Technology can be an unwanted distraction in the learning environment (ex. – teenagers with cell phones during rehearsal). But it can also be a great tool to enhance the learning experience. I want to highlight two of my favorite (and most useful aps) for percussionists.
The first is an absolute must, not only for percussionists, but for all musicians. This indispensable app is, of course, a metronome. I’ve tried numerous metronome apps, but the one that I keep coming back to is The Metronome by Soundbrenner. Some of the many features included are: set any time signature up to 16/8, a full range of preset subdivisions, a wide and varied selection of sounds, the ability to tap the tempo on screen, and the option to save settings for songs and setlists. One con of this particular app is it’s availability only for Android devices. There are tons of other options and best of all, it’s completely free! To find out more, visit the site or download at the Google Play Store and see for yourself why this metronome is superior to others.
The second app is specific to rudimental percussionists. It’s called Drumate and is available (unfortunately) only for Android devices. This great little app aids in the learning of 39 rudiments. It does not include the buzz roll, nor any hybrids. For any rudiment, you can choose a constant tempo, progressive tempo in set steps, or an open-close-open progression. The audio quality is very clear and sounds like an actual snare drum. You can mark your favorites and also sort by type (rolls, flams, etc). It’s available in both free and paid versions, but both versions are the full version. The paid version is $2.99 and goes to support the developer and future updates. It’s available on the Google Play Store so check it out and start learning/improving those rudiments today.
Both apps can aid in the teaching/learning process and can be particularly helpful to band directors with weaker percussion skills and only a basic knowledge of the percussion family. Of course, nothing can replace the human element needed for a successful Teacher/Student environment, but these apps and others can be a great way to supplement the teaching/learning process.