Check out this Music App: iReal b

Bradley Sowash graciously shares his knowledge of all things jazz, creativity and more at this site--make sure to check out his website for much more! In a recent conversation, he mentioned the iRealb app (for iOS and Android) and how he uses it regularly with students. As I continue my search for worthwhile music apps and write blogs on those that  "standout" for my studio,  it seemed natural that my blog "categories"--Creative Corner and Music iPad apps--join forces. Below lists Bradley's descriptions of how he uses this unique app. Q:  How do you use the  iReal b app with your students?

 A: I use iReal b to create rhythm section backing tracks for my students' current scale/chord drill of the week.  I also strongly urge them to practice their pop/jazz repertory with it (there are hundreds of free pre-made tracks on the users forum).

Q: What are the benefits?

A: It is so much more fun (and addictive) to practice to a drum machine or rhythm section than to a metronome.  I can tell immediately when a student has actually practiced with iReal b because their beat is steady, the groove is deeper and their confidence shows.

Q: Do you have students purchase the app too?

A: Yes, it's $7.99.  There are also in-app purchases of additional style packs for the same price but they aren't necessary for student work.  Not all of my students use it but I wish they would.

Q: Anything else you wish to add?

A: This app serves the same function as Band in a Box which I've used for years.  With BIAB, I sent home MIDI files so they could practice with their computer and I still use BIAB for students who are not app-capable.  However, I prefer that they use iReal b because the tempo and groove are adjustable on their end.  This app is cheaper and does not include some of the features of Band in a Box but students don't need all the extra functionality of BIAB anyway.

Q: How would you rate iReal b?

Bradley's Application Potential: 5/5  I use it everyday both as a teacher and in my own practice. Bradley's Ability to Use with Ease: 4/5  It's  easy to create your own tracks to any chord progression whether you are tech oriented or not.  If you have a lead sheet or vocal/piano folio, just select the chords for each measure from a menu, pick a groove and off you go. Bradley's Assessment of Investment: 5/5  Relatively inexpensive, versatile, convenient.

Total Score: 14/15--What's not to like?

So, now that I'm sold, here's a brief video of me (Leila) using the app WITH the additional Piano Chord option.

Only a few of the many options are highlighted. How do you use iReal b?