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3 Apps That Help Me Be A Better Musician

Some people are anti-innovation. “Recording music is way too easy nowadays,” they say. “Back in my day, we recorded on 4-tracks!” I get what they’re saying, but I disagree. Whatever helps you be a better musician — especially if it’s the newest technology — go for it.

That’s why I’ve put together this post about three mobile apps that I love.

Why Apps?

More and more, musicians are creating on their phones. The capability of these little pocket computers is amazing. For example, a teenager produced one of Kendrick Lamar’s hit songs on his phone using GarageBand.

So, really, the question is: why not apps?

Apps are getting better. They’re affordable or even free. And if you can find one that fits you, try it on.

So here are three apps I use daily that help me get better as a musician.


Evernote is my go-to method for songwriting nowadays. When I wrote my first song in 2005, I used good ol’ pencil and paper. And I’m not anti-paper when it comes to songwriting, I’m just so pro-Evernote that it’s all I use.

It allows you to take notes, embed audio files within the note, and organize those notes into notebooks. Plus, it’s all on the cloud, so you can have access on your phone and your computer.

Here’s how I use it: when I get a song idea or I want to record a song in progress, I create a new note, hit the microphone button, and record myself playing the song directly into the app. It’s wonderful. Then I just add the lyrics below the audio file, and everything is there (and timestamped!).

It’s quick, convenient, and helps me get my song ideas out and recorded quickly.

Ultimate Guitar

Ultimate Guitar is probably the most well-known website for guitar chords and tabs. I wouldn’t have been able to teach myself guitar without this website. And now Ultimate Guitar has an app that gives you pretty much every feature that website does.

This means nearly every song in modern music history is at your fingertips — for free! You have no excuse to not know how to play a song, regardless of your instrument.

Maybe you think you don’t have time? Well, this app is easy to use so you can find the song you need in about 60 seconds. Then all you have to do is play the chords on the screen.

Learning songs besides my own helps me step outside my comfort zone. It inspires me when I play someone else’s super creative chord progression. And sometimes I challenge myself by trying to learn a difficult song.


GuitarTuna is a guitar-tuning app that I have found to be very accurate, especially for it being free. Using the mic on your smartphone, it listens to the string you pluck and tells you — to the cent — how out of tune it is.

However, because it uses your phone’s built-in mic, you have to tune your guitar in a quiet space. So this isn’t a good option for live shows.

But if you’re a home producer like me, this app is your best free option.

Are apps necessary for you to be a better musician? Obviously not. But they can sure help, and I’d highly recommend checking out the three I mentioned.

Caleb J. Murphy is a singer-songwriter and music producer based in Austin, Tx., and the founder of Musician With A Day Job, a blog that helps part-time musicians succeed.


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About me

About Björgvin Benediktsson

I’m Björgvin Benediktsson. I’m a musician, audio engineer and best-selling author. I help musicians and producers make a greater impact with their music by teaching them how to produce and engineer themselves. I’ve taught thousands of up and coming home studio producers such as yourself how to make an impact with their music through Audio Issues since 2011.

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