn’t it?