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  • Writer's pictureKate Brunotts

7 Ways To Use Your Phone To Make Music: Best Gear For The Mobile Musician

Updated: Oct 20, 2021

We’re lucky enough to live in an age where just about anyone can be a producer. As long as you have a computer, phone, or tablet, you can start making your own beats. The playing field is more level than ever too-- Production giants like Steve Lacy have produced plenty of music on his iphone alone, busting the myth that great music couldn’t be created without a traditional DAW.

Today, we’ll dive into 7 ways you can use your phone to make music. We’ll also detail some of the best apps to have in your arsenal to start building beats while on the go. Let’s jump into it!

How To Use Your Phone To Make Music

Without further ado, here are some of the best ways to make the most out of your phone while making music. Whether you want to be partially or fully mobile, there's something out there for every musician.

  1. Leverage your phone's recording capabilities.

  2. Turn your phone into an interface or amplifier.

  3. Use your phone as MIDI controller.

  4. Use a mobile DAW.

  5. Try out a mobile synthesizer.

  6. Collaborate with other artists.

  7. Build a strong community around your music.

1. Turn Your Phone Into A Sampler

On the most basic level, your phone is a mobile recording device. While this is fairly obvious, don’t overlook the power of this feature alone. Your voice memos application can be used to record scratch melodies, demos, or even rhythmic ideas before you’re able to translate them over to your DAW. You can also use your phone to take field recordings of anything and everything and create ultra-unique samples that cost nothing more than your time.

Speaking of sampling, you can go a step further and load or process your phone-recorded samples without having to move to another workstation. Check out AKAI’s iMPC series to craft and edit your samples in the classic MPC interface from your phone or tablet (not to mention, it’s a much more financially-friendly option at $24.99 compared to the hardware MPC starting at $799).

2. Create the Lightest Amp in the History of Amps

Thanks to iRig, you can use your phone as a complete DAW and record your guitar directly into your phone with apps like Garageband or any compatible iRig apps. You can pick up a micro amp for extra playing power, but the classic iRig is enough to serve as a portable audio interface for mobile music making.

The interface makes it easy for you to plug in headphones or external sound devices through an aux channel, you can shred your face off without waking up your roommates at 2 AM.

3. Turn Your Phone Into A MIDI Controller

If you’re tired of stuffing your awkwardly-shaped MIDI controller into your bag, I’ve got great news for you. Our beloved Controlla makes it easy for you to automate anything in your DAW using your phone as an intuitive controller. You can easily take your beats from novice to pro by using Controlla to add organic automation to your tracks in a matter of seconds.

The beauty of Controlla is that you can use it for just about anything, from remixes to building engaging transitions to your song. Did we mention it’s free? You can apply for our private alpha below. This is also just the beginning- the team is working tirelessly to make tools for the mobile musician so stay tuned.

4. Become a Fully Mobile Musician

The era of the fully mobile musician is here. Your phone is now your full-service DAW, so long as you have the right apps. It’s worth checking out Beatmaker, Cubasis, FL studio mobile and GarageBand. These might seem a bit pricey for an iPhone or Android app, but they’re an amazing value for what you’re getting. Mobile DAWs allow you track songs without depending on a computer, making them great for mobile production, drafting out demos, or serving as your full blown production studio.

5. Seek Out the Synths

There’s no way around it-- Synthesizers can be criminally expensive. Luckily, your can turn your phone into a synthesizer at a fraction of the cost. These tools are great for the mobile producer or any beatmaker who wants to load up a high quality synth without emptying out their wallet.

A few standouts include Arturia iMini, Nave’s mobile wavetable synth, KORG’s iMS-20, or Moog’s Animoog. Each of these synths are incredibly versatile and are sure to add a lot of flavor to your beats inside and outside of the app. Some of the synth’s include a beatmaking interface as well, so you can flesh out ideas before moving to your mobile or desktop DAW. You can easily export your synth sounds from the application or record them directly into you DAW by connecting your phone to your computer.

6. Collaborate

Whether you need some extra inspiration or just want to create some unique tunes with other artists, your phone can serve as the perfect collaboration tool. MayKit is an up and coming app that allows seasoned musicians and newbies alike to collaborate on tracks.

It’s invite-only for now, but the same goes for the “duet” feature on Tiktok-- Your phone serves as a connection hub to other musicians and sounds. A simple duet could easily lead to a full blown collaborative release, so it’s definitely worth experimenting with. Other options include Collab or VERCE which are 100% free.

7. Build Your Fanbase

Part of making your music is marketing it. Not every musician enjoys the networking that’s an essential part of the industry, but your phone certainly makes it a lot easier. You can use apps like Apple Music for Artists and Spotify for Artists to start understanding where your fans come from and what sounds they’re resonating with.

From there, you can always hop on social media to expand your network and find potential fans. You can also use tools like Vampr, Jammcard, and Bandscape to start meeting other musicians in your area.

As you can see, there are plenty of ways to use your phone to make music. This is only the beginning, so definitely check out these mobile music making apps to be on the cutting edge for what’s next in the industry. Happy beatmaking!

What’s your favorite way to use your phone in your beats? Do you have a favorite music mobile app? We’d love to hear all about it in the comments below!

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