Your mom is tired of the same old chocolates, flowers, perfume, and household items that she gets for every gift giving occasion. Music is her true passion, but the music industry is a tough nut to crack, with the Bureau of Labor Statistics reporting that 176,200 professional musicians and singers were in the field in 2012.
She might already be set in her own career, but there’s plenty of applications out there to help her achieve her music composition dreams on the weekends. Music composition applications are available on a variety of platforms, with options that are accessible by the beginner, but offers features for more advanced users as she gains experience.
Caustic 3 has an interface set up similar to synthesizers and samplers, so if you’re looking to get your mom from app to actual equipment, this is a great way to go. It supports 2 effects per machine track, has global effects, provides automation tools, and accepts input from outside WAV files. It’s also compatible with USB MIDI devices. It costs $9.99 from the Google Play store.
Symphony Pro brings music composition to your iPhone for $9.99. When you have the perfect song idea while you’re on the go, it’s not always enough to fire up the voice recorder and hope you remember it when you get back to your computer. Symphony Pro allows you to begin your composition right from your smartphone, with keyboard, guitar, and bass guitar instrument options that transcribe into a score. You have access to 114 instruments in total, with compositions that support 15 instruments at a time with 45 staffs. It’s compatible with Airplay, so you stream the composition to compatible devices to share your work, according to its iTunes Store page.
Tablets get a lot of use in the music world, so it’s no surprise that they also have access to powerful music composition apps. If you’re getting your mom a tablet, or she’s already carrying one around, get at least one of the many options for music composition and mixing on it. Notion is a touch-controlled iPad app, available for $14.99, which makes composing a user friendly experience. One particularly noteworthy feature is that the samples used for your audio come straight from the London Symphony Orchestra. If you’ve ever wanted to hear a high end orchestra playing your music, this is the less time consuming way than going through music school. It’s compatible with MusicXML, or you go through the score setup wizard to get started on your music. It creates sheet music or Notion files to share with fellow music lovers.
If one of your gift ideas for Mom includes a laptop, take a look at musical composition tools that aren’t as demanding on the computer’s resources. Sibelius 7 is designed to be accessible for a wide range of musicians, from beginning students to professional composers. The interface is designed around tasks, so you’re walked through the composing process step by step. It has 38 gigs of professionally recorded audio samples to give your score the high end feel it deserves. Some music notation software is designed with the assumption that you’re using two or more monitors. Sibelius is designed specifically for single monitor setups, so you don’t have to plug an external monitor into your laptop to make it easy to use. Sibelius 7 costs $599.95, according to Sibelius.com, but if you’re an avid music composer, it grows with you as your skill level increases.
Mac computers have access to any PC program if you use Bootcamp, which boots you into a Windows operating system environment. If you prefer to stick with OSX, or you don’t have an Intel-based Mac compatible with Bootcamp, GarageBand has you covered. This software covers every part of music creation that you could possibly want, with an interface that has a bit of a learning curve but seems like second nature once you’re used to it. You have a full sound library, presets galore, and the ability to share your songs. This software is free and available for OS X 10.9 and higher.