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Smartphone Tools For Musicians

I began my adventure by looking for a GPS device. Somewhere in my research, I looked at the Apple iPhone. The iPhone had GPS, as well as a web browser, iTunes, iPod, email, and few other things such as text message I didn't know would be useful. And yes, you can even make phone calls on it!

It seems that everyday I find more and more useful things on the iPhone, including the notepad, calendar, and weather. I soon realized that the ability to download applications makes the iPhone and iPod Touch something of the ultimate digital Swiss army knife. Other Smartphones such as the Blackberry also offer tools only dreamed of a few years ago!

Here are a few uses and applications that I have found that can help musicians:

  1. iTunes and iPod can be used to find and play songs to learn. If you include the word "karaoke" in your iTunes search, you can often find many excellent backing tracks for popular songs.
  2. YouTube can be used to view music videos and music tutorials on the phone.
  3. Notes can be used to jot down ideas.
  4. You can use a Wikipedia app or the Safari browser to track down any musical topic. For fun, you could track down what even temperament means and the debate raging about this in some circles. What is a Pythagorean comma anyway!
  5. Ear training software such as Karajan can help you develop your musical ear.
  6. You can load on singing or ear training CDs such as David Lucas Burge's Perfect Pitch Ear Training.
  7. Chromatic tuner apps such as Cleartune can help you tune your instrument or check that you are singing in tune. You can even change the temperment to chase the Pythagorean dream mentioned earlier.
  8. Recording apps such as iTalk can provide simple recording of rehearsals and performances.
  9. I was looking for a metronome and came across GigBaby!, which offers a metronome, drum machine, and 4-track recorder. Very impressive!
  10. Chances are that there were many excellent and interesting music applications released while I was writing this!
  11. Yeah, and you can use the GPS and Google MAPS to find music stores and music venues too!

A smartphone or device such as the iPhone, iPod Touch, or Blackberry can offer many tools and resources to help musicians. Just remember to spend more time practising than playing with the phone!

— Greg Dixon

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