Even though there is no apple shaved to the back of my head, I use my iPhone and iPad all the time in my career as a musician. So here are my favorite iOS apps that I actually use. I am in no way connected to Apple or any of the developers mentioned here.
For a while I used palm devices for my PDA until 2008 when my wife gave me an iPhone for christmas. I bought an iPad last spring and it’s been extremely useful.
Things is a to do list app that I really like. It is extremely flexible with no required fields and many sorted views. It stays in sync through its own cloud with all my devices and makes it easier for me to organize my mind. I open Things each morning and I’m greeted with a list of items I’ve put off (scheduled actually). I use it to schedule my day, setting aside time for tasks or areas, and moving items to the future if there’s no way to get them done today. Things just works.
I also use the new Reminders in iOS 6 since it works with Siri, notifies my much more effectively on my iPhone, and can notify me when I arrive or leave a location. When a task requires one of these special actions I use this app.
Lately I’ve started using a new app Lift to keep track of tasks I want to do every day, like practice an hour before noon or sync my lesson databases. Unlike the other todos, it’s more like a social app than a list. What makes it really useful is the “meter” of how many times I do a task in a week and the calendar for each task that shows each day I did it. For the annoying little things that go a long time without any action, this really helps me.
Of course I use iOS Calendar and Contacts which, thanks to iCloud, have strong syncs across my devices.
The iPad is a great score reader and I use two different apps for this. The first is forScore which is a simple pdf viewer designed for sheet music. Paging around is easy as is annotations and other metadata.
iReal b started out as a real book. But it became a chord changes app. You can create charts with changes and it can play them back with a selection of styles. You can add repeats, endings, rehearsal marks. For jazz and pop players it’s a great way to see chord charts and the playback makes improve practice much more fun. And you also can share charts so not only the real book of jazz standards but hundreds of charts are available to download.
Tempo is my metronome app and does everything we expect a modern digital metronome to do.
Dropbox has changed the way I move files around. It’s just so easy and I use it for most documents, scores, and recordings.
Bento is a database app from the makers of FileMaker. I use it to do so much, I’m going to have to write a whole article about it. I keep track of all aspects of my private lessons, high school students, gigs, library, inventory, taxes, and loads of other things that have nothing to do with music.
I’ve found Pages and Numbers, Apple’s word processor and spreadsheet apps, to be great, easy to use, especially on the iPad, and I don’t have any problems working with Microsoft users. I use lots of documents and I can’t understand why people still use Word and Excel.
Coach’s Eye is an app for making annotated videos which are very useful for showing students what they’re doing wrong (and right).
eBay app helps me search for vintage drums and vintage motorcycle parts (maybe not so productive).
If you haven’t checked out iTunes U, do it. Easy to find college courses complete with lectures, projects, feedback all for free. There is some music content, but I’ve studied marketing and other useful subjects too.
For musicians Facebook and Twitter are really important and I also use Spotify for music discovery and sharing playlists with a group as in marching band show design.
Trip Cubby is no longer supported, but I haven’t found a better way to track my mileage for tax deductions.
The way I use my devices is always evolving and I’m sure I won’t always use these apps but for now, they’ve been a fun tool to help me as a musician and teacher.