Back in the 80s and 90s there were no apps or websites. All we had was a professional up-tempo recording (if we were lucky) on cassette or CD. A practice-level recording took the teacher many hours to record and duplicate, where now I simply use Audioboom and share it with you right away!
Here is an ever-growing list of sites and apps which will be of use to young violinists and pianists. Please note that I have concentrated on iOS – Android suggestions (Google Play and Amazon app store) are welcome.
scalesace.com – Scales practice for ABRSM grades 1 to 8; the Scalebox app does a similar job
Scales flash cards for Grades 1 to 3 – work your way to the end of this detailed document to find some useful flash cards to print out and fold up. Makes scales practice more comprehensive
If you’ve lost your scalebook – printable scales (including fingering)
And this one even gives you the low-down on finger positions for those early grades!
Practice exercises – the first 20 are free at this site
SightRead4Piano – A fantastic iPad-based app which is free, but you need to pay extra for grade-based content
MTA SightReadPlus– another iPad app, which will listen as you play, and even tune itself to your piano if it is not at concert pitch!
Graphical representation of major and minor scales on the keyboard
Super Mario medley;
Practicia – a great iPad app which will soon replace practice books and allow much more communication between home and student
Slow Notes – Free (unlike the ABRSM equivalent), but will not work with DRM-protected music. Ideal for slowing down your music (or piano accompaniment) to a suitable practice tempo. AnyTune does this too.
Aural Book – I’ve been recommending this for years. While the presentation is a little clunky, it does listen and graphically represent what it has heard, as well as giving students great motivation to practise!
ABRSM Aural Trainer – not free (available as two apps, G1-5 and G6-8), but meticulously put together and made by the board themselves
e-musicmaestro – free resources here, but you’ll need to pay to go further
Hofnote – not as intuitive as it used to be, and requires a monthly subscription. But the tests are good
Free tests from ABRSM
Grade 3 aural test at correct speed – a good opportunity to understand the pace of the aural test part of the exam
This American site pays no heed to ABRSM but has lots of juicy content to help train your musical ear
More generalist aural training
An excellent free flash-based rhythm trainer which can be used on most machines;
Rhythm Lab – Brilliant for rhythm work. I still use Sheila Nelson’s Flip-A-Rhythm, but this runs it a close second. Instant feedback makes it invaluable for at-home practice.
Christmas and birthday ideas for the up-and-coming musician
And more – many, many more…