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Guest Post: Essential iPad Apps for Music Therapists

by Kimberly on March 22, 2012 · 16 comments

Remember me? What can I say…it’s been a crazy March! I have missed blogging and hope to get back in the swing of my once weekly postings…starting now 🙂

To start things off, I would like to introduce you to student music therapist Jesse Kurn. Jesse responded to a question on the music therapy listserv about recommended iPad apps and he listed a bunch of apps I have never heard of. I asked for Jesse’s permission to reprint his information. Fortunately for all of us, he agreed!

Jesse uses the iPad as a tool when working with children. He has found this technology to be incredibly practical—with its many applications that can cater to a wide range of populations, all combined on a singular interface. The iPad creates accessibility for clients in small rooms, and gives a lot of flexibility in programming—with a multitude of applications available.  The beauty of the iPad is that most of the music and art applications have a recording feature, which gives clients instant access to their creations, validating their experiences and providing opportunities for discussion and sharing work with others. The iPad is a great tool for both individual and group work.

Jesse’s List of Essential iPad Apps for Music Therapists

I use the iPad almost everyday. Here are some great apps in addition to what some of the others mentioned. I’ll just endorse GarageBand once again. It’s really the best all around music application for the price ($4.99) and the access to the instruments. You can choose from prerecorded loops, smart instruments and free play instruments. It’s really something special and from the work I’ve done with children and adults, they love it!!

  • Tun-dfree: A tuning application. It’s great because it provides tuning for almost any instrument you can think of.
  • MelodicaFree: A loop machine with preset sounds. You have control of creating the sound scape by touching the grid.
  • Singing Fingers: A really cool art program . You drag your finger on the screen while saying something and it records what you say in color. Then drag your finger over the design for playback.
  • Shiny Drum: A drum pad
  • ZoozBeat: This is awesome! It comes with 15 or so preset loops with many genres. Select a loop then you are able to play 6 different instruments to add to the loop sound by shaking the iPad. 
  • Dub Selector: Interactively dub music applications.
  • NLogFree: A synthesizer with tons of presets.
  • Thumbafon: A mode instrument
  • Glee: Smule makes this app. It’s great for karaoke or free singing, plus includes auto-tune and harmony selectors.
  • aXylophone: A xylophone
  • Magic Piano: Smule produces this as well.
  • Digidrummer: Another drum pad app. If you buy GarageBand then you won’t need these free drum apps.


  • I Say Free: This is like Simon from the 80’s. It’s great for memory, strategic planning, and cognition.
  • RubyRepeat: A more complicated form of I Say Free.
  • Angry Birds: For problem solving (cognition)
  • Soundrop: A music app that uses velocity of a dropping ball to change the pitch of the sound.
  • Circadia: A sound strategy game.
  • Talking Gina: A giraffe that can repeat what you say. Kids love it. There are also a ton of these types of apps featuring a cat and a dog.

A must-have for NMT (Neurologic Music Therapy) folks:

  • m30 pendulum style free (musebook metronome): I like that there’s an option to tap out your own beat, especially helpful if you’re trying to match a rhythm to someone’s pace or internal rhythm.

About the author: Jesse Kurn is finishing up his second year at Lesley University’s Music Therapy and Mental Health Counseling program. As part of his program, he is also interning at an after-school enrichment program for children ages 10-14, where he provides music therapy in the form of expression, engagement, empowerment, and socialization. Jesse welcomes your feedback:


{ 15 comments… read them below or add one }

Rachel Rilinger March 23, 2012 at 7:12 am

woohoo! Thanks for a great guest post Jesse! We just got an ipad at our hospital so I am *Very* excited to start trying some of these apps!

Jesse Kurn March 23, 2012 at 10:36 am

Thanks Rachel! There’s always new apps out there so keep an out out. Also wanted to mention VidRhythm (care of Jessy Rushing). It’s a video beat-boxing app where you create all of your own beats and then creates a music video. Good Luck!

Megan March 25, 2012 at 2:33 pm

Great list of apps! I haven’t heard of most of these – thanks for giving me some new inspiration!! Can’t wait to check these out!
Megan´s last blog post ..Wellness Wednesdays: An Irish Poem with Song

Evelyn (@evievie) March 27, 2012 at 6:28 am

Check out for disposable sealed-protectors for iPad! Perfect for use in settings that require infection control.
Evelyn (@evievie)´s last blog post ..Reflecting on definitions Social Media, Social Networking & Web 2.0

Jesse Kurn March 27, 2012 at 9:20 am

Thanks Evelyn. That’s really cool. I have used a hospital grade disinfectant like ( on the iPad. It doesn’t harm the iPad, as long as you make sure not to push the home screen button while using the wipe, to prevent liquid from getting inside.

Kimberly March 27, 2012 at 10:11 am

That’s good to know! Thanks, Jesse! ~Kimberly

Rakesh June 20, 2012 at 7:29 am

Its a very useful content posted we can get many informations regarding ipads…and more .We also have a very much experienced team of developers in our company for more information contact…

Fawzia Salahuddin April 8, 2013 at 11:05 pm

Thanks for a great post. As a mom I also look for these kinds of apps to help my special needs kids. Check out ‘The Bitsboard’ ipad app. It free and has loads of ways for a child to interact with the information. The app comes with 5 standard boards (sight words, exotic animals, seasons etc) and you can download more boards (for free) such as how to tell 15 min past or half past or numbers in words etc. I loved the way the app poses questions to the kids – a child can choose to be asked in ‘True/False’ mode or ‘MCQs’ mode or even ‘type it yourself’ mode. Enjoy.

Kimberly April 15, 2013 at 11:42 am

Thank you for the tip! ~Kimberly

Facebook app developers May 13, 2013 at 1:37 am

Great apps..good work ..havent heard of many of them before…

download loops July 19, 2013 at 2:55 pm

I also noticed its weight, which did seem a bit heavy
in comparison to my previous Sony Vaio. Therefore in this
tutorial I’m just going to be very basic and simple and teach you how to access the FPC channel and then let you loose, so to speak. For those who haven’t heard of Play Radio Play will you explain how all
this came about and what your music is all about.
download loops´s last blog post loops

Brigid Finucane March 30, 2014 at 3:43 pm

Hi Jesse, I could not find several of the apps you mentioned in the app store: Shiny Drum, ZoozBeat and Thumbafon. Thank you for any help you can give.

Sean W. January 25, 2015 at 1:15 pm

Your site seems very enlightening, and so I wish to subscribe to it.

Tyler J. Khan July 11, 2016 at 7:24 am

Thanks for sharing your experience
It’s really helpful for me.
Tyler J. Khan´s last blog post ..How to Learn and Practice Jazz Piano

Emma Gloor February 5, 2017 at 3:46 am

Obviously helpful tips.

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