Delhi-based, 24-year-old biotechnology student Rajat Arora would scoff every time his best friend, a ukulele player, bragged about the advantages of the music learning apps he had begun taking lessons on. But Arora would shrug off saying they’re no good. That was until the day his piano coaching institution pulled down the shutters, owing to the lockdown.
All classes were suspended. Going without practice would mean being set back by many months. That’s when he decided to take his friend’s suggestion and subscribed to Flowkey, an app that provides piano lessons. "I’ve been learning through it for a month now and every time I use it, I only wish I had tried it earlier," he says.
Arora is among the many who have suddenly woken up to the merits of learning music remotely. Therefore, it is for good reason that the online music learning market size is touted to hit 143.3 million by 2025, according to Adroit Market Research, a global business analytics and consulting company.
These apps—web or mobile—are easy to access, save cost and offer innovative ways of learning and real-time feedback. But given the sheer number of apps available today, making a choice of what to pick could be confusing. That’s why we’ve shortlisted the best ones based on three broad categories. Happy learning!
YOUSICIAN: The app’s software guides you with real-time feedback on your progress. Plenty of exercises are listed to perfect the basics and instructions are offered for improvement. There is guidance for vocals as well as instruments. iOS, Android, Windows and macOS
Sur Sadhana: Sur Sadhana is offered by the Shankar Mahadevan Academy and is free to download, and is one of the best apps for Indian vocals. It gives you a visual representation of your progress and evaluates you from time to time. Android/iOS
Flowkey: Berlin-based Flowkey is useful for those who cannot read music. It has about 1,500 songs under categories such as classical, rock, pop, jazz, film and others. The platform can be translated into 10 languages. You can also listen to videos that talk about things such as theory of music, and the correct piano posture. iOS
RIYAZ KOMAL GANDHAR: The app has a strong algorithm for tune correction. It puts it all out graphically so you can see exactly where the correction is required. If you want to raise it a notch up, there is a 22 Shruti Raga practice tool. Android/iOS
You don’t need a studio to produce music. All you need is this app. It has a sound library that includes presets for guitar and voice, and also has a choice of 28 beat-making drummers and three percussionists. iOS
To get a grip over chords—guitar, bass, or banjo—this app facilitates with its special chord fingering feature that analyses all the possible variations, helping you select the ones you need to create a song. The free version comes with limited tunings but the full version has a lot more options. Android
READ MUSIC PRO
Recognising music notes requires skill. This app helps you with that. There are close to 125 exercises for sight-reading, in addition to several quizzes and tools to remember the names in a series of notes. iOS
From Carnatic to Hindustani to Western music, you get digitally coached through it all. The e-tanpura on the screen helps you fix mistakes while assisting you on matters of timing, breath control, voice modulation and accuracy of notes. Android
EarMaster-Music Theory and Ear Training
The software is designed in a way to let you develop skills in rhythm and identify and stabilise the pitch. It also helps you with interval singing, scale accuracy, chord progression identification, rhythmic error detection among others. iOS