Jamn (US$1.99) is a universal iOS app that visually communicates the relationship between musical keys, chords, scales, notes and the audio an instrument produces.
Having spent some time teaching music to young students, I know all too well how difficult it can be to communicate the relationship between music theory and the sound that an instrument produces. Inevitably, it involves me scribbling endless analogies on a piece of paper until the penny drops. And while there are helpful visuals out there, I've not come across one as clear and as simple on the iOS App Store as Jamn.
Through Jamn's intuitive and interactive Jamn wheel, the relationship between theory and sound is made visual, helping to connect the dots for beginners and those wanting to learn more.
For example, by selecting the key of C in Jamn, the wheel will clearly identify all relevant major and minor chords for that key. Turn the wheel and the key changes to reveal the next appropriate chords. You can also hit play to hear exactly what each note and chord sounds like. It's a simple premise, but has the potential to make a big difference in the learning process.
Each note and chord is also represented on a virtual guitar fretboard, displaying where each finger should be placed to make up the chord. The same can be done by swiping the fretboard to ukulele or piano mode. In guitar mode, tilting your iDevice will put the app in eHands mode, giving you a literal hand position representation of what your hand should look like when playing the chord. The app comes with 10 of the most common hand positions, a further 200 can be purchased via in-app purchase for $1.99.
Additional features include an in-key chord finder, a scales library, a tuner and tutorial videos to get you started. There really is a lot in Jamn to get you learning, understanding and playing your instrument.
If you've already got the basic principles of playing, for example, the guitar, Jamn will be a fantastic tool to help you develop and progress in your musicality. But if you're a teacher, I can see Jamn being particularly useful in providing a creative and interactive way to teach students the fundamentals of playing the guitar, ukulele or the piano. Jamn is certainly worth checking out.
What apps have you used to help you learn or teach an instrument? Let us know in the comments below.