colorful_musical_notesI’ve been wanting to compile a list of useful and free-to-use programs for the music teachers with “little-to-no budget” for some time now…  With the start of the school year upon us -I guess there is no better (or no more!) time to accomplish this! 

I’ve tried to include a number of programs that comprise most of the “sub-disciplines” of the field of music.  In addition to trying to post direct links to the most current versions of the software in each category, I’ve also tried to include at least one program from each of the major operating systems (Mac, Windows, Linux).   Please feel free to add to the list in the comment section below.

The following is a brief (but current) compilation of downloadable programs that can be acquired for “no cost” and are easily implemented into the classroom (or any teaching) environment:

Audio Editing:

Audacity (Mac, Windows, Linux) : Great cross-platform audio editor

Wavosaur (Windows): Very good sound editor with VST support

Ear Training:

Aquallegro (Mac): Aural Skills Trainer

Function Ear Trainer (Windows): Great Basic Ear Trainer

Function Ear Trainer, Advanced (Windows): Advanced Ear Trainer

Function Ear Trainer will run on Linux using Wine (many other PC programs may also run on Linux with this program)

GNU-Solfege (Windows): Excellent open-source Solfeggio program

Early Music Instruction (Kids’ Stuff):

Boom (Mac and Windows): Create boom whacker compositions

Drums Around the World (Mac and Windows): Pictures and sound clips

Krank & Lucy (Mac and Windows): Practice note name recognition

Music Notes in Space (Windows): Shooter space game that teaches visual note durations

MyJamz: (Mac and Windows): Compose music…pick an instrument and click record!

Play It By Ear (Windows):  A very early Ear Trainer

Rhythm Blocks (Mac and Windows): Use colorful blocks to work with Rhythm dictation

Sheet Music Treble and Bass Cleff (Windows): Learn how to read music step by step

Staff Wars (Mac & Windows): Practice your note reading skills in treble and bass clef

Jazz Related Programs:

Guitar Chords (PDF): An exhaustive list of guitar chords

Impro-Visor (Mac, Windows, Linux):  FANTASTIC program for jazz musicians -helps compose and learn solos.

JAM (Windows): Input chords as text and listen to the progression

Looping/Audio Mixing:

trakAxPC (Windows): Fantastic free audio loop music/video mixing software and more

Lyrics/Song Writing:

Verse Perfect (Windows): Song writing/rhyming made easy!


Metronome (Mac): Basic Metronome

TempoPerfect Metronome (Windows): Advanced Metronome


MuseScore (Mac, Windows, Linux): No doubt the best, free notation program.

MIDI Sequencing:

Anvil Studio (Windows): Multi-Track MIDI sequencing at no cost.

MusE (Linux): Audio/Midi Sequencer for Linux

Music Theory:

Ricci Adam’s Music Theory.Net Offline Edition (Everything): The entire Music Theory.Net site packaged for offline viewing in any web browser!


AP Tuner (Windows): Chromatic Tuner

Classic Guitar Tuner (Mac): Guitar Tuner

String Tuner (Mac & Windows): Basic tuner for strings.

Virtual Pianos:

MidiPiano (Windows): Great Virtual Piano with many MIDI options

Virtual MIDI Piano Keyboard (Mac, Windows, Linux): GREAT GNU virtual piano with lots of functions.

I hope you find something to use and enjoy!


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