Now that everyone has a slew of electronics for their daily life, the goal is to use them to your advantage and not just waste your time/life away on them. New apps are being created every day and as a working drummer, I use a bunch of them to help me be a better musician and more efficient human being. I am going to try to share some that I use that I feel are really beneficial in my musical life.
These are in no particular order, but the first couple apps I can recommend are ones where you can actually listen to music.
and even though there is music on this next site, it also is a video based service, where you can even find all sorts of tutorials, music videos and other recordings.
Or there is also another music listening site that is popular and has social media shareability called
Speaking of tutorials, there are plenty of apps to aid in learning to play drums in all sorts of genres.
Drum Guru These are grooves and lessons by your favorite and most well known drummers.
Drum School This is a notation and video app by Ferenc Nemeth where you can speed up and slow down your grooves as well as add and take away limbs as you’re learning.
Erskn Play Alongs These are several grooves and genres by one of my favorite drummers Peter Erskine.
Groove Freedom This is an educational app by one of the top drum teachers on the planet, Mike Johnston.
Percussion Tutor This is the most complete Latin percussion app to show you the instruments and styles in various Afro-Cuban genres.
I use this app when I’m out and need to figure out the song being played.
If I need to figure out the song I’m listening to, and I need to slow it down to transcribe it, I use this app (and it doesn’t alter the pitch). You can also speed up the song as well (again, not altering pitch).
Then when I am practicing the songs, I need a metronome to stay in time (There are tons available, but I just happen to have this one).
When I’m tuning my drums I use this app
If I need to look up musical grooves or reference rudiments, I use this app with my students.
If I’m playing tunes and I need to reference the form or chord changes, I use this app
Then to get better at my ear training and voiceleading, I get this app
and to protect my ears in loud venues, I use this app to check how deceivingly loud things are.
This is just a basic decibel meter. There are tons to choose from.
If I’m recording and I don’t want to get up from my percussion set up to enable my recording software, I use this app
Logic Remote (I believe “Pro Tools Control” is the remote version for Pro Tools)
Sometimes on live gigs, the sound engineer will be using a wireless mixer from an iPad. This app allows me to adjust my own mix from my phone (provided this is the system the engineer is running)
Before leaving for the gig, airport, train station, I will check the weather where I’m at, and where I’m heading to.
For directions, I use Waze because it is updated in real time by other drivers (alerting you of cops, traffic and so many other things). Added bonus, is sometimes they use celebrity voices (like Stephen Colbert and Morgan Freeman)
And if I’m driving to the gig, I will use this app to help figure out where I can park. This is particularly handy in cities where they have way too many signs to deliberately try to confuse you.
(Google Maps is a close second for traffic and parking)
Hope that helps you fill your phone with useful apps to counter the candy crush and words with friends.