5 of the Best Mobile Apps for Making Music in the Moment – Soundfly


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5 of the Best Mobile Apps for Making Music in the Moment

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The process of creating music is mostly hard work, consistency, and time management. But a small percentage of that involves giving in to inspiration, where an idea just hits you in the head.

In those cases, you need to record that idea before it leaves your head and, well, hits someone else in the head. That’s why I suggest having a music-making mobile app at the ready. You can quickly record your song idea, even if you’re hearing cellos, a beat, or a piano melody, and work on it right away.

So here are five underestimated and fun apps for making music and recording your song ideas in the moment.

1. Hip-Hop Drum Pads 24

Hip-Hop Drum Pads 24 is one of my favorite music-making apps. It’s for all you finger drummers and chill-hop producers out there for sure.

The kicks have serious umph, the snares slap, and the plethora of samples are catchy and interesting. And you can access a whole library of sample packs, many of them just require you to watch an ad to get access. You can also use effects, like pitch, filter, reverb, delay, and distortion.

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2. BandLab

BandLab is available for both iOS and Android (unlike GarageBand below). It’s got a huge library of virtual instruments, loops, and sample packs to play around with. You’re limited to a 6-minute song and 12 instrument channels, but that’s enough to make a professional track.

The real kicker is that BandLab has a social, collaborative component. You can easily share your tracks with friends, listen to others’ music, and join competitions. You can even give someone else permission to jump into your project and add their ideas. Just make sure your internet connection is reliable or it could cause latency problems.

3. Soundtrap

Like BandLab, Soundtrap is also available for iOS and Android, and it’s also powerfully collaborative. It offers plenty of MIDI instruments, samples, loops, and the ability to record your own audio.

The nice thing about Soundtrap is you can watch tutorials right when you join so you don’t get lost. Even without the tutorials, it’s pretty easy to figure out. Some of the effects are behind a paywall, and you need a strong internet connection (of course), but this app is still a great tool for recording any and all musical ideas on the spot.

4. Roland Zenbeats

If you love the sound of vintage Roland synths and drums, and playing around with them to your heart’s delight, this app is for you. Roland’s Zenbeats app includes plenty of those sounds.

It lets you record and multitrack songs and bounce them to your DAW right away. Just be aware that the sounds do take up a lot of storage on your phone. But it’s still a good option for keyboardists and drummers, and it’s wonderful for playing around to find great sounds, and special song ideas, wherever you are.

5. GarageBand

GarageBand is one of the best Digital Audio Workstations for beginner producers out there. And the mobile app is one of the best music-making platforms because it’s like having all the power and freedom of working on your laptop, right in your pocket. Plus it comes free with every new iPhone and iPad.

I used GarageBand when I first started out, and it did everything I needed to make an industry-standard track. And the mobile version is a near-exact adaption. It’s very easy to use, and it comes with a bunch of instrument loops and tons of professional sounds, more than you’ll ever even need; as well as high-quality presets for EQ and other effects.

Download one of these apps, start playing around, and have it at the ready for the next time inspiration smacks you across the face. If you’re truly talented, maybe you’ll be able to make your next hit entirely on the phone!

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Caleb J. Murphy
Caleb J. Murphy

Caleb J. Murphy is a songwriter and producer based in Austin, TX., and the founder of Musician With A Day Job, a blog that helps part-time musicians succeed. He's been self-releasing music since 2009 in various bedrooms, basements, garages, and closets.