Useful Apps for Music Therapists

 by Miranda Rex, MA, MT-BC

All music therapists have favorite apps that they can’t live without. I’ve compiled a list of iPad apps that I use every single day as a home and community-based music therapist. 

GarageBand – I didn’t care much about this app until I learned how versatile it can be! Now I use it regularly.

Beatwave – There’s a free version and a paid version. The free version is great and has many features, but if you think your client(s) might be using it on the reg, I definitely recommend buying the paid version. This app has been an especially huge hit with my teenage clients. You can save your work to DropBox or Soundcloud as well, so you can go back and listen to them later or add additional elements. 

Awesome Xylophone – This xylophone app uses colors that almost exactly match a standard resonator bell set. So if you don’t have any bells, or forget them one day, this app is a great substitute. The version I use is free, but there is a paid version if you want some extra features. 

Pro Metronome by EUM – By far the best metronome app I have ever used! You can customize your subdivision, time signature, accents, and more. There’s a tap feature that can help you find the tempo you’re looking for and visual aids that can help keep track of the accents/subvision. There is a free version and a paid version, but the free version has been adequate for my needs. That said, the paid version does have pretty cool extras incluing a practice mode to help you plan practices based on your desired tempo changes. 

Spotify – My preferred streaming app. I like it the best because I feel like the pro version is worth the price. Plus, there’s a discount for students where you can bundle it with Hulu! Especially with the newer updates, Spotify is super easy to navigate and share music + playlists. You can even co-create playlists with clients for their own listening!

Ultimate Guitar – Despite how useful I find OnSong (up next), Ultimate Guitar is still my go-to for tabs and chord charts. The transposition and autoscroll are super helpful features that are a little trickier for me to maneuver in OnSong. It’s free on desktops or laptops. For tablets, you have to have a subscription – but it has more than paid for itself for me. 

OnSong – While I do love Ultimate Guitar, OnSong definitely has its uses, especially when it comes to songwriting or lyric substitution. I’ve written/re-written lots of songs with clients using OnSong, then shared a PDF version with them. Definitely recommend it even if you’re an Ultimate Guitar lover like me. 

Linea Sketch – I like to do music and art exercises with many of my clients. It’s low pressure and cathartic, and at the end of it, we both have created something! The only problem is, I don’t have a lot of art supplies, and I’m always wary of having art materials in my car during the Texas summers (and springs and falls, and sometimes winters!). Enter Linea Sketch, a drawing app with tons of great features. I have used this app myself and with clients and it has not let me down yet. You also can group your artwork together, so if you have one client who really likes to do art, you can save all their work in one folder. 

GoodNotes – Anyone who has to sign documentation, forms, waivers, etc. can greatly benefit from GoodNotes. I used to be an Adobe disciple, but updates and bugs there eventually led me to jump ship over to GoodNotes, which I personally find way easier to use and much more streamlined. Plus, it syncs to all my devices, so if I need to submit some paperwork quickly, I can complete it on my phone and still have it saved on my iPad or MacBook. Amazing!

Scanner by Luni – Speaking of documentation … if digital copies aren’t allowed, or if you have documents with a hard signature, this scanner app is definitely the way to go. You can scan documents quickly and easily and then save or export them wherever you like. It has been a lifesaver for me when I’ve needed to send in documents that I had to sign with normal ink and paper rather than from GoodNotes. There is a free version and a paid version, but I have found the free version suits my needs just fine. 

Audible (or your preferred listening app) – I know a lot of folks prefer podcasts, but listening to audiobooks has saved my commutes, and therefore saved me a ton of stress and irritation. It’s basically like watching a movie while you drive, but you can still keep your eyes on the road. There are also “courses” you can listen to if learning while you are productive is your jam. Local libraries typically also have audiobooks available to their patrons via their apps as well (Libby and Overdrive are just a few I know of), if you prefer to support local. Regardless, I cannot recommend audiobooks enough, especially for commuters.

Your turn!

What apps do you use most often? Comment below!

Miranda Rex, MA, MT-BC