There really aren’t too many things that will help make a better drummer than practice, practice and more practice. However, there are some very handy apps that will work very well alongside your practice or production routine.
Below are five essential apps that every drummer must have if they are searching for fun and constructive ways to practice or create – with or without a drum kit at your disposal.
Pro Metronome (Free) – A metronome should be every drummer’s best friend. Being a beginner should be the only excuse for not being able to play to a click. Every new beat, rudiment, drill etc. should be played along to a metronome, starting at slow speeds and working your way up.
This particular app is good because you can also try out different subdivisions against different time signatures, which will really allow you to experiment with interesting patterns.
The click sound is a classic high-pitched woodblock sound that comes through at a decent maximum volume, or you can of course put earphones in. It will also continue to play in the background if you open other audio apps such as iTunes or Spotify.
There’s a Practice Mode that allows for automated tempo changes, much like a workout routine, so drummers can run exercises at various build-ups of tempos without having to stop between sets to adjust the metronome.
The Drum Dictionary (tdd) –This app is a fantastic tool for drummers on the go and who want to get their practice regime in when they are on the road. Nobody in this day and age wants to carry around crumpled up and torn bits of paper with rudiment charts on them, so why not have them on your smart device instead? It’s smaller, cleaner and easier to cart around.
The rudiments themselves are grouped into different sections in a way that helps you to isolate areas of your sticking e.g. drag rudiments, paradiddles, flams, ruffs etc. If you have trouble reading the exercise or don’t understand how they should be played, the app also features audio demonstrations.
With your newly acquired Pro Metronome app running in the background, you can practice your rudiments to various tempos. This is a must have app for all drummers.
Anytune Pro – Anytune Pro is an app that works well for both teacher and student.
The primary function of this app is to manipulate the speed or pitch of a song in order to learn difficult parts. It is particularly impressive in that it doesn’t distort or massively compromise the quality of the song.
It also comes with marker settings and loop options, which are equally as useful. It is quite a pricey app but well worth the investment if you are dedicated to furthering your drums education.
Auxy Music Creation (Free) – This app is perfect for putting together really quick ideas in a way that won’t require you to embarrassingly beatbox down the microphone of your smart device. Here you can easily build loop ideas with virtually no effort. It is a simple to use and intuitive program which has a bank of sample drum sounds as well as other instruments.
Consider this a kind of musical notepad, where you can loop quick sketches of a cool idea you just thought up on your way to work on the train. The only downside with this app is that you can only create very basic loops in 4/4.
So, for all of you crazy progressive/math rock bands, you may need to go for something a little more advanced – or you could just beatbox.
Garage Band (Free) – Here’s another one that will help with the composition of ideas. This is one of Apple’s very own, and you’ve probably heard of it – yes, Garage Band. Still a favorite among many beginners and pros alike, garage band is a lot of fun, and quite sophisticated.
You have a variety of tap to play acoustic and electronic drum kits let you input beats in real time, or you can step record, building beats voice by voice.
You can also change the voicing or velocity of each note, and can edit recorded material with much ease. Similarly to Auxy Music Creation, you are not just limited to drums – you can choose from an array of rock and classical instruments to help you bring your musical masterpieces to life.