How to Use Your Smartphone to Become a Better Musician

by Mitchell Estrin

Smartphones are amazing technological devices that can do just about anything. This includes helping you to progress on a musical instrument! There are a number of built in features and easily downloadable apps that can give you an instant musical mini-clinic in a small portable device.

I utilize my Smartphone when practicing and teaching. I have a variety of useful musical tools available to me just by carrying my Smartphone with me! Here are the tools I use:

1. Audio recorder with Built-in Microphone

On the iPhone, this is called Voice Memos. Great for recording both practice and performance.

2. Camera

I use my students' cameras to take pictures of their embouchures, hand and finger positioning, and posture. By seeing firsthand what I am adjusting, I often see them progress faster!

3. Video Camera

I use their video cameras to record their performances and in lessons to point out unwanted habits. It is extremely useful for minimizing any excess embouchure movement, especially when working on articulation. They can view the videos outside of their lessons for further self-evaluation and to reinforce my suggestions.

4. Metronome

Download a free metronome app! I use mine all the time. There are many free apps to choose from. I use Pro Metronome. This app has a very useful "tapping" feature, which helps me to easily identify tempos.

5. Download a Free Tuner App

 I use Tuner Lite by plusadd. (iTunes and Android versions available)  I have found this app to be both accurate and useful.

6. Note Pad

This is called Notes on my iPhone. Great for taking notes during a lesson and when practicing.

7. Stopwatch and Alarm

I use these functions to remind me when I have been practicing for 60 minutes. I always take a 10 minute break after 60 minutes to allow my mind and muscles to rest. Remember to hydrate when taking your break.

Be creative! Find your own ways to use your Smartphone help you. Smartphones are here to stay and you can use this marvelous device to help you become a better musician. 

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