Music education related iPhone apps that are actually useful seem to be rather few and far between. Â When I was informed of the Trumpet Pro apps now available for both iPhone and iPad I was a little skeptical, having seen other fingering training apps that failed to live up to my expectations. When I saw the pricing associated with these two apps I became a bit more skeptical but decided to give them a try anyway and see if they were truly worth the investment.
Trumpet Pro Provides Flexible Settings and Lots of Exercises
Both apps promise to help trumpet or french horn players develop and hone their fingering skills by doing interactive fingering drills. The free trial versions of the apps come with the major scales and a few sample song clips and are adequate to let the user get a feel for the full version of the applications while the full Trumpet Pro HD app for iPad and Trumpet Pro app for iPhone come with 600 different songs already provided as well as slots for 99 additional custom songs that the user can create on their own. In addition to the scales and selected etudes additional exercises were provided by brass musicians such as Eric Bolvin, Craig Fraedrich and Jay Lichtmann.
Using Trumpet Pro
In each of the apps the user holds the iPhone or iPad on its side with their three playing fingers touching the instrument buttons on the screen. A staff of notes shows the notes to be played, and a moving highlight moves across the screen to show where in the music the song is currently playing. Incorrect fingerings are marked in red while correct fingerings remain in black.
In playing the with application it was obvious early on that this is a very well thought out application with a lot of potential for helping students learn fingerings in a fun, challenging way. The tempo of each song can be adjusted or transposed as desired, and the player's score can be uploaded to a leader board to see how they compare to other aspiring performers. In fact, the amount of customization one can make to this application is perhaps one of its greatest selling points.
Big Value and Minimal Concerns With The Trumpet Pro App
The only real problems I had with the application had to do with the use of alternate fingerings. At first I was unable to figure out how to make the app do alternate fingerings the way I wanted them to. However, after watching the Trumpet Pro video tutorials I began to understand how the alternate fingering system worked but was still not incredible satisfied. You cannot have the same note accept more than one fingering unless the note head is altered with a natural sign (or something equivalent). In other words, a C on the staff is always one fingering while a C w/natural sign can be a different alternate fingering but never both fingerings at the same time.
Trumpet Pro for iPhone currently sells for $19.99 in the iTunes App Store and should be considered to be a great value for the amount of materials and amount of customization provided in the app. Trumpet Pro HD for iPad sells for $29.99 but the beefed up screen size on the iPad means that more measures can be shown and with less eye strain on the user. The ten dollar up charge is well worth it for those that have iPads. Also available from the same company are apps for practicing French Horn fingerings as well.