Learning to play saxophone can be an extremely rewarding experience. Whether you’re learning soprano, tenor, alto or baritone – the saxophone is widely considered to be the most accessible of all the woodwinds.
With new technology constantly being developed to make our lives easier, it has never been a better time to refine your skills on the sax! I’ve done some research and have found a few apps that has the potential to make your life much easier! Here are 5 Apps you can use to improve your saxophone playing:
How you can use it: this app will be perfect for beginners or those who have trouble remember any obscure fingerings.
This is an amazingly useful app – learning correct fingerings is a core aspect of improving your playing and will undoubtedly give your skills an upgrade!
The app provides in-depth fingering charts for both brass and woodwind instruments. The app includes trill fingerings for minor and major 2nd intervals, as well as additional fingerings for minor and major 3rd trills.
If alternate fingerings are available for notes or trills – you can navigate through them to find the right one for you. Visual guides are also included for key names and locations to further understand the fingering charts.
Personally, I think the user interface is a little clunky – but you can tell the developer has done their best to pack all the information onto the screen without too much crowding.
Available to buy on the Apple store, this app is exclusively for iOs devices. At $4.99, it’s a reasonable price for a tool packed full of features. There’s also an additional Fingering app optimized for iPad.
How you can use it: perfect for learning songs by ear or for transcribing.
This is an excellent app for any teacher or student to implement into practice routines. It allows users to manipulate the tempo and pitch independently of one another. This app won ‘Best Mac Music App of 2013’ – so you know it must be something special!
With the touch of a button you can speed up or slow the tempo down – this is great for transcription or learning a new tune. Adjusting the pitch is also incredibly simple and allows a 24 semitone (two octaves) shift up or down.
The interface is pretty intuitive and focuses on the visualisation of the audio. This is great for multiple reasons. Scanning through the song to find the section you need is easy with the waveform represented so clearly.
The app also provides infinite markers – so you can place a marker on a verse, chorus or solo section you need. You can also loop between markers so you can keep practicing one section over as many times as you need!
This app is also portable – meaning you can use it on your iPad, iPhone, or even your desktop! Anytune Pro+ has a free trial available for Mac OS, so if you’re curious to try it out – give it a go! However, if you’re a music teacher, the developers have kindly made the upgrade to Pro+ completely free!
Reframe (bundled with Anytune Pro+)
How you can use it: use this app to remove other instruments from the track. This way you can isolate the saxophone to learn the piece and play along to the backing track when you’re finished.
Reframe is created by the same developers of Anytune and comes bundled with Anytune Pro+. Reframe displays frequencies across the spectrum in a funky and colorful interface, and allows you to crop, edit, mute or isolate these sections, much like cropping or editing an image.
Along with customised user control, there are also a list of presets, such as ‘Remove Vocals’ or ‘Solo Bass’; the app detects these instruments automatically and completes the job with the touch of a button.
This is incredibly useful if you want to remove your instrument from a recording so you can practice the part in your session, but still have the band to play along with so you can get immersed!
Or, you may want to remove the rest of the parts playing and focus on your own so you can learn or transcribe it.
Whatever the case, Reframe’s algorithm is excellent and does a great job at detecting and isolating the different instruments in a song.
The ability to use it in conjunction with Anytune Pro+ gives you access to so many features that are sure to make your practice sessions fruitful!
Tuner & Metronome
How you can use it: an easy to use all-in-one tuner, metronome and recording app.
Available on the Google Play store – for a very sweet price of nothing! For a free app, it’s had excellent feedback from the community.
With a 4.5/5 star rating by a whopping 47,129 users – it’s obvious this app is satisfying a lot of musicians.
The interface for this app is incredibly streamlined and simple; looking very user friendly and slick. With a touch of a button you can toggle the metronome on and off, access the tuner, select a rhythmic pattern and even record your playing!
There are some amazing additional features available for purchase within the app as well.
If you’re practicing in a noisy environment or the volume limit of your phone isn’t sufficient to hear the beats on your metronome, this app offers a fantastic solution – visual beats. The flashlight on your camera serves as your metronome!
How you can use it: use it for checking scales, referencing fingering, and transposing songs.
Saxophone All-in-one aims to provide you with everything you’d want as a saxophone player. It provides you with a collection of the most popular Blues scales as well as providing you with the common Major and Minor scales.
This app is well suited for beginner players. More advanced players may find a few features lacking – such as fingerings for the altissimo notes.
However, it’s a great app to have if you find yourself transposing songs from one key to the next. Keep in mind that it only offers transpositions for alto saxs.
The app also offers a select number of tutorials for beginners. Again, more experienced players will find little value in these tutorials except for maybe a quick refresher.
How you can use it: use it to organize and keep track of your sheet music.
ForScore is an excellent organisational tool developed exclusively for iOs devices. The interface is stunning and simple; sorting and accessing your sheet music is going to be an absolute breeze with this app.
ForScore can import pretty much any PDF score, as well as connect to various cloud based servers such as Dropbox.
You can keep your scores organised by tagging them – it could be the name of a composer, period or genre. ForScore will categorise and sort everything for ease of access!
Adding annotations to your scores is a simple process – you can use or edit presets to add notes, markings or symbols to any score.
Sharing scores is also simple; through email, Bluetooth and even Airdrop.
For $9.99, this is an easily justifiable purchase that will completely transform your sheet music collection!
The saxophone is a beautiful instrument, with so many benefits from playing. It’s a social instrument that thrives in the context of a band, and has a beautifully unique and distinct tone with a relaxing and smooth feel that characterizes jazz!
Musicians need tools to refine, practice and ultimately improve their craft. With so many apps available to musicians these days, it’s easy to get a little lost in all the noise.
This list will give you more tools that are genuinely useful at your disposal – while helping you get more out of your sessions!
About the author: Glen Parry has been a musician for over 15 years. He’s done everything the hard way so you don’t have to. You can find more musical advice and audio gear buying guides, such as this guide for selecting pianos, over at AudioMastered.com.