In the latest issue of The Flutist which I receive as being a member of the National Flute Association, there was an article about software for use in practicing and teaching. Here is a brief summary of it and some additions of my own.
The article, written by Joseph Manupello, is interesting, but has a number of errors. Lets start where he starts, with software Metronomes.
He mentions a program called Metronome 2.5 by Nick Baciu. I haven’t been able to find that program, but I did find a great Metronome/Tuner called Enable Tune 2.6 for windows that, for $19.95, does a good job at tuning and keeping time. For Mac people, there are a couple of Metronome programs. And there are programs out there for the Palm as well. I however think if you are going to practice, get a real metronome. Like the Boss Doctor Beat 66 which is great because it’s LOUD, accents downbeats, and does odd meters.
Mr. Manupello’s next section is on tuners, mainly the AP Instrument Tuner 1.02. It’s an interesting product, and there are similar products available for Windows and Macintosh. Cool, but…..why? Pitch is important, but…..this is insane. He even mentions that one of the things he likes about AP Tuner is that you can run two instances of the program (assuming you have 2 sound cards). Why? Personally, I’m amazed at the $30 digital tuners you can get. The keep getting smaller, and faster. My recommendation, get a Seiko or similar tuner. Makes sense, especially if you plan to play somewhere, like a GIG, where you won’t have your computer around.
Finally, Joseph Manupello gets down to business with taking about Spectrogram. Now, this program is very interesting. You can see visualizations of what you sound like. Compare it with other peoples’. Neat, but….thats about it. I don’t think I’d really use it.
Finally, Joseph Manupello ends with talking about Cool Edit. Cool edit allows you to record, edit, etc, etc yourself and your music. There are other programs as well that can do this, such as Soundforge (which I highly recommend) for the PC, and for the Macintosh, I wholeheartly recommend Sound Studio and Amadeus. Both are inexpensive and excellent programs.
The computer is a great tool, but I’ve found that it is best for recording, and composing/edit/printing music. I’ve found that owning a metronome and a tuner is invaluable. You can take them with you, whereever your playing takes you.