Musiclock is a $2.99 app for iPad and iPhone that provides a variety of backing tracks intended to be used while practicing scales or improvising.
The first step is to select a scale. The scale choices are: major, major pentatonic, minor pentatonic, natural minor, melodic minor, harmonic minor, blues, and dominant bebop.
The second step is to choose a backing track. Depending on the scale choice you made, there are a variety of backing tracks to choose from with varying styles and tempos. You can touch the play button to hear a preview.
Once you’ve selected a backing track, touch the “Let’s Jam” button to begin! The app defaults to the key of C. By touching and turning the spinner, you can select any key. Clicking the play icon will start the backing track. Now, you can jam along on your instrument or using the on-screen keyboard!
Below is a short improvisation I created through interacting the on-screen keyboard while on my iPhone. What could be better than improving your ear and practicing scales on-the-go!
[In the video below, you will notice a little bit of delay between the sound of on-screen keyboard and the backing track. This is due to the screen-recording program I used to create the video. When using the app normally, it is very responsive.]
In the video below, a student and I tried out Musiclock briefly during a lesson as he played through a C major scale. It’s a little more fun than playing along to a regular metronome!
By the way, Musiclock isn’t just for pianists. In the Settings section, you can select the guitar setting so the app will show guitar fret charts instead of the piano keyboard.