Drum Genius is an app that I have been using for a few years, and I think that it is one of the best practice tools that is available. Essentially, it is a metronome, but functions with drum loops.
I use this app both in my practicing, and composing.
For my own practice, I like working out ideas with the drums as the only rhythm section instrument – I feel like it allows me to focus on the melodic and rhythmic content of the idea, and not be tied to my harmonic tendencies. I also find that it allows me to dig in to the beginnings of my phrases, and the overall phrase length – where I’m starting, and where I’m ending.
The app has 500 loops available, ranging from swing, pop, world beats, and odd-metered grooves. Each of these are customisable in tempo, but also pitch, and there is a “Metrogenius” function, that allows me to take a specific rhythm, and adjust it to fit my needs.
This applies to my composing as well. It’s been an extremely useful tool to set a groove, and work out a bass line, or develop a melody with a beat that I have in mind. It has also made me think of the way that I write drum parts – I’ve become more specific on what I want to convey to the drummer.
Have you ever used Drum Genius? Or another drum app?