Guest Post: Essential iPad Apps for Music Therapists

by Kimberly on March 22, 2012 · 14 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:


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