The best apps for saxophone players

Thursday, January 15, 2015 


Are you using apps in the practice studio?  With the incredible range of apps now available, they can be a brilliant tool to boost your practice routine, and help you improve more quickly on saxophone.  Here is a roundup of some of our favourite apps for saxophone players.

iPad / iPhone
Audio Stretch app
Audio Stretch by Cognosonic is an awesome tool for changing the speed of audio tracks so that you can practice them at a tempo that suits you without changing the pitch. Any tune in your iTunes music library, Dropbox or from Mail is easily imported into the app where you can then adjust the tempo up or down to suit your rehearsal needs. You can also transpose your tunes up or down 12 semitones and loop if desired and send modified audio files by email. An absolute bargain for $6.99USD!
Available on the AppStore


Nigel McGill’s Saxnotes
iPad / iPhone
Saxnotes app gives you a fingering chart for saxophone
SaxNotes is a fingering chart for the Saxophone with a few extra tricks up it’s sleeve. This app provides all the features of a normal fingering chart, but also plays the note you need and displays the finger position along with the music notation.
The user can choose between hearing the note played on alto (Eb instruments) or tenor (Bb Instruments) so you can always check if your note sounds the way it should. It also has a game feature so you can test yourself to check your fingering knowledge. SaxNotes is the perfect practice companion for anyone learning the Saxophone.
$2.99 USD on the AppStore



IOS / Android

Cleartune app for saxophone players
There are a plethora of tuning apps available for all mobile devices but unfortunately most leave you feeling a bit disappointed.
Cleartune has been head and shoulders above the rest for some time with a clear, accurate interface and no nonsense controls. Cleartune is an excellent practice companion and although the tuning is very precise (which can cause some frustration at first), it’s ease of use will make it your first choice tuner app.
$3.99 on the AppStore or Google Play store



IOS / Android
Mrs Scale
This is a cool little app that helps you learn scales. You can enter the desired scale and Mrs Scale will display the notes on a staff, as well on a piano keyboard.
There is a wide range of scale variations available beyond your basic major / minor scales including modes, pentatonics and blues scales. The interface is a little clunky but it’s free and really useful.
Free on AppStore
iReal Pro
iPad / iPhone
ireal pro app
Although in app terms this is expensive, iReal Pro is a must have for any sax player wanting to practice their improvising skills. iReal Pro is basically like having a band in your pocket.
You can input chord progressions or upload them from various blog sites and then choose from dozens of playing styles. The app then outputs a full band arrangement of the progression or tune at whatever tempo you select. This is a very powerful tool that can be used daily and will grow with your needs.
$7.99 USD from AppStore



What's your favourite app?

Let us know in a comment below!

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About the blog:

I created this blog to share my experience touring and performing over the last 30 years all over the world with big bands, jazz ensembles, symphony orchestras and touring shows. I've pretty much worked in every part of the music business from soloist to band leader, musical director, studio musician and even managing an orchestra in London's west end. I love talking about saxophone and helping others to reach their saxophone goals. Most importantly though, I want to hear about your progress, challenges and victories on the road to learning sax. Leave me a comment to start the conversation! Nigel McGill
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