Listen to the world's best radio, learn the piano, organise your tunes and more
Need to make sweet music? Want to learn the guitar? Now you can with these clever apps.
Tune In Radio
A streamer’s dream, satisfy every audible pleasure imaginable with this salute to radio. There are more than 100,000 radio stations worldwide to lock onto, including trending stations, which means you can catch the latest sports commentaries, music genres from 1960s to 1980s via jazz, blues, alt rock or new age (our favourite is New York station Studio 54 Addicted to Radio, which belts out a slew of 1970s classics), talk shows and more. You can search by language or location to seek out the niche, such as Radio Santa Claus in Finland. You can also record, pause or rewind programmes if you missed something; heck, there’s even a sleep timer so you can wake up to ‘Jingle Bells’. Free. Available on Android.
Good for: streamers.
‘I am pretending that you know nothing about playing a guitar,’ Marty Schwartz says in his American drawl as he idly strums away on an acoustic guitar. And Schwartz does what he says he’s gonna do; this is a methodical, no frills, idiot’s guide to learning the guitar. A series of eight lessons start you off – presuming you are an absolute beginner – running the gauntlet of chords and strum patterns. There’s a manual that includes mode shapes and sheet music, plus ten ‘easy’ songs to play towards the last lesson. It’s basic and he talks a lot but his enthusiasm is almost tangible. Most importantly, you will learn to strum your best Coldplay rendition in no time. Free. Available on Android.
Touted as the most comprehensive app for anyone playing the piano or who fancies themselves as an ivory tinkler. With more than 50,000 songs to choose from, this app allows you to play keys in six octaves. There’s a handy six-minute video that talks you through the app’s functions. With small tutorials that pop up every time you open a menu, you can adjust anything from the playing speed to the size of the keyboard. There’s record-sharing and a double keyboard option, which means you can place a larger range of keys on your screen for more nifty playing. Add a deluge of other instruments including harmonica, organ, drums and more; there are 128 to choose from. Maybe practise alone though; this app is seriously irritating for anyone within a five-metre radius. Free. Available on Android.
Good for: finger tappers.
Have a deep urge to create sweet music on-the-go? You can with this app. Simply choose your weapon among a huge library of instruments and pre-recorded loops and start playing around. With clever chord layouts and bass notes you can turn your iPhone into a collection of touch instruments and thereafter a full-on recording studio. Use simple multi-touch options to play a piano, organ, guitar and drums. A host of ‘smart’ instruments mean you can create tracks without knowing how to play a single instrument. Plug in your electric guitar and you can even play the results through a classic amp. There’s recording and sharing options, a built-in microphone where you can record vocals using reverb, echo and special effects options and song creation up to 32 tracks. The results will be impressive. BD1.8. Available on both iPad and iPhone.
Good for: unleashing your inner symphony orchestra.
Turn your smartphone into a mixmaster genius with this app, which lets you play music and mix like a DJ. A practical interface, which is set up to look like DJ decks, means you can get to mix two tracks simultaneously from your playlist and cross-fade between them to prepare your own set list. User-friendly, easy-to-use options mean this is a wholly responsive app. You can even scratch records on the turntables and the pitch and tempo alternation options will have you mixing effortlessly in no time. Free. Available on Android.
Good for: pretending you’re Carl Cox.
Sing! Karaoke by Smule
Too shy for your local karaoke night? Warble like there’s no tomorrow with this tumultuously popular app. Get to sing songs from a gargantuan catalogue of top hits or practise until you’re Mariah personified and share the results with the world. There’s a deluge of genres from pop to rock, hip-hop to country. There are even stage musicals. If you can’t find what you’re yearning for, you can suggest songs. There’s voice enhancement technology to hone those high notes and you can even join in with other users for a duet. Bit competitive? Get on the app’s top performances list with singers from all over the globe. Available on both iPad and iPhone.