Learn to Play Piano on Your iPad
Believe it or not, your iPad is a great piano teacher
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The iPhone and iPad are wonderful tools. They can teach you math, how to read and spell, and even how to play an instrument. These surrogate teachers really shine when it comes to learning how to play the piano. Dozens of apps are designed for just this purpose, and most of them listen to what you play and detect whether you’re hitting the right keys. The result is highly interactive learning.
Here are the best seven apps to get you on your way to piano virtuosity, including an app that turns your iPad into a virtual piano, several apps that teach music, a great app for buying sheet music once you’re further along the path, and a keyboard specifically designed to work with iOS.
How to Use Your iPad as a Piano: GarageBand
What We Like
Download free instruments from the Sound Library.
Connect a MIDI keyboard for the full piano teacher experience.
Piano lessons are built in.
What We Don’t Like
App customization options are limited.
Lacks many options for woodwind instruments.
The number one requirement to learn how to play the piano is access to a keyboard, and that’s where GarageBand shines. This free download from Apple turns an iPhone or iPad into a digital audio workstation. In other words, it turns your device into a piano (or a guitar, drums, or another touch instrument). This trick works better with the larger screen of the iPad, but you’ll be surprised by just how handy it can be on the iPhone, as well.
If you’re just starting out and using the on-screen keyboard, you can only learn the basics. A big part of learning an instrument is building up muscle memory so that your fingers know what to do, and that takes a real instrument. The good news is that GarageBand can connect a MIDI keyboard to your iOS device.
A MIDI keyboard is an electronic keyboard that has MIDI IN and MIDI OUT ports. MIDI, which stands for musical instrument digital interface, communicates what is played on the instrument to a device such as an iPhone or iPad. This means you can connect a MIDI keyboard to your iPad and use GarageBand to produce the sounds.
A lot of great MIDI keyboards are available, including keyboards with only 29 keys. These smaller keyboards can be great for practicing while away from home.
The Best Music App for Teaching K >
What We Like
Organize exercises by level or genre.
Great for young and adult learners.
Progress reports let you know how you’re doing.
What We Don’t Like
Can’t search for songs.
The app is free, but to get the most from it, you need a subscription.
Can’t print sheet music.
Piano Maestro is an awesome way for adults to learn piano on the iPad or iPhone, but it is specifically awesome for kids. This piano teaching app features video lessons that emphasize good technique through a Rock Band–like process for learning both how to play the piano and how to read music. Your kids will come out the other side able to sight-read music, which will help with any instrument they choose to learn in the future.
The app is broken into a series of chapters that focus on a specific skill. These chapters start with playing middle C, slowly bring in new notes, and eventually add the left hand into the mix. The piano lessons are scored on a one- to three-star basis, so your child can go over a lesson multiple times to improve their score. Because the lessons flow into each other, Piano Maestro can become addictive, even for someone who already knows the basics.
Piano Maestro uses the iOS device microphone to listen in on your playing, but it also supports a MIDI keyboard that can be connected to the iPad or iPhone. You can go through the first lessons at no cost to get a feel for the app before you purchase a subscription.