Are you a musician who loves to play but struggles with practicing? Maybe you understand the basic concepts of effective practice but staying organized is challenging. It’s hard to focus on the music itself between the tuner, metronome, and your practice journal.
Or perhaps you love practicing but always seem to lose track of time or can’t stay focused. In other words, it’s challenging to identify your practice goals.
Maybe the entire concept of practice mystifies you a bit. I will be the first to raise my hand to that one!
Although I began playing piano at the age of 7 and continued through college, I struggled with practice. My sessions were inconsistent and sporadic. Despite having weekly lessons, I was always unsure how to effectively apply information from my lessons to the practice room.
Unfortunately, I was also too embarrassed to ask tough questions. The type of questions that would have transformed my concept of practice and elevated my playing.
Having a poor grasp on practice ultimately contributed to performance anxiety, frustration, and low self-confidence.
After college, I started getting serious about practice. I began searching for ways to practice more consistently and effectively. And my search eventually led to the Modacity app.
Read on for both my experience with and my review of the Modacity app.
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What is Modacity?
Modacity is an app designed to promote thoughtful practice over meaningless repetition.
You start by entering the names of pieces you’re working on into the app. The pieces can then be arranged into playlists. I’ve seen people organize playlists by upcoming audition, recital, or even according to the day of the week.
The act of creating a playlist fosters intention by allowing you to plan out your practice session in advance. You can set specific goals for each piece. And if you’re unsure of how to improve a piece, it gives you a wide range of suggestions to try.
The app also enables you to set a timer for each piece, so you know exactly when to move on.
Modacity allows you to save practice notes with each piece. It also provides convenient access to a metronome and tuner. The app then saves the settings under each piece so you can always pick up exactly where you left off.
The app also comes fully equipped with a recording feature that permanently saves recordings to the app.
One of my favorite features of the app is the practice counter. It adds up the number of consecutive practice days and total minutes spent practicing. It’s a highly motivating feature for those out there who find motivation in statistics.
Although there are ways to piece together the various elements of effective practice, there are no other apps out there quite like this one!
And to prove the point, let’s dive into principles of genuinely effective practice.
What are the principles of effective practice?
I’m fascinated with the topic of effective practice! And I’m passionate about unlocking the secrets of the most effective and efficient practice. How do musicians (or anyone else) improve at their craft and rise above the rest?
This question led me to a book called Peak: Secrets from the New Science of Expertise written by Anders Ericsson and Robert Pool. Ericsson spent his life pursuing that very question and documented his findings in the book.
And after researching the world’s best athletes, musicians, and memorizers, he had several striking revelations. One is the importance of deliberate practice.
In other words, simple repetition is not enough. When trying to improve at anything, you must have a deliberate plan for improvement. And ideally, the plan includes immediate feedback of attempts. At the bare minimum, deliberate practice consists of a shot at something, analysis of whether you hit the mark, and a plan to modify as needed.
The second striking revelation resulting from Ericsson’s research is that practice is anything but fun most of the time. Truly effective, meaningful practice is tedious and not inherently motivating.
And thirdly, excellence requires you to leave your comfort zone. You can’t expect to get different results from doing the same things you’ve always done.
How does Modacity support effective practice?
Although the topic of effective practice is enormous, let’s consider how Modacity fits into the above three principles.
Review of the Modacity app: Deliberate Practice
Effective practice requires a plan. It requires intention and a deliberate approach to improvement.
Through the creation of playlists, Modacity encourages you to make a practice plan. And it helps you move efficiently through the plan with the timer function.
The app also helps with feedback by encouraging you to record yourself. In other words, Modacity provides you with a framework for deliberate practice.
Review of the Modacity app: Practice is Tedious
Practice will never be exciting 100% of the time. Repetition can be monotonous. But Modacity encourages you to put thought into each repetition. It does this by providing you with ideas for positive change. The app then prompts you to consider whether you achieved your goal.
Modacity helps you avoid mindless repetition and keep things as efficient as possible by providing a framework for analysis.
And the practice counter gives you extra incentive to put in the practice time.
Review of the Modacity app: Leave Your Comfort Zone
If you’re stuck in a practice rut, Modacity helps you break free. It does this by combining a range of tools and concepts into one helpful app.
Similar to a new recipe for an old favorite, Modacity calls for a unique combination of flavors. It includes all the old ingredients but adds that little touch of something extra to spice things up.
The app invites you to consider practice from a new perspective. It proposes a thoughtful, deliberate approach to improvement over the black hole of mindless repetition that leads nowhere.
Are there drawbacks to using Modacity?
This review of the Modacity app wouldn’t be authentic without the addition of a few drawbacks. And the biggest one for me is the inability to export your recordings out of the app. Once you record something within the app, it’s stuck there.
I get around this by simultaneously recording practice sessions, complete with video, on my computer. Using both recording modalities offers the benefit of alternate feedback. The app is typically easier to use for immediate feedback on small chunks of music, such as one or two measures.
On the other hand, going back through and watching my entire practice session enables me to take a larger view of my sessions. It helps me determine whether I’m using time efficiently or whether my posture is relaxed.
Although slightly annoying, the inability to transfer recordings off the app isn’t a dealbreaker for me.
Another drawback I’ve heard about the app is the poor recording quality. My response to that is sound quality is only as good as the device on which you’re recording. If you’re looking for high quality, I suggest buying a microphone to sync with your computer rather than relying on Modacity. By doing so, you have the bonus of capturing both audio and video.
Again, in terms of forming the habit of listening back to yourself while practicing, this app can’t be beaten.
Click here for the affordable and effortless microphone I use.
Who should try the app?
I believe there is a wide range of musicians who would benefit from using Modacity. From beginning musicians learning how to practice effectively to adults struggling to grasp the concept of practice, there is value in this app.
Whether you are a high schooler preparing for a jazz band concert or an adult amateur serious about upping your piano game, this app is for you!
Is the app for a specific instrument?
Modacity is an app that can be used with a wide assortment of instruments. As mentioned above, it comes with a variety of built-in tools useful for an array of instrumentalists. The tool I use most frequently is the metronome which also can subdivide beats.
As a pianist, I don’t use the drone function, but I can see how it would be helpful for instruments that require tuning.
Beyond the tools are the features that promote effective practice and are beneficial to anyone.
Is there a cost to using the app?
One could categorize this next one as another drawback in this review of Modacity because there is an associated cost to using the app. On the other hand, I’ve had terrible experiences with free apps, so having an associated cost often means a higher value product.
Modacity offers a low monthly cost option. You could also snag this exclusive lifetime offer and waive the monthly fees. It’s a pretty sweet deal for such a transformative practice tool!
Is there access to an expert if I get stuck during my practice session?
Although the app itself cannot tell you whether you played something correctly, it does have access to expert musicians. I have yet to submit a question, but according to their website, you can ask general questions and expect feedback from someone knowledgeable in that area.
Are there similar music practice apps out there?
The short answer is that, yes, other music practice apps exist. Unfortunately, I had been searching long and hard for an app to promote better practice habits when I stumbled across Modacity.
That was over two years ago, and I still use the app daily. From the instant I downloaded Modacity, I recognized its value and never bothered to check out any other apps.
I was so impressed with the positive changes I saw in my practice sessions that several months ago, I became an affiliate partner with Modacity because I wanted to share the app with the world.
Although you could say I’m a bit biased, believe me when I tell you that I’ve never been more motivated to practice. And that includes my college years when I had access to the best practice and performance instruments out there. Not to mention a mountain of free time and very little daily responsibility.
It’s a huge accomplishment to be at a place where you prefer practice to Netflix and are seeing almost unbelievable results from your efforts. All thanks to a shift in practice mindset triggered by an app.
Review of the Modacity App: Additional Resources and Links
In summary, I hope you found this review of the Modacity app useful. If there are additional questions, please leave a comment below, and I’ll do my best to update this post accordingly.
I will leave you with a few additional resources to further your musical journey!
- Interested in learning to play piano as an adult? Check out this post.
- Curious about whether there are benefits to learning piano? Browse this post.
- Ready to leap into piano lessons? Read this post.
- Inspired to transform your habits? You’ll love this post.
- And don’t forget to take advantage of this exclusive offer from Modacity!