Apps for Jazzers 2019

By Shannon Gunn, presented at JEN 2019 (Reno, NV)

  1. Utilities (Metronome, tuner, iReal, iGigBook, payment apps, bank apps, scanning)

2. Sheet music/set lists, including sharing within a band

3. Notation

  • MuseScore – the desktop version allows you to write sheet music and load it to the website. The app is for viewing only (can’t write notation with it). Beware of $50 fee to download music to the app and the non-refund for cancelling subscription.
  • Notion – iOS, $14.99
  • Android sheet music apps, Sibelius, Finale, Noteflight

4. Transcribing

  • Amazing Slow Downer (ASD) – iOS, Android, Lite is free but only 30 seconds of song, $14.99, import from music library or Spotify
  • MimiCopy – iOS, $4.99, nice user interface for zooming and looping
  • Transcribe! – Desktop software with frequency analyzer

5. Apps for band directors/students – ear training, theory, pedagogy, improvisation

  • Stretch Music – iOS, $9.99, play along with Christian Scott Atunde Adjuah’s album, solo parts, view his sheet music
  • Harmony Cloud – iOS, $9.99, Stefan Harris’s play along improvisation app
  • Modacity – iOS, $8.99, music practice app, make a goal and watch your progress, make a playlist, take notes, recording, playback, set a timer, demos
  • Anytune – iOS, free with in-app purchases $1.99 – $4.99, music practice app, slow down, speed up, loop, and separate out parts, transpose to a different key, play along with a recording
  • Drum Genius – iOS, Android, free for the first three downloads, after that it ranges from $0.99 to $7.99, encyclopedia of drum grooves, practice along with Brian Blade
  • PlayByEar – iOS, free, ear training app
  • SR Machine (Sight Reading Machine) – iOS, $1.99, sight read difficult examples, demo
  • ReadRhythm, aka Rhythm Reading Sight Reading Trainer – iOS, $2.99, tap along with sight reading, then receive a graphic of what you did, connect to Evernote to show improvement over time
  • iImprov – iOS, Android, $4.99, this is a suite of apps which are short duration courses on everything jazz improv. Topics include: Scale Compendium, Modal, Fundamentals, Bebop, ii V, Contemporary Colors.
  • Tenuto – iOS, $3.99, music theory app for students, associated with
  • MyMusicTheory – Android, free, music theory app
  • Music Theory Pro – iOS, $3.99, music theory app
  • Fingering – iOS, $6.99, interactive fingering charts for brass and woodwind instruments
  • Scales Lexicon – iOS, $4.99, over 100 scales, modes, jazz scales, and world music scales
  • RhymeZone – iOS, browser, app is $2.99, browser is free, rhyming dictionary for lyrics
  • Clapping Music – iOS, free, tap along with Steve Reich’s Clapping Music (gamified)
  • GroupMuse – browser, iOS, free, social media app to host and attend classical chamber music house shows

6. Lead sheet resources

  • Scribd, MuseScore, Google Images

7. Pedals/Effects/VSTs

  • Ampkit – iOS, $19.99, hook your guitar into your iPad with the iRig for hundreds of pedals and amp modeling options
  • Tonestack – iOS, $4.99, with expansion packs up to $24.99, hundreds of pedals, amp sims, and heads
  • Cantabile – Windows, desktop app you can use for patches for your midi instrument (ex: Keyboard), $69 – $199
  • Apple MainStage 3 – iOS desktop only, $29.99, live stage performance app for iOS

8. Synths

  • MultiTone Generator – iOS, Android, free with $2.99 upgrade for all features, generate sine waves and adjust amplitude and frequency
  • iMini – Desktop avail for Windows and iOS, iPad app also available, $9.99, this is an app created by Arturia which looks, feels, and acts just like the infamous MiniMoog, AudioBus compatible

9. Looping

  • Loopy HD – iOS, $3.99, looper app, watch Jimmy Fallon’s demo on the tonight show
  • Garageband – iOS, free, use the live loops and record, also includes the Alchemy synth

10. Recording

  • Audiobus – iOS, $9.99, link your audio apps together to process and record, demo
  • Aurio Pro – iOS, $49.99, record up to 24 tracks, mix, master, and produce (DAW)

Deep Dive into Apps for Live Performance

  • Audio Interface setup 
  • Pedals
  • Live looping
  • Recording
  • Demonstration of synth apps and how to use them, including oscillators, filters, modulators, and internal effects

Resources: has tutorial videos and the Apps for Jazzers blog

Introduction to the Recording Arts by Shannon Gunn (198 page textbook) is on Amazon and provides a turn-key resource for educators, including chapters on the history of audio recording, physics of sound, microphones, PA systems, and basic electricity. Includes a curriculum, exercises and note-taking resources.


Shannon Gunn


@jazztothebone on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Tumblr

Shannon is available to do masterclasses and residencies at schools and universities.

Shannon Gunn and the Bullettes: 


Hailed by the Washington City Paper as “D.C.’s Best Trombonist 2015” and the DistrictNow Blog as “Best Trombonist 2017,”  DC based Shannon Gunn is known for her exceptional tone and her grandiose project-du-jour. She is currently the artist in residence on Tuesday nights at Columbia Station in Adams Morgan as leader of the “Firebird Organ Trio,” named “DC’s Best Small Ensemble 2016” by the Washington City Paper. She also runs DC’s premiere all-women jazz orchestra, “Shannon Gunn and the Bullettes,” including successful performances at the Kennedy Center, Castleton Theatre House, DC Jazz Festival, Washington Women in Jazz Festival, Takoma Park Jazz Festival, Jazz on Jackson Place, Westminster Jazz Night, Nomadic Jazz, Great Gatsby Inaugural Ball, Goethe Institute, National Jazz Workshop, Gallery O on H, Arts on the Avenue, Bohemian Caverns, and  Dardanella. As a member of the Bohemian Caverns Jazz Orchestra, she’s had the privilege of playing with notable artists such as Oliver Lake, Cheryl Bailey, Yotam Silverstein, Wycliffe Gordon, Ken Schaphorst, and for Miho Hazama. Additionally, as lead trombone player at Michigan State University, she played with Billy Taylor, Rodney Whitaker, and Marian McPartland. She earned her Masters of Music in Jazz Studies from George Mason University in Fairfax, Virginia and also attended James Madison University and Michigan State University for her music studies. She produced “The JazzCast,” a podcast dedicated to curated listening sessions with jazz musicians. In addition to the ensembles listed above, Shannon Gunn has performed with the Metropolitan Jazz Orchestra, Reunion Music Society, American Festival Pops Orchestra, Manassas Chorale, at various TV stations such as  DCTV, CBS Morning Show (local) in Richmond,  WJLA ABC in DC as part of the Gatsby Ball promo, and has subbed in with the DIVA! Jazz Orchestra for Maurice Hines’ “Tappin Thru’ Life” as well as subbed on tour with Monika Herzig. She resides in Virginia with her husband, Timothy, and her dog, Faith. Photo Credit Suzette Niess.

Apps for Jazzers 2019 Outline

Here is the outline I originally submitted for the JEN presentation on 1/11/19 at 6:00 PM in the Ruby Room:

Top 10 Apps Every Musician Should Have

1. Utilities (Metronome, tuner, iReal, iGigBook, payment apps, bank apps, scanning)

2. Sheet music/set lists, including sharing within a band

3. Notation

4. Transcribing

5. Band directing apps

6. Lead sheet resources

7. Pedals/Effects

8. Synths

9. Looping

10. Recording

Deep Dive into Apps for Live Performance

  • Audio Interface setup
  • Pedals
  • Live looping
  • Recording
  • Demonstration of synth apps and how to use them, including oscillators, filters, modulators, and internal effects

2019 – The Year of Apps in Browsers

Recently, I deleted Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter from my phone. I almost immediately felt a lift in spirit, and have not regretted it since. I still have the accounts, just deleted the app, that’s all.

First of all, the invasion of privacy is astounding. Pay close attention to your ads. Have you ever searched for that item? We all know our searches are tracked and then ads are targeted later. If you put an item in a shopping cart online, and then abort, you will get retargeting ads a few minutes later on Facebook.

What really concerns me are the ads for items I did *not* search for.  Our phones are listening and our conversations are constantly mined for “keywords.” Companies pay big money to drill down their advertisements to people talking about a problem they can solve. I’ve seen this happen on my own accounts with large ticket items. Try having a conversation around a few of the following topics, and then pay close attention to the ads you see on Instagram and Facebook. Say the following words aloud.

1. I want to switch careers. I wonder if it would be helpful to have an MBA. I wonder where I should get an MBA. I need figure out what I should do for my career… [keep going, make stuff up]

2. Let’s go on vacation. Hawaii? Costa Rica?

3. I need a new mattress…

4. Honey let’s buy a house

5. Need a new kitchen, bathroom, I need new windows

I would even go so far as to say that these high value keywords are still recorded when the phone is off.

(please note – I am not an expert, just describing what I’ve seen)

Try it!

It’s legal because we agree to this in the terms and conditions.

There is something about these social media apps that causes a bit of jealousy, especially seeing other musicians’ gigs. You might say, but you need social media as a musician? To promote gigs?

First of all, I’m not sure how useful social media is for promoting live shows. It can help propel the wave of marketing, but print and curated media is still king. I would question the effectiveness of social posts. I have seen one, maybe two people come out to a show because they saw a social post, per gig, but it’s never a huge impact.

Facebook Ads do work, but that’s not really a strategy I want to use, if I can help it. That’s more for venues and large orgs.

What posting really does is give cred amongst other musicians, and builds rapport. That’s musician-to-musician business, though, not musician to audience marketing. Musicians are watching each other – checking out new venues, looking for sessions, you know the drill. It’s good for the industry to see what you’re up to. You have to constantly feed your social network and fans with new music (videos, recordings, etc.)

So how does one continue to stay in the eyes and minds of the industry, without sacrificing self-confidence and “FOMOOG” (fear of missing out on gigs)?

The answer, my friend, is to push out social posts with apps in browsers. Simply open Safari or Chrome to the social media site of choice, post your selfie/video/text, and get out. Close the tab. You can post video and pictures to Facebook, and pictures only to Instagram. You can only use IG via browser on your phone, not the desktop. You can view and post to Twitter with your browser. The only one that has been sticky is Pinterest, they force you to open your recipe for the best chocolate brownies in the app. So download and then delete when done.

I am having difficulty deleting Facebook Messenger. I’m not seeing any ads, so I don’t think it’s tracking me (yet), but I’m not an expert. FB Messenger is the most reliable way to reach a lot of folks, and also gives me a way to book people I have met but don’t have their phone number.

Cut the endless scrolling, go get coffee with friends, and cut those social media strings!

Ah, where was I on Instagram stories?

Just kidding!!

By the way, everyone under 25 has figured this out. This post is for us old folks, millennials and older.

For Immediate Release: The 17th Annual Jazz4Justice Concert features a new partnership between George Mason University and Legal Services of Northern Virginia

George Mason University School of Music

featuring a new partnership between George Mason University
and Legal Services of Northern Virginia

Friday, November 16, 2018 at 8 p.m.
Hylton Performing Arts Center in Manassas

Saturday, November 17, 2018 at 8 p.m.
Center for the Arts in Fairfax

 (FAIRFAX)— George Mason University’s School of Music presents the 17th annual Jazz4Justice LIVE! concert and fundraiser on Friday, November 16 at 8 p.m. in the Hylton Performing Arts Center and Saturday, November 17 at 8 p.m. in the Center for the Arts. The events raise funds to directly support vital legal services and the George Mason University Jazz Studies program. Information and tickets are currently available at and

For the first time, Jazz4Justice™ is presented in partnership with Legal Services of Northern Virginia (LSNV), the largest legal aid organization in Northern Virginia. “We are looking forward to partnering with Jazz4Justice™ as well as the entire Mason community to promote justice for a better community by providing civil legal assistance to those facing the loss of a critical need,” affirmed Marcy Kossar, Director of Development for LSNV.

James Carroll, Professor of Jazz Studies and Mason Jazz Ensemble Director, has assembled a stellar musical program for the upcoming Jazz4Justice™ performances. He shared, “we are excited to feature alto saxophone virtuoso Charlie Young, Professor of Music at Howard University and leader/Artistic Director of the Smithsonian Jazz Masterworks Orchestra. Charlie is, absolutely without a doubt, ‘the best’. In addition, we will feature amazing student musicians and compositions from Mason’s Jazz Studies Department, and there will be an open jam session hosted by Mason students following each concert. We will also be producing a live recording of the concert. We truly hope local audiences and arts supporters can join us for this wonderful collaboration between Mason Jazz and the legal community.”

Tickets to Jazz4Justice™ at the Hylton Center are available in person at the Ticket Office (open Tuesday-Saturday 10 a.m.-6 p.m.), by calling at 703-993-7759, or at Tickets to the Center for the Arts’ concert are also available in at the Ticket Office (open Tuesday-Saturday 10 a.m.- 6 p.m.), by calling at 703-993 2787, or at

About Jazz4Justice

In 2000, Fairfax attorney Ed Weiner attended a student jazz recital. He was impressed by the music but distressed by the small audience. As the President of the Fairfax Law Foundation, he saw an opportunity for a new partnership – universities would provide the musical talent and the local legal community would provide the audience and sponsors. Today, Jazz4Justice concerts are held throughout the Commonwealth of Virginia. Thus far, Jazz4Justic has raised over $350,000 for music scholarships and an array of educational and charitable services benefiting Virginia’s local communities. Jazz4Justice has received awards from the American Bar Association and the Virginia State Bar.

About the School of Music

The Mason School of Music is part of the College of Visual and Performing Arts. Students study with nationally and internationally recognized faculty who are active performers, conductors, composers, music theoreticians, historians, and music teachers. Admission is based on acceptance to the university and audition. The music program is accredited by the National Association of Schools of Music (NASM).

About the College of Visual and Performing Arts

The College of Visual and Performing Arts (CVPA) provides an academic environment in which the arts are explored as individual disciplines and interdisciplinary forms that strengthen one another. The college prepares students for careers as creators, performers, teachers, scholars, arts leaders and arts entrepreneurs. Understanding that an education in the arts is deepened by regular contact with the work of distinguished visiting artists, the Center for the Arts, the professional presentation and production arm of the college, welcomes a variety of professional and world-renowned artists, musicians and actors to its stage. Students have the opportunity to perform, create and exhibit their work in a wide variety of public venues including a 2,000-seat Concert Hall. CVPA is home to the Schools of Music, Dance, Art and Theater, as well as the Computer Game Design, Arts Management, and Film and Video Studies programs.

About George Mason University

George Mason University is Virginia’s largest public research university. Located near Washington, D.C., Mason enrolls 35,000 students from 130 countries and all 50 states. Mason has grown rapidly over the past half-century and is recognized for its innovation and entrepreneurship, remarkable diversity and commitment to accessibility.

About Legal Services of Northern Virginia

Legal Services of Northern Virginia (LSNV), a private, not-for-profit organization, offers free legal services to low income individuals and families, seniors, veterans, people with disabilities and victims of domestic violence residing in Northern Virginia. With 7 offices located throughout the region, LSNV completed more than 6,000 cases in 2017 benefitting 15,000 individuals, providing assistance in the following substantive areas:

  • family law, focusing primarily on matters which include domestic violence
  • housing law which includes eviction and foreclosure prevention cases
  • consumer law
  • public benefits
  • veteran’s affairs
  • employment law
  • elder law
  • child advocacy
  • education law with a focus on children with special needs
  • HIV/AIDS Project

LSNV’s mission could not be accomplished without the generous support of the Northern Virginia community. We thank you for your support and invite you to learn more about how we benefit the community at

For Immediate Release: Amy Shook and the SR4tet to perform at the Hill Center, October 4th


















Hill Center at the Old Naval Hospital, 921 Pennsylvania Ave. SE, Washington, DC 20003


Media Contact: Burnett Thompson, 703-489-8704,

Premiere DC Bassist Amy Shook and the SR4tet to open the Street Scenes Concert Series at the Hill Center on October 4th, 2018

Performing New Originals and Old Standards With a Star Studded Cast

Washington, D.C. (September 9th, 2018) — Street Scenes at the Hill Center presents jazz bassist Amy Shook with the SR4tet on Thursday, October 4th, at 7:00 – 9:00 pm. Tickets are $18 in advance, $20 on the day of the performance and can be purchased online or at the door. Purchase tickets on InstantSeats at

The Shook/Russo Quartet, comprised of Amy Shook on bass, Pat Shook on tenor sax, Frank Russo on drums and Jonathan Epley on guitar, has been working together for nearly 13 years in the Baltimore/Washington, D.C. area. Their focus has always
been to compose and perform their own original music within the jazz idiom, honoring the masters by carrying on the tradition. The group has developed an incredible and unique sound by merging the diverse backgrounds of each of these fine musicians into one voice. The result is a whirlwind of grooves, melodies, and diverse textures that are a true delight to hear. Collectively, the members of the Shook/Russo Quartet have performed extensively throughout the United States, as well as performed in Canada, Mexico, Asia, Europe, and the Caribbean, and at festivals such as the Lionel Hampton Jazz Festival, the Ottawa Jazz Festival, the Stan Getz Jazz Festival, the Cape May Jazz Festival and the Mid-Atlantic Jazz Festival to name a few. For more information, please visit

“Amy Shook builds tension in her blues march groove to climax with the inclusion of the rhythm section and the harmonious horns that float, swirl, roll and boil to a gentle simmer, giving way to graceful poise…So Far From Home (Shook/Russo 4tet, Summit Records) should be in every straight-ahead, jazz lover’s house.” Paul J. Youngman,

Hill Center Street Scenes Concert Series

For a complete schedule and artist bios for the Hill Center Street Scenes Concert Series, curated by Burnett Thompson and Shannon Gunn, please visit Ensembles in residence at the Hill Center provide exquisite concert performances coupled with children’s programming in D.C. public schools. In its 7th season, the aim of the series is to bring the world’s rich musical universe to Capitol Hill and the wider Washington, D.C. community.

Street Scenes Concert Series:

October 4th, 2018: Amy Shook and the SR4tet
November 17th, 2018: Tom Teasley
February 14th, 2019: Sam Prather
March 27th, 2019: Washington Women in Jazz Festival
April 17th, 2019: Kris Funn and Cornerstore
May 15th, 2019: Monika Herzig’s SHEroes

Photo cut-line: Amy Shook and the SR4tet to perform at Street Scenes at Hill Center on Thursday, October 4th at 7:00pm.