Without the best iPad apps for musicians, using an iPad can be hard. You might think you need to use the Files app to read sheet music, for example.
Luckily, there are tons of apps that can help you be a better musician. That way, you don’t need to struggle or worry about finding those apps yourself.
Before we get into the apps, this post contains affiliate links. Click here to read my full disclosure policy.
I have to start with one of the best iPad apps for musicians who want to go paperless, which is forScore. This app is probably the most popular sheet music reader for iPad.
It’s similar to other PDF readers, but it has specific features for reading sheet music. You can use different colors and highlighters to annotate sheet music, and you can even add pre-drawn musical symbols.
forScore lets you decide how to display and turn pages so that you don’t have any awkward page turns. You can set the page to turn as one whole page, or you can set it to turn half a page at a time.
If you use your iPad in landscape mode, you can also view either half of a page, or you can view two pages. The app does cost money, but it’s definitely worth it if you plan to use an iPad for sheet music.
If you always need to buy new sheet music, consider downloading IMSLP to your iPad. The app lets you download sheet music from the IMSLP database, just like the website.
But it will then automatically organize each piece into folders by composer. That way, you can quickly find what you need. And you can tap on a piece to bring it up in IMSLP’s sheet music reader.
Like forScore, the IMSLP score reader has some features. However, it doesn’t let you view or turn half a page at a time. Because of that, I usually only use the IMSLP app to download sheet music and then sight read it.
Still, if you aren’t sure if you’d like using an iPad for sheet music, this is a great app to start with. It’s free to use, or you can pay to support the people who run IMSLP.
One of the best sheet music publishers, especially for accuracy, is Henle. I’ve used the Henle edition to learn some of the Bach Sonatas and Telemann Fantasias.
The publisher creates urtext editions, which don’t have a ton of edits. That way, you can play the music more like the composer intended. But if you don’t want to wait on shipping, you can download some pieces from the Henle app.
You can download the app for free, and you can get one free score when you set up your account. Then, you’ll need to use cash to buy points that you can then use to purchase more sheet music.
There aren’t a ton of pieces available, at least for the flute. But there are some, and there are quite a few instrumentations. So if you wanted to arrange a piece and want an urtext edition, you can find a decent selection all on your iPad.
This one is less about the specific app you use and more about the app’s purpose. If you want to take print sheet music and convert it into a PDF, you need a scanner app, like Tiny Scanner.
For example, maybe you want to play from Moyse 24 Petite Etudes Melodies. But you don’t want to worry about losing the book when going to rehearsals or lessons. You can use a scanner app to scan all of the pages into one file.
Scanner apps use your iPad’s camera, so you’ll need an area with good lighting. The app will guess how you want to crop it, and you can adjust the crop if it’s wrong. That way, you won’t crop out important notes.
Many scanner apps let you scan a few pages or files for free. However, I believe you have to upgrade to the pro version for unlimited scans. If you want to convert a lot of your physical sheet music to digital, it’s worth it to upgrade.
If you’ve played music for a while, you may already have a physical tuner, like the Korg Tuner Metronome. However, you might also have a tuner app on your phone, so why not add an app to your iPad?
Having a tuner app on your iPad means you don’t have to keep a ton of supplies on your music stand. Instead of having an iPad, a tuner, and a metronome, you just need your iPad.
Tunable does cost a few dollars, but it’s super worth it. The app can track your tuning tendency, so you can visually see how far off you are and have been. That way, you can figure out how to get in tune, whether by adjusting your instrument or changing your embouchure.
If you don’t want to spend money on a tuner app, there are probably others you can test out. However, most tuner apps cost way less than a physical tuner, so a good app is usually worth the investment.
If you want to listen to recordings or watch videos of other musicians, YouTube is one of the best apps to have on your iPad. Now, you can’t use the YouTube app in the background while using another app.
However, you can use the split screen feature, so you can watch a video and look at your sheet music. Picture in picture is another way to use your iPad to watch YouTube and look at another app.
YouTube is free, but you can pay for a YouTube Premium subscription. I find that the free version of YouTube is fine for my needs.
If you’re an advanced musician and want to promote yourself, you can use YouTube to do that as well. You’ll need to download YouTube Studio or use your computer to upload videos, but the YouTube app is great for looking at your channel and finding video ideas.
One of the best iPad apps for musicians who compose or arrange music is Symphony Pro. It’s a fantastic music notation program that you can use as long as you have your iPad.
The app has a lot of features, and it’s better than some free options. Yes, it does cost money, but it’s a one-time payment. After that, you can use the app as much as you want.
Personally, I prefer using my iPad to compose. The touchscreen interface is much more intuitive for composing than my laptop. I don’t have to worry about having a computer keyboard in the way.
There are other music notation apps out there, like Notion or NotateMe. Symphony Pro is the one that I’ve used the most, though. I can create solos and small ensemble pieces, and I believe the app also lets you compose for band or orchestra.
Are These Apps Worth the Money?
Most of the best iPad apps for musicians cost a bit of money, at least at first. In some cases, the apps aren’t worth the cost. If you hardly use an iPad, you may want to stick with free apps.
However, if you want to use your iPad for a lot of things, it makes sense to spend a bit of money on the best iPad apps. That way, you’ll get the features you need, and you know you won’t waste your money.
The apps I listed are all ones I’ve used, so I think they’re worth it. But if you never plan on composing, for example, you shouldn’t pay for Symphony Pro. And if you don’t want to use your iPad as a tuner, Tunable will be a waste.
So consider your situation. Think about the apps you’re most likely to use regularly. Then, you’ll know which ones are worth the money for you.
Downloading the Best iPad Apps for Musicians
Do you use your iPad a lot? Consider if you have some of the best iPad apps for musicians. If not, you may want to download some apps to make the most of your tablet.
Are you ready to add new music to forScore? Check out Flute Files to view the selection of sheet music available!