Top iPad Apps for Music Exploration and Education


While it’s common for iPad users to stream music to their devices with apps such as Spotify or Slacker radio, or listen to their own music libraries through Apple’s native Music app, the iPad is also an excellent way to explore new musical genres or learn about Classical, Jazz, or even Opera at any age.

Are you curious about Jazz? Consider downloading 955 Dream’s History of Jazz for iPad. This iPad-only app provides an innovative introduction to Jazz, demystifying the difference between Hot Jazz and Cool Jazz. Learn about and listen to performance clips by storied players like Charles Mingus and Chet Baker. Hint: if you’re already a seasoned Jazzbo, then History of Jazz may not be for you, but you can still gift this app to your friends so they can see what all the fuss is about.

If Classical music is your quarry, consider iClassics for iPad. This free app indexes more than a 1,000 musical pieces by 8 different categories including composer, era, instrument, role, event, and even mood, which means there is no reason to be intimidated by Classical music any longer. Think of iClassics as a substitue for that music survey class you never got around to taking in college.

If you’re already a Classical devotee, consider subscribing to BBC Music Magazine through Apple’s own Newsstand, and access the world’s best selling Classical music magazine right from your iPad. The magazine includes interviews with musicians as well as reviews of recordings. Nevertheless, be prepared to pony up some cash because a one year subscription will set you back almost $60. Not sure if BBC Music is for you? Download a single issue for $5.99.

Consider using the iPad to introduce children to Classical music and opera. Begin with MSO Learn, a free universal app from the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra that teaches kids about instrumental families, the instruments that comprise a symphony orchestra and the musicians who make the beautiful sounds possible.

Developer Melody Street offers several free iPad apps to help children appreciate music. Start with Mozart Interactive, it’s like Amadeus for toddlers. Melody Street also offers My Musical Friends HD, which, in addition to being free, teaches kids as young as 3 years of age about the instruments in an orchestra

While I couldn’t actually find any kids’ edu-apps that focus solely on opera, it’s worth mentioning Hildegard Sings, by Thomas Wharton and 100 Robots. Adapted from the picture book of the same name, this app shares the touching and humorous story of Hildegard Rhineheffer, a hippo who wants nothing more than to be an opera star.

Photo courtesy of Flickr user Mike Licht

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About Emily: Emily is a freelance writer who loves discovering new apps whenever she can pry the iPad away from her children or husband. You can contact her via Twitter: @whatwentwrite