Cool Technology Tips for the Serious Practicing Musician #1

new music technologyIn my last post I talked about the dangers of too much technology.  In the spirit of fairness and alternative viewpoints I'd like to talk about some ways technology can help us as musicians as well. Technology can be an amazing gift for practicing musicians if used the right way. It seems like every day, another cool, unique tool is hitting the market for musicians to use. Today, I am talking specifically about tools that help musicians practice. Technology used in connection with disciplined practice habits can really open huge doors for you.

There’s so much out there that allows a musician to build a studio online – why not integrate some of these great tools into your own practicing?

1. Google Docs (

For starters, Google Docs is a great tool that just about anyone can use. You can use Google’s tools from anywhere, they’re free, and you’ll be able to access all your documents all in one place. You can use Google Docs to organize transcriptions, setlists, practice logs, PDFs, Fake Books, and even keep scans of music in one place. If you have a laptop or a smart phone you can bring with you to a rehearsal or a gig you’ll always have access to your documents.

2. Flip Mino (

The Flip Mino is an excellent little camera that’s cost-effective, sturdy, and extremely portable.

If you’re looking to record yourself practicing, the Flip is a great little camera.

Wondering why you just can’t nail the transition into the bridge of the new song you’re working on? Video record yourself playing it and then take a look. You can now quickly take a look at what your body is doing during that time. Sometimes we’re thinking so much about the notes that’s it hard to notice every detail of our technique. Play back the recording and bam.....super quick feedback on your technique. Serious practice problems can be fixed in minutes. I’ve done this many times and it’s really improved my technique.

It even comes in HD, so you can grab the highest video quality of yourself playing possible. This could also be extremely handy to use in your own promotional materials.

3. Audacity (

Mac users have GarageBand, but PC users have an open source recording suite at their fingertips that’s actually quite advanced – being that it’s free. Audacity had plenty of downloadable plugins you can use to manipulate sound, create mp3s, and work with your own VST libraries. If that weren’t enough, programmers are constantly working on the project, so you are assured updates will happen in a timely fashion.

4. Metronome Online (

This is a handy tool, along with many other handheld metronome and even tuning apps on smartphones for musicians. It’s the kind of thing you can take with you or access anywhere, as long as you have your phone on you. For those musicians likely to get frustrated and damage their metronomes, trust me – you’re far less likely to drop your iPhone or hurl it against a wall when you just can’t get the timing right.

5. Roni Online (

Roni makes some great audio software, such as the “Slow Downer” that can be used to transcribe music, loop sections, and slow down difficult passages. I use this program all the time.

There are also plenty of midi converters and other neat toys available on the website for musicians to use.

There’s so much new information out there, and more coming all the time. Even a few years ago, you couldn’t get a free piece of recording software or access a metronome on your computer unless you had a special program. Life is good for musicians these days who have tons of new technology to lean on – Why not use it and increase the efficiency of your practicing and playing?

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