Apple now has three products that all run apps from it’s incredible App Store (iPhone, iPod Touch, iPad). With the store holding well over 185,000 apps for use on these devices, it is inevitable that there are some apps that fit the needs of Music Education majors well. Here is a list of a few of these apps that I have found useful on my iPod Touch. NOTE: The phrase iPhone in this post is intended to refer to any device capable of running apps (iPhone, iPod Touch, iPad). App titles are links to the app in the App Store.
- iHomework ($0.99)-This course-management app allows you to easily manage all your assignments and grades. It allows you to categorize assignments by class and category, as well as record grades you receive on those assignments. Some more in-depth features include the ability to use weighted grades by category, list your instructors and their contact information (for easy access to e-mail the instructor), and set schedules for your courses. If you’re looking for a free homework/grade management app, consider MyHomework).
- Calendar (Native, Free)-The native Calendar app on the iPhone will help you keep track of your day-to-day schedule. You can use the app to synchronize your calendar to a Microsoft Exchange server or to Google Calendar. If you take your device with you everywhere you go, you can put your appointments in your calendar as soon as you make them, and you’ll never miss an appointment again.
- Simplenote (Free, $8.99 upgrade)-While the iPhone has a native “Notes” app, I have found myself wanting more out of a note-taking app. Simplenote fills this void by allowing the user to synchronize their notes with their computer (and even to a widget on Mac OS X machines). The font is also easier to read than the handwriting-font of the native app, and there are a few additional options that the native app does not have. Upgrading your subscription for $8.99 (through the Simplenote website) gives you access to automatic backup of your notes, in case you delete something inadvertently.
- Dropbox (Free)-This file-storage solution has been an incredible help to me as a college student. Dropbox allows you to store digital copies of all your files (up to 2GB initially) on their server, for access on any computer, and their app allows you to view any of these files no matter where you are on your iPhone. Additional features include the ability to quickly share a link to the file, or attach it to an email. This is a fantastic service for a college student on-the-go, and makes quickly downloading and printing files in the library a breeze.
- Mail (Native, Free)-The native E-Mail app is the easiest and fastest way to communicate with classmates and professors on the go. The app gives you the ability to add POP3 and IMAP accounts, as well as one Microsoft Exchange account (with the release of iPhone OS 4.0 this summer, the app will support multiple Exchange accounts). The interface is easy to use, and it’s extremely easy to see when you have an unread message, as the number of unread emails is displayed on top of the app icon.
- Facebook (Free)-While Facebook is a great time-waster, it is also an incredible communication tool for you to get in touch with your classmates (or even your professors). Use the app to trade private messages with your classmate about what’s on tomorrow’s exam, or create a group to serve as the hub of communication for that big group project you were just assigned. Just be careful you don’t get stuck reading status updates for an hour!
- Twitter (Free)-Twitter is a fantastic means of communication, networking, and professional development. If you don’t already have the Twitter app for your iPhone, you’re missing out on a lot of opportunities for this development. There are literally hundreds of twitter apps available, but “Twitter” is the official app. Other apps include TweetDeck (Free, iPad Supported), Twittelator (Free, iPad Supported), and Twitterrific (Free, iPad Supported).
- LinkedIn (Free)-LinkedIn is a professional networking website that allows you to connect with current, former, and potential coworker, employers, and employees. The app also allows you to connect with a new acquaintance on LinkedIn by touching your Bluetooth-enabled iPhones together. Great for use at conferenes!
- Safari (Native,Free)-The native web browser on the iPhone is a great way to gather information about whatever you need. If you know the URL you’re looking for, you can quickly enter it in the address bar, and you’re off! If you’re not sure what you’re looking for, a Google search is only a tap away. You can also bookmark your favorite websites on your home screen for quick and easy access to them.
- Wikipedia (Free)-Wikipedia has a great web interface for iPhones, but if you prefer a larger feature-set, the Wikipedia app may be for you. Wikipedia, the world’s largest collaborative encyclopedia, has a wealth of information on almost every topic you could imagine! While this information isn’t what your professors would call “scholarly,”
- Google/Bing (Free)-It’s going to be the search question to end all search questions in the 21st century… Google or Bing? Whichever you choose, they both have fantastic iPhone apps to help you take advantage of the best features of each engine. Also, both apps include voice-activated searching for devices with microphones (iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch with microphone add-in)
- Wolfram Alpha ($1.99)-Wolfram Alpha is another search engine with an extremely intelligent input area, allowing you to get specific answers to very specific questions with little to no work. Want to compare the unemployment rates of New York City and chicago? Just search for “unemployment rate NYC, Chicago” and you’ll get a chart and a graph. Want to know when the tide will be high in Honolulu? Search “tides Honolulu, Hawaii” and you’ll get your answer. For $1.99, this app is a steal!
- BlackboardLearn/mTouch (Free, $2.99)-Nowadays, most schools use some type of course management system. Blackboard and Moodle are probably the most frequently used, and each system has a corresponding app to allow you to access your content on the go. If your professors use these services often, and you want access to this content quickly, these apps are for you.
- Tempo2 ($1.99)-This is the best metronome I have found on the iTunes app store. Tempo2 allows the user to choose absolutely any time signature and metronome marking they want, as well as add accents, change sounds, change tempos in the middle (great for working on an accelerando!), and much more. The app is $1.99, and a great deal at that price. If you’re looking for a free metronome app, try Metronome.
- iStrobosoft ($9.99)-This is the most expensive app on this list, but also well worth it. iStrobosoft is a strobe tuner, letting you view not only the frequency of your pitch but how centered your tone is as you play, just like a real strobe tuner. You have the options of editing
- Shazam (Free)-Have you ever heard a song or piece of music on the radio and wonder what it’s called? Now, you can use the microphone on your iPhone to listen to a sample of the song, and Shazam will tell you it’s name! Shazam also has a premium app with additional features for $4.99. NOTE: Requires microphone, so iPod touch users will need an external mic.
- NML (Free, Subscription Required)-If you haven’t heard of the Naxos Music Library, it’s time to check it out! A subscription to the NML gets you access to high-quality audio streams of music from the orchestral, wind band, solo, and jazz repertoires. The NML app lets you stream this music directly to your iPhone from your subscription. Check with your school’s library-they may already have an account!
This, of course, is not an exhaustive list of apps that will benefit Music Ed Majors or Music Educators. Do you have a favorite app that was left off this list? Let us know in the comments!