Have a Blast with these MUST-HAVE Apps


JUST in time for your holiday lessons and group activities! Here's a list of must-have apps. Apps have become seamlessly integrated into every lesson plan. So much so, that I hardly set them apart from other teaching tools. It's been a while since I shared my go-to apps for group or private lessons. Here are a few (only a few!) that are rising to the top of the list as of November 2017. Next week, this list could change. :-)

Introduce patterns


Music is all about patterns and as youngsters explore the world of music, they must be ready to detect patterns. Before I introduce Loopimal to students, I ask them to look for patterns on their clothing. Once it's established that they can recognize patterns, I share Loopimal with them. We sit in a circle on the floor and I let each student create their own pattern on the app. Everyone is mesmerized by the dancing animals and catchy loops. Reserve more time than you think when using this app and be ready for students to ask to play with this again and again!


Make your own flashcards


Usually, I use Quizlet during Off Bench time during private/partner lessons but, it could work well in a group setting as well.

When designing a studio theme around the Baroque period, my students read various resources to learn more about 17th century music, art and culture.  Every student generated three flash cards based on facts they gathered from the resources in Quizlet using my iPad. Next, students reviewed the content of everyone’s cards in Quizlet’sCards and Match study modes. The app offers the option for the cards to be read aloud so even those who struggle with reading could participate in this activity.

The app offers various study modes:

  • Cards features a standard flash card design with the term on one side and the definition on the other.

  • Learn requires players to read a definition and type in the correct term.

  • Match displays six term cards and six definition cards. Players must tap to find matching cards while being timed.

  • Test offers three testing options: written, multiple choice or true and false. Scores and a list of missed questions are provided.


The ability to customize cards is convenient when preparing students for theory examines. With the option to create Quizletclasses, you canshare study material with your students and they can access the cards on their own devices and you can still track their progress.

If you’re in a hurry and need pre-made cards, the app allows you to search for and download sets based on your topic that have already been generated by other students and teachers.

Here are the cards I created to help students prepare for their National Federation of Music Clubs theory tests: Level 1-7 cards

Book Creator

I turn to Book Creator over and over again because it's so easy to generate resources. Anything I create can be read/viewed on the iPad and I frequently reflect the books (via the iPad) on to my HDTV. Learn how here.


Once I determine a topic and the information to include in a resource, I shoot video and photos with the iPad or upload files and add them to a new e-book within Book Creator. After typing in the preferred text, I reposition the layout, chose a font, letter size and color. Usually, I record myself reading the text. When an image or text box is tapped, the voiceovers are played which is ideal for pre-readers.

Both of my ebooks Understanding Intervals and the Full Scoop on Chords were produced with Book Creator. Look for more of my original resources coming your way from Book Creator very soon!

If you want students to view any book at home, Book Creator offers an option to upload your book and share a link.

Here's an e-book I created this summer for my group sight-reading lessons. It was inspired by colleague and friend Thomas Hoops  to help students discover their singing voice. It's a little silly but, the students enjoyed singing along with this story.

The Beautiful Princess

The Beautiful Princess

Click to read this book, made with Book Creator


Review anything you please


When it's time to review concepts, terms, composers, style periods, Kahoot is ideal! Kahoot is an online, game-based learning platform. To begin, set up a free account at kahoot.com. Next, the site points to games other teachers have made and provides an option to create original games or kahoots.

There are four kahoot options:

  • Quiz for review

  • Discussion to initiate and facilitate debate

  • Survey to gather opinions and insight

  • Jumble to challenge sequential organization skills

Check out a kahoot I created with the "Jumble" option. Below is a screen shot of my computer projecting the game. Students must place the shapes in order on their devices to spell the chord correctly. Points are awarded for speed and accuracy.

When at Kahoot, just search using my name Leila Viss for my kahoot. BTW, you have an option to make games public or private.


The games are made from a series of multiple choice questions you design around any topic of your choosing—music history, rhythm, scales, chords, parts of the piano, etc.The sophisticated platform even allows you to add videos, images and diagrams to your questions.

Project the game from your computer. Before the game begins, a pin number is provided. Players must search for Kahoot online with their device. No app is required but there is one available. Next, students must type in the pin on their mobile device to join the game. Most of my students play this game at school so they are familiar with it and can help you if you have any issues with the app!

Watch the video below--it makes sense once you see it in action.


Heads Up

Ellen DeGeneres produced Heads Up for her show and it makes a terrific family game for holiday fun. The app comes with a variety of game "decks" unrelated to music but, it also allows you to customize a deck so that's why you can use it in your studio. You can purchase additional customizable decks within the app.

While one student holds up the iPad above her head, the other students give her clues of the term that appears on the iPad.  The person must guess the term on the basis of the clues. Watch the video below to get the idea.


Master pitch names and reading rhythms


Although I could keep going, I'll close with NinGenius.

Why? The developers just came out with a new drill to build rhythm reading skills. The blocks representing the length of notes and rests within a measure are brilliant and reinforce what I teach about each beat being a column and how rhythm patterns fit within those columns.


Even though students may have their own account and can play as individuals, it's fun to let group members take turns at answering questions on the app and see if they can earn a black belt as a team.

What apps would you add to the list?

Have a blast with these apps!


PS For a comprehensive and ever-growing Music App Directory, follow this link.

PSS It's time to create that recital program. Need the perfect, original, versatile graphic? Follow this link.