Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Tech Tip: Learn Songs By Ear With This Useful App

At The ZOEN, we like to share our best resources, tips and tools and we’re always interested to know what our fellow musicians are using. Recently, guitar teacher Barry Chabala clued us into his favorite app:

An app that has become one of the most used in my iPad is mimiCopy from ART Teknika, Inc. Designed primarily as a tool to help musicians learn songs by ear, mimiCopy lets you play back music at different rates without affecting the pitch. Up to 50% slower!  

I’ve found mimiCopy to be extremely useful on sections of a song that I’m having a hard time getting at regular speed. I just load a section into mimiCopy and slow it down enough so I can hear the notes going by easier. The app shows you the song graphically so it’s fairly easy to find the section you need. Then, by moving markers around, you can isolate the section and have it loop over and over as many times as you need. This feature in itself is wonderful! Hearing the notes repeated over and over really helps you to hear the phrase. Slowing it down really helps you nail it.

 photo mimiCopy_screen_iPhone_zps69e2e2b2.png
mimiCopy Screenshot
I’ve also found mimiCopy very useful for practice. I recommend it to all my students.  You can import a rhythm or background track from iTunes into mimiCopy and then use that to practice many aspects of your playing. Whether it be rhythm/chord work, melodic playing or even improvised soloing, its slowed down to a pace you can handle.

Try this – record yourself playing a chord progression/rhythm track or that exercise you might be having trouble with in something like GarageBand and then import that track into mimiCopy. You can then play along with yourself, varying the tempo at will, or practice that new exercise at a much slower tempo. And once you have it down slowly, start upping the tempo a little at a time! You’ll have it mastered in no time!

Those are just some of the many uses I’ve found for this great little app for your tablet or smartphone. Check it out, you might find it useful in your practice routine.

Have you found an app that’s making a big difference in your music practice? Please, share it in the comments!

Barry Chabala teaches electric and acoustic guitar and plays in the NJ based classic rock and soul band Parkway Jams. Book a lesson with him in The ZOEN.

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