Violin apps, just like apps for any other genre of music and style of instrument, have been on the rise over the years as technology advances at a super fast rate. Music to our ears? Patience, please! Let’s see if they are all that they are cracked up to be!
Not only are there apps out there helping you to maintain your string instrument, like tuner apps, apps have also been developed to teach you how to play the instrument (some are even aimed at learning the violin as absolute beginners!) with tutorials on how to hold the musical instrument, wrist placement, what to do with your left hand, how to maintain good posture while you play stringed instruments and, of course, how to read music.
If you can’t quite believe it, you can download one of the digital tuition apps yourself for either a small or no fee at all via the Apple App Store, Windows App Store or your Android App Store. Even if you just download a few for fun, you might be surprised by what they can do for you and what you learn. That said, you don’t want to risk developing bad habits from trying to copy others, so how do you balance the pros and the cons?
When looking for your new app and pocket friend to replace or complement your violin tutor, remember that there are a few things you should consider first before committing. You can see our top tips for choosing a violin music app below.
Music and technology… you wouldn’t ordinarily put the two together but somehow this relationship is really blossoming.
Even those with acoustic string instruments are becoming reliant on digital resources to make their practicing and learning journeys even easier, while those with an electric violin are also benefitting from the technological craze.
More and more people are using their gadgets to replace everyday objects like credit cards, music players, and tickets. Photo credit: garryknight on VisualHunt.com
BandBlast by Music Lifeboat – The Music Education Revolution
BandBlast is a modern app which provides learners with free beginner violin video lessons developed by some of the world’s best Philharmonic musicians. As well as these tutorials, there are some character-based games that help to teach beginners and intermediates alike learn about rhythm, notation, and pitch.
The app flows very well because it follows the first year curriculum normally taught during music classes at academies or orchestra programmes so you can rest assured that the content will be engaging and will support your needs as a pupil.
The app is currently available on Apple and Android devices.
Alyaka’s violin app is not for time-wasters. This is a serious app for people who are motivated and dedicated to learning how to play the violin. Interestingly, it teaches you to practice playing violin without an instrument in hand, offering a virtual violin and a multi-touch feature that enables you to play chords from your device. It is designed for Android mobile phones and tablets.
Violin Sheet Music
This app by JellyNote is inspired by violinists of all levels and offers access to thousands of free, high-quality violin sheet music. It’s fiddle music at its best!
Tuanis Apps has developed this app for advanced violin players or those wishing to get into composing. The app transcribes what you play into sheet music, so you can easily write your own melodies with the help of this automated reader. Could you be the next Bach or Mozart? Get onto your recital and just wait and see!
Some apps can transcribe the sounds you are playing into sheet music. Photo credit: photosteve101 on Visualhunt.com
Real Oriental Violin Simulator
NAVA Apps has set up this resource for learning on the go. The sounds are authentic and it offers 36 rhythm styles, vibration variation adjustment, and 2 octaves and pitch. You won’t be able to stop putting together a violin concerto with the help of this app, no matter how good you are!
Jameasy Inc has produced an app that makes it easier to learn to play the violin. The app contains lessons on finger placement, reading music and identifying a violin string, and gauges how accurately the player plays their instrument. This is a brilliant tool for children as it can be played like a game, all the while maintaining concentration on the subject and encouraging them to use it again and again. As well as classical music it also offers modern artists’ melodies like Coldplay.
Tuning your violin is so incredibly important, so how embarrassing is it when you turn up to practice without your tuner?
One way to avoid this happening again is to download a digital tuner, as you will most probably always have your mobile phone on you when you leave the house.
Violin tuner apps are sweeping the nation of musicians because not only do they help you to get the best sound, they also help you to train your own ear. User-friendly violin tuner apps are beginning to replace old hand-held devices, and are freeing up more space in those violin cases!
While using a tuner app is now the norm, how do you know which one to choose among the hundreds that are available?
Choosing the best violin tuner can be difficult when there are so many apps on the market. To help you decide between the various apps, below is a selection of tuner apps and the benefits that they offer. But first, how do they work?
How a Violin Tuner App Works
All violin tuner apps work a little differently, but most of them do roughly the same.
Generally, you will be faced with a display that tells you what note you are playing. A needle and dial may show you how in tune your string is, yet some might have other visual representations to point out how in tune your instrument is.
Theoretically speaking, if the needle is hovering over to the right of the dial then your string is sharp, i.e. too high or tight. If it’s hovering over to the left of the dial, however, your string is flat, i.e. too low or loose.
Gone are the days when you had to carry a tuning device with you to practice. Photo credit: Antti Simonen on Visualhunt.com
Main Benefits of Using a Violin Tuner App
So what makes a digital app better than using a good, old-fashioned tuner?
As we’ve discovered, developers are going crazy producing apps for those in the musical community, but which are truly the best tuning apps for violin players?
Master Violin Tuner
NETIGEN Music Tuners developed this app last year, so it is a relatively new addition to the app stores. Since its creation, it has soared in popularity thanks to its unique algorithm, which is so precise in recognising the sound emitted by the violin. It is adapted for violins only, making it one of the best in its field. As a result, it is speedy, efficient and accurate in its analysis.
Guitar and Violin Tuner
A4tune Labs released this app two years ago and has since managed to make the app a huge success. It is known as one of the top violin tuners on Google Play, and has fast and accurate algorithms to keep its tens of thousands of customers coming back. It is available to download on Android devices.
Strings Tuner – Guitar Ukulele
Whilerain Studio has produced this great digital tuner which offers both standard and alternate tuning options. An intuitive app, it is easy to use and therefore great for beginners. The app is currently available only on Android.
Tuner & Metronome
Finally, Soundcorset has developed this tuner and metronome app for musicians, which has a range of great features. For example, you can record, set sound, flash, vibration and visual beats and it has a very useful black screen battery-saving mode for when you’re playing violin away from home and don’t want to drain your battery life!
Before you go downloading the first apps you see for violin players, be sure to read the descriptions of each and make sure that it offers you what you need. For example, if you are a complete beginner to violin playing, then you don’t want to download an app that is adapted for intermediate or advanced players, and vice-versa.
It may sound obvious but do also check that the app is for the instrument you have or want to learn about. There’s no point in taking lessons in how to play the cello if you own a violin!
Looking at screenshots is a great way of getting a feel for the app in question, and seeing how easy it looks to navigate around the app. The last thing you want when trying to learn a new skill is to have to, first of all, get to grips with the teaching materials! The app should be clear and concise and make working through the lessons seamless.
Finally, and perhaps most importantly, you should always read the reviews left by other users. Most app stores will offer a star grading, which is your first insight into the popularity of the app. Yet, don’t forget to balance a number of factors – an app with a four-star review with satisfied customers in the thousands could be a better app than one with three or four five star reviews.
If in doubt, always go with the masses!