Today I am featuring one of my favorite theory apps! Music Theory for Beginners is compatible with the iPhone, iPod Touch and iPad. If you are familiar with and enjoy the software program, Music Ace, then you will love this app! This is the closest app that I have found to be close to Music Ace. Be sure to check out their promo video on YouTube!
This app has 22 lessons that cover all the major theory topics from reading notes to rhythm to basic harmony. Students click on multiple choice answers, tap out rhythms on a drum, answer questions on the on screen keyboard, and add and slide their answers onto the staff.
From the main screen, students can choose from Lesson or Quiz. The Quiz button will take them to more challenging timed quizzes. These are for students that already know the topic and needs a little more challenge. The lessons are first brief explanations to the concept they will be quizzed on. (The lesson quizzes are not timed and reviews what they learned in the lesson explanation) Once they read the lesson, they go onto the quiz. If they need a little extra reminder when they are on the quiz, they can click on the owl and the lesson will pop up to review. After completing the quiz, students earn an an achievement badge for each topic in turn. Once you’ve earned your badge you progress to the next lesson. This app contains over 2,000 questions of varying difficulty. If a student doesn’t do well on the quiz, they can click on retry and get a different set of questions and try that lesson topic quiz again.
The main character in the app is an Owl who will “whoooo” and turn upside down when a question is answered correctly. After a while this may get annoying to some students, so they can just mute the volume depending on the topic of the quiz whether or not you need sound. I also found after trying this app myself and then having my students use it that occasionally the quiz instructions (following the lessons) were a little confusing. Once we would go ahead and answer, not knowing what it was asking, then we could figure out what it was really asking by the answer that was given. In these cases I would have the student ‘retry’ the quiz for a better score.
Under the settings, you can change the text between English USA and English UK (wonderful!), you can change the sound volume, music volume, whether or not the piano keys are labeled, whether or not you want the metronome sound (recommended) for the rhythm lessons and whether or not you want it on teacher mode. Teacher mode unlocks all the lessons. Otherwise you need to “pass” each lesson before you can progress to the next. I use teacher mode because I might have one student starting on lesson 1 and another starting on lesson 9.
This app does not keep track of individual students so you will need a way to remember where students are. So I came up with a solution for that and created this Music Theory for Beginners App Log that you can download and have students mark their scores, etc… This sheet will list all the lesson and quiz’s so you can get a good idea what is covered in this app.
I highly recommend this app, a definite must have for your studio! As I mentioned before, besides the iPad it is also compatible with the iPhone and iPod touch, but I think it is an ideal iPad app and that’s how my students use it.
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