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Sal Peralta

Product Review: Anytune & Anytune Pro+

March 16, 2013 at 4:06 PM

Over in the "How do you use Technology?" discussion thread, I mention an app that I have found helpful as a Suzuki parent. I thought it would be a good one to discuss for my next product review, so here goes:

Anytune and Anytune Pro+ are apps that allow iPhone and iPad users to take songs from their iTunes and slow them down, break them into segments, and loop through either the song or the segment, repetitively.

These apps are available through the App store for free, and for $19.99, respectively. Anytune also has a customer support app that i have not tried.

The simplest features... those that allow the user to slow down a song can be used right away by anyone who is tech savvy enough to use a dvd player. The slowdown comes at some minor expense of sound quality on the free version but the pitch remains correct.

The more complex features, such as looping pieces; breaking songs into segments and looping the segments; or the step-it-up" trainer are only marginally more complicated, but still simple to use.

My favorite use for the app is to practice the "Violin Hero" method of practice.

This is a practice method in which I put the earbuds in and the mute on my violin. Using the "step-it-up trainer" feature available on the Pro+ version, or just doing it manually on the free version, I start my practice (usually with the sheet music on the stand) at a low rate of speed, (i.e., 50%) and work up to a faster rate of speed through a predetermined number of loops (say 10-15) and try to keep up. Before and after, I play the piece and see what it sounds like and whether there is any improvement.

I typically only use this method on songs with sections that I find particularly difficult. The key is to be able to hear enough of your violin to get immediate feedback relative to the recording without overwhelming the recording.

I start using the "beginner" method using the Suzuki books (the cd's of which, I have loaded into iTunes) with William Preucil playing the violin part. As I develop proficiency, I "graduate" to doing the same parts at higher rates of speed playing along with the piano part only.

The free app works fine, but there are a limited number of times you can use it to mark segments of songs before it forces you to upgrade. At $19.99, Anytune Pro+ is a little on the spendy as iPhone apps go, but well worth the price, and the free Anytune app is well worth downloading and trying to see if it is something that you find helpful.

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