Five useful tools to support music education

Here are five of my favourite apps/online tools that can be used to create, share, or listen to music. In the list below, click on the name of the tool to visit the web site and find out more about what it can do and how to download it.

Explain Everything (iOS & Android)

This versatile, open-ended app has no limit to the way it can be used in educational settings.  It has all of the features of a slideshow app, a screencasting app, and a whiteboard app.  For music, it could be used to record sounds of instruments and/or voice, ear train, annotate performances, create graphic scores, etc.

Example use:


GarageBand (iOS) 

This Apple app succeeds at making the creation of music accessible to people who may have little musical training, or even none at all. The app can be used in different modes and can support various levels of competence in musical composition. In the video below, the actual GarageBand tutorial starts at about the 4:00 mark.


Noteflight (online tool)

This free, online tool for writing standard musical notation is one of the easiest to use. Users can create scrores and have the ability to produce publication quality scores. Or, students can have fun freely exploring their music ideas; it’s easy to experiment with notes, rests, clefs, signatures, mordents, tempos, and so on. The tool has a built in playback mode so that users can listen to how their composition sounds.


MadPad (iOS)

This app lets you “remix your life.” That is, you can make recordings of various sounds you make or hear to create a custom percussive pad. You can create rhythms and beats from the sounds of your life. Users can also record specific performances and export the video to the camera roll.


NAXOS Music Library (online resource) 

If you are a PDSB student or teacher, you can access this resource at school quite easily by clicking on this link: If you are at home, you can access this resource for free by using this link: and then entering the correct username and password. The login information is available at your school.  This resource contains over 1.7 million music tracks in every musical genre!


Bonus App:  VidRhythm is not free but it is enormous fun. Once in the app, you choose a song from the list and then you choose a style of video (the way it will look and be put together). At this point, the app guides you through the words, sounds, notes, and so on that you need to record to have the building blocks of the song. Finally, the app creates the video and autotunes your pitch (if necessary) so it that sounds great. Students won’t learn a ton of music theory using this app but it is fun to play with. Your kids will be highly involved and laughing.


#peel21st Blog Hop

This post was part of a blog hop organized for #peel21st in December, 2015.  Please check out the other blogs in this hop by clicking on one of the links below:

8 thoughts on “Five useful tools to support music education

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  1. I’ve never heard of MadPad before. It sounds like a lot of fun. I will definitely try that out over the break.

    1. Amit, Mad Pad is such a cool app. Hoping to convince family to help me create some kind of composition. I love doing free verse poetry with it. Thanks for including it on the list Jim!

  2. I love that you have music apps here. These are all amazing ones. Just shared them with my music teacher. Thanks for them.

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