5 best apps for drummers on iOS and Android (2022 update)

08.05.2022 Ben Maloney Drums

The nkoda blog continues its 2022 series of app countdowns by turning to the wonderful world of drumming apps. This is another densely populated region in the broader music-app market, with abdunance fuelled by the high demand for digital drumming services. 

From metronomes to virtual kits, BPM-detectors to sheet-music libraries, there’s a massive array of options available to the drummer looking to improve with the help of software. This article presents some of the best app solutions that that spread has to offer. 


Five best drumming apps



Best app for drum sheet music


Many drummers don’t rely on sheet music. They’ll settle in naturally to the ensemble that they’re in, supplying and embellishing the right sort of beats, adopting a more improvisatory approach. But those that do learn particular pieces and parts won’t find a better digital resource for that material than nkoda.

It’s a digital sheet music library, and it could reinvent the relationship that you have with your drumming charts. nkoda delivers its service through two separate apps: the library app, where you’ll find your content, and a score-reader that enables you to interact with this material digitally, in a cutting-edge format.  

The library offers instant access to the digitised, copyrighted catalogues of nkoda’s 140 publishing partners, a group including major providers of drum sheet music, like Faber Music and Real Drum Charts. With an nkoda subscription, the entirety of the app library will be made available to you, which incidentally goes far beyond drum music alone. 

The reader is the means to engage with this content, which you can of course do anytime and anywhere. It offers an interface that makes the handling of digital material completely intuitive. Here you can organise, annotate, and share nkoda’s titles - or your own unlimited uploads - with other users. All in your very own digital music hub.

This is a brand-new way to find, store, manage and play your drum music. You can start a free trial now - the library can be downloaded from the App Store, Google Play Store and the Microsoft Store. Click here to download the reader, which requires no subscription to use.




Here you can glean the main features that the apps offer. Bullet-point lists of features are also provided for the other four apps that we're looking at. Use these lists to quickly ascertain the unique selling points of each app.

  • Instant access to 140 publishers’ sales and hire catalogues, comprising 100,000+ editions and parts
  • Material available for drummers of all skill levels and styles 
  • Innovative score-reading facilities suitable for practice and performance, including annotation toolkits and widgets  
  • Manage and share personal materials through playlists, offline storage and unlimited uploads
  • Access to a thriving global community of pianists and other musicians, as well as publishers, educational institutions and performing institutions


nkoda library


Let’s get a bit more specific regarding how nkoda can enhance your drumming. First, the content, which immediately offers a solution to any troubles that you’ve had when it comes to tracking down drum sheet music. 

nkoda’s drum music spans a range of genres, styles and skill levels. You’ll find playbooks for beginners as well as pieces for advanced players - and plenty for intermediates, too. Regardless of the level you’re at, and of what you like to play, you’ll find plenty here that aligns with your preferences. 

Whatever you select, you can save to your personal space in the library app. Here you organise your materials, create playlists, and upload limitless - seriously - PDF files. So even if something you’re looking for can’t be found in the library, you can still bring it in from elsewhere. 


nkoda reader


Click on a title and you’ll be seamlessly directed to the nkoda reader app, through which you actually view the content. It’s here that you can annotate, play or perform your drum music - whether that’s the library's own material or one of your personal uploads. 

nkoda’s own e-reader offers numerous special features: an ergonomic user interface, easy Bluetooth-friendly page-turning, pioneering new annotation tools that can be layered and shared, a specialised performance mode, and offline storage. The nkoda reader strives to simplify and improve every facet of your interaction with your drum music.

Customisation is a major part of the experience. Not only can you annotate freely with the help of specialised toolboxes and widgets, but you can also add them to and remove them from a personal kit. This means that you can add drum-specific presets to your music. You can also configure the screen orientation, so you can view your music in the way that best suits you. 

Having an independent e-reader app has allowed nkoda to specialise and optimise this software. But another reason for the split between library and reader is so that users can utilise the latter’s tech without a subscription to the catalogue. In other words, it’s free.

Although the library is the heart of nkoda’s service, the reader is what will really empower you. This is what will play the most active part in your drumming. So don’t be deterred by the library subscription - nkoda can still help. Download the reader, get a feel for what the app can offer, and see if this is a digital space that you might be comfortable in.

Drum School

Best app for drum tuition


Few apps offer such detailed, useful support in learning to play an instrument as Drum School does. This is nothing less than a portable, pocket-sized drum tutor, and its lessons are impressively insightful, high-tech and most importantly effective.  

Once upon a time, the Drum Guru app dominated in this arena. But recently the software was bought out by Hudson Music, and is no longer available on app stores. The move left Apple and Android app-users out in the cold, but Drum School has admirably stepped up to the mark, filling the void in the drum-education market.   

Billing itself as a groove library and drum-learning tool, the app enables players to read, hear and learn a dictionary’s worth of diverse rhythmic patterns - grooves, exercises and practice ideas. 

Interactive technology allows you to work through these units yourself, to commit beats to memory, develop your skill, and understand the theory behind it all. Specialised features also help you to focus on particular technical areas.

Drum School is downloadable from both the App Store and Google Play. Note the ratings, even the lower of which is still an impressive 4.5/5.




  • 300+ set drum grooves in various styles, notated and recorded - these can be looped and played back at a range of tempi, and each limb’s part can be isolated
  • Fills can also be learned, individually or in conjunction with the grooves
  • 145 drum exercises presented in a similar format, including rudiments, rolls, flams, drags, hand and coordination exercises
  • 12 video demonstrations of basic drum technique for hands and feet, with each video accompanied by a description and learning tips  




The groove package is no doubt the heart of the service, and the developers have made it that because it’s probably going to be the most useful feature for most drummers. 

There are over 300 patterns here, which is a huge tally, and they span a range of genres, time signatures and technical styles. By working through them you’ll gain a broad and rounded experience, develop your ability comprehensively and get guidance for your own beats. 

And the working-through process is flexible, intuitive and rewarding. Drum School was developed by Ferenc Nemeth, a world-class drummer, and it shows. Knowing exactly what drummers need and want to work on, he has developed a range of features that will streamline your interaction with these grooves.

Depicted in notation, they can be sounded, looped and played along to at a range of tempi. You can isolate the audio for each limb, allowing you to hone component parts and combine them as you like, before restoring the full groove. They also come with verbal breakdowns, tips and historical contexts, and you can even add fills to the loop. 




The second-most fundamental aspect of the app’s offering is the practice section, which focuses less on learning established patterns and more on developing particular facets of drumming technique. The method is similar, however.

Like the 300 grooves, there are 145 practice exercises which, as outlined above, are divided into basic rudiments, rolls, flams, drags, hand and coordination exercises. Again, these are written out in notation for you to follow. All the notation is of excellent quality, and can be set in landscape or portrait orientation. 

Similarly, the exercises are sampled for play-along practice, and the BPM can be adjusted without compromising the audio quality - which is frequently an issue when it comes to shifting tempo. Left- and right-hand parts can be segregated and there are also video demonstrations and background theory for each exercise. 

This kind of support will help you to identify and work on particular areas of drumming, while helping you improve overall as a player. And crucially, with its graded grooves and exercises, the app will prove useful for drummers of all abilities. So whatever you play and however good you already are, you should definitely give this one a go.    

iDrumTune Pro

Best app for tuning drums


There are a fair few tuning apps designed for the drummer specifically, but a quick glance at their ratings reveals at best a lack of consensus as to which are the front-runners, at worst a lack of quality.

With the exception of Drum Tuner - iDrumTune Pro, that is, which is all but certainly the most refined piece of drum-tuning tech that you can download to your phone. Many are not willing or able to make that exception, however, in light of the 7.99 price tag and the lack of an Android counterpart. But if you have an iPhone or iPad, and are willing to part ways with some cash for a perfect tuning solution, this is without question that solution.

It’s directed towards not only helping you to get your kit in the best possible shape, but also educating you in the ways of tuning - something that mystifies and even completely deters many drummers.  




  • Variety of tuning devices for all your drumming needs, including pitch, lug and resonant head modes 
  • Spectrum analyser allows you to map and understand the full sonic complexion of each part of your kit
  • Manual and online course will help you to understand the science and method behind drum-tuning
  • Save and share your favourite tuning settings as presets 


Tuning modes


Using its unrivalled acoustic-analysis technology, the iOS app captures the full spectrum of your drum sound. It then calculates the precise action you need to take in order to reach the desired or optimal tuning setup for each drum, and ultimately get your kit sounding as good as it can. 

As any drummer knows, this process has a range of dimensions. Accordingly the app has developed a range of tuning modes that see to each of these aspects.

The core pitch-tuning enables you to establish whichever tone you’re looking for - ‘high and tight or low and powerful’ - on your specific equipment. Lug-tuning facilitates even tensioning of the drum head, causing the drum to decay smoothly. Finally, the resonant head-tuner sees to the resonant drumhead, ensuring sympathy between drumheads and sonic overtones.         

By utilising each of these modes when setting up your kit, you can guarantee that your drumming will sound better than ever.




iDrumTune offers both a substantial manual on the mechanics of drum-tuning as well as an online course on the same subject, allowing you to get to grips with the parameters of drum-tuning and the science behind it, and thus get the very best out of the iDrumTune experience - and your instrument in turn. 

It’s no use having this excellent piece of software if you don’t understand how to use it properly, and that’s where these support resources come in. They’re a must if you’re serious about polishing your sound, and especially if you’re interested in recording techniques and/or sound engineering. Yet more gear from iDrumTune that will take your playing to the next level.

Real Drum

Best app for virtual drumming


For drummers and non-drummers alike, the virtual kit is one of the most popular categories of drumming apps. Some users like to construct beats on the go, some want a realistic-sounding digital resource to record with or play along to, while others simply want to vent their drumming impulses.

They’re such a valuable piece of tech precisely because a drum set is one of the most notoriously unwieldy and difficult-to-transport of all instruments. Having an entirely portable alternative is gold dust, pure and simple.

So you’ve been convinced that you need one. As for which one you need, well, it simply has to be Real Drum, available on Google Play and the App Store

Not only does it offer slick and realistic digital renderings and a comprehensive and intuitive piece of software, but it has a distinctive flair that really sets it apart from its competitors. Let’s get into it.




  • Studio-quality digital simulation of the drumming experience, allowing you to play, learn and practise at any time
  • A wide range enables you to explore a range of sounds and musical styles
  • Multitouch software, recording mode and loops to play along to
  • Customise your pads with images and sounds, making for a drumming experience that’s unique to you  


Expansive drumming


As far as free virtual-drumming apps go, none offers the sheer range of playing options that Real Drum can boast. Continuously adding brand-kit combinations to the app, the developers provide their users with a voluminous drumming armoury that is constantly growing. 

So regardless of the kind of drummer you are or the style you’re looking to emulate, you’re guaranteed to find at least a handful of sets here that render the digital drumming experience that you’re after. Few apps can match this depth and variety.

Each of these bespoke kits offers not only crisp audio samples that are tailored to specific genres (punk, hip hop, military, anime - the list goes on) but also visuals that reflect the aesthetic of that genre - a really nice touch. Many will justifiably be looking for the sound only, but this nonetheless makes for more immersive interaction with the app.


Quality tech


Underpinning this drumming breadth is exceptional software that ensures realism and reliability while offering a wide range of handy utilities. In other words, alongside the diverse and accurate rendering of drum sounds, the app offers the tools that maximise the effectiveness and value of your virtual drumming.

A responsive interface and multitouch technology serves to approximate the real thing. The super loops that you can play along to give you templates that direct and maximise your practice. And recording mode allows you to construct and keep track of all your grooves, which you can then export as MP3 files.

Finally, although Drum School may offer educational resources that are more extensive, Real Drum still offers a series of highly valuable drum lessons that will optimise your app handling and help you to translate that into real-world drumming ability. 

Real Drum is a quality, versatile and accessible digital-drumming resource, a must-have for anyone that relishes the simple pleasure of hearing those drums and cymbals sing.

The Metronome

Best metronome for drummers


No list of drumming resources would be complete without a metronome. It’s a simple tool but an essential one, and accordingly there are again numerous results that an app-store search for metronomes will return.

Wade through the noise to find The Metronome by Soundbrenner, the solution that will meet your needs with minimal fuss and maximum return - available on Android and iOS. It’s the highest-rated and most frequently used metronome app in the world, and for good reason.

In short, it does the bare essentials extremely well, there’s a range of subtle extra features that you never knew you needed, and there are certain aspects of its service that are especially useful for drummers.




  • Metronome with adjustable BPM, time signature, beat subdivision, accents and anacrusis
  • Select from 20 metronome sounds for the perfect click, choose between dark and light themes, and add visual cues such as camera flash
  • Setlist manager enables you to save and play out metronome settings for multiple songs in sequence
  • Ergonomic, minimalist design that can be counted on in performance 


Comprehensive metronome


A metronome is one of those devices that shouldn’t really be too snazzy. It should do the basics, well and reliably. Without a doubt, Soundbrenner’s metronome achieves this. 

Bread-and-butter features have been realised with accuracy, simplicity and panache. Of course you can adjust BPM and time signature, but you can also set metric subdivisions, shift beat accents and even add a count-in. You can do this quickly and easily, and the app can be fully depended on to realise any and all instructions - nothing less than compulsory for any metronome.

But the software comes with a range of extra features that flesh out the service nicely. Some are to do with customisation. Switch between light and dark modes to suit your playing, for example - the latter can come in handy in performance. You can also pick your click from 20 different options.

Especially useful for drummers are the visual cues - display and camera flashes. So it’s no longer an issue that the click is entirely drowned out by your thunderous drumming.   


Setlist manager


Perhaps the most inspired added feature is the setlist manager. In performance it’s always a bother having to adjust settings between numbers, but that’s just yet another problem that Soundbrenner has identified and solved.  

The setlist manager is a truly inspired feature. It allows you to save and queue metronome settings for all your tunes - tempo, time signature, accents - and then play through them one after the other in performance.

This really is an invaluable tool for drummers. Metric responsibilities mostly rest on their shoulders, and adjusting settings between songs on a smartphone or tablet in the tight space behind a kit can be an ordeal. The Metronome really is the complete package - you need look no further in this department.

Getting started with nkoda app for drummers


If nkoda caught your eye as an option that might enhance your drumming experience, you can visit the What is nkoda music page to find out more about the app. Alternatively, you can start a free trial right away through the sign-up page before downloading the app from the App Store, Google Play or the Microsoft Store.

There’s also a handful of drum-related articles here on the blog for your pleasure. Learn to read drum notation with the how to read drum sheet music or check out the top-ten pieces: easy drum songs, hardest drum songs, best drum songs and best drummers. Whatever you need to level-up your musicianship.

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