Practice scales and chords in Piano Scales & Jam Free

Learn scales and chords on your tablet or just jam and record the results.

The iPad is a perfect device for piano training. It is compact, easy to mount near or at the piano, and contains countless apps for practicing and training with scales or chords. So does Piano Scales & Jam Free provide enough features and an intuitive enough design to be useful for someone learning the piano, or is it yet another simple scale trainer like so many others in the App Store? It falls somewhere in between.

Piano Scales & Jam Free is simple at first glance. When you open the app you can choose to either practice scales as outlined in the app or "jam," which allows you to practice on an open keyboard with the keys highlighted. Of course, there are some limitations. To start, there is the size of the keyboard. By providing a full-size keyboard, the app allows only 40 percent of it to be visible at any time. There is a very useful slider at the top that allows you to change which part of the keyboard is visible, but it still limits the chords you can play. Additionally, the menus are not marked and there are few indicators when practicing scales. You still need to know the keys for any given chord. However, the ability to record your playing and share it with others is a very useful feature, and one that other apps don't always provide.

Piano Scales & Jam Free offers enough unique features and a very responsive keyboard that it's worth recommending, but only for intermediate piano students. Beginners will want something more rudimentary with better hands-on teaching tools. For advanced players, a more robust keyboard and composition tool are needed. However, if you fall into the middle range, familiar with the piano but not a master of it, Piano Scales & Jam Free is a solid free app to help you practice your instrument.

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