6 More Mobile Apps Every Drummer Should Know
A half dozen fun, informative, and practical smartphone programs for drummers
by Miguel Monroy
According to a series of surveys conducted by Pew Research Center in 2015, sixty-four percent of Americans now own smartphones. And they’ve become increasingly useful for musicians. In the October 2015 issue of MD we took a look at nine iOS apps we felt every drummer should check out. In this article, we’ve rounded up six more, most of which also work on Androids.
This incredible app is an audio dictionary of more than 400 drum grooves. The grooves are organized into several genres of music, including Afro-Cuban, Brazilian, Caribbean, jazz, pop/rock, country, and more. Most of the grooves also reference a drummer and a specific song that you can listen to for further study. After selecting a groove, you have the option to change the bpm and pitch. Although transcriptions are not included, we can see how this app could become an essential tool for students, educators, and anyone wanting to play along with different styles of drumming. While the app itself is free and comes with three loop downloads at no cost, users must purchase additional grooves for one credit each. A ten-credit pack costs $.99, a fifty-credit pack is $2.99, and an infinite-credit pack is available for $8.99.
(iOS and Android)
This app comprises four main categories of content: Grooves, Practice, Technique, and Hits. The Grooves section contains more than 260 beats in a variety of genres. The Practice section consists of more than 133 exercises, including rudiments and additional hand patterns. The Technique section includes twelve video demonstrations of proper hand and foot technique. The Hits section features lessons on iconic drum grooves that every drummer should learn. Each lesson in this app comes with a video demonstration of the exercise that can be sped up or slowed down. Each exercise comes with a transcription featuring a MIDI playback option, which allows you to select which limbs you’d like to hear.
(iOS and Android: $5.99)
Skills & Fills
This niche app is geared toward drummers looking to add new fills to their vocabulary. It offers lessons from Dennis Tideman’s corresponding e-book with sections on single and double strokes, single and double strokes with the bass drum, double-handed fills, power fills, and “better watch out” fills. Each lesson contains a video demonstration of the skill required to play the fills, such as single strokes. Also included is a chart of groupings and a Fill Generator to practice the skill further. Each lesson closes out with a video demonstration of how the skills and fills can be applied in the context of a rock groove.
(iOS and Android: $9.99)
This simple yet effective training metronome by drummer Daren Pfeifer allows you to hone your timekeeping skills. Users have the option of selecting between two- and sixteen-measure phrases. As you play along with the metronome, the click is slowly removed and then brought back in over a selected amount of time. This challenges you to keep your internal time steady as you practice.
(iOS only: $1.99)
Music Maker Jam
If you’re interested in making tracks to practice or perform with, this is a great place to start. Music Maker Jam is a free app that allows you to build beats and grooves in a number of popular genres, including hip-hop, rock, pop, and dubstep. Start out by filling the eight-track mixer with the included loops or your own recorded sounds, fine-tune the mix with the live editing function, and then share the track via email, text, or social media.
(iOS and Android: free to download, additional loops available for purchase)
If playing with backing tracks in a live setting is a regular challenge for you, this low-cost/high-functionality app may be exactly what you need. ShowOne allows you to import tracks directly from iTunes (while connected to your computer) or from various cloud services, such as Dropbox, iCloud, and Google Drive. During the import process, you can input the tempo of the track. The app will then split the playback into two mono channels. The first channel will include the track with a metronome and count-off, and the second channel contains just the track. You can shift the starting point of the metronome by ten-millisecond increments, if needed, and you can add a voice count-off. The app also includes an option to connect to an audio interface for four-channel playback.
(iOS only: $8.99)