Five Apps for the Busy Freelancer

by Marina Krickler

Marina Krickler is a sought-after musician and educator throughout New England. Hailed for her “soaring… warmly played” solos (Boston Classical Review), she performs extensively with many of the region’s ensembles.
Currently Fourth Horn with the Plymouth Philharmonic Orchestra and the Atlantic Symphony Orchestra, she has also performed with A Far Cry, the Canadian Opera Company, and the Vermont Symphony Orchestra. In addition, she has appeared with the period ensemble Grand Harmonie. Ms. Krickler is the co-founder of Andromeda Quintet, a brass chamber ensemble dedicated to creating adventurous listening experiences for audiences of all ages. Her recent solo work includes performances with Haffner Sinfonietta, and Symphony Nova.

See the end of this post for a longer bio.

As someone who’s primarily self-employed, I’m always looking for ways to improve the quality and quantity of my work. Whether that means making more efficient progress in the practice room, becoming a better educator, or balancing an often-unbalanced lifestyle, here are my top 5 app picks: 

1. TonalEnergy Tuner

Image from 148Apps

Everyone has been singing the praises of TE Tuner – it was voted one of the top 5 tuner apps by Bulletproof Musician readers – and I’m going to add myself to the chorus. I love this app, and the recent updates have only made it a more potent tool. Here are a few of my favorite features:

  • Toggle between equal and just temperaments, or create your own temperament system.
  • Adjust the pitch standard to A = whatever you need: 442, 430, 415, etc. This is extremely helpful for period instrument work.
  • Select between 4 different difficulty levels, which narrow or widen the range of what the app will consider in-tune. Easier settings are perfect for students, and they love the confused and/or happy face depending on whether or not they’re in tune!
  • Analyze the waveform and/or plot the pitch of the note you’re holding. Note shapes and articulations become more than just an abstract concept.

Cost: $3.99
Platforms: Apple and Android

2. GarageBand

Image from Macworld

A colleague introduced me to this app as a way to get high quality recordings without setting up extra equipment. I use it both in my own practice sessions and in students’ lessons to give them something to model, especially if their particular piece or etude hasn’t been recorded. The user interface on an iPhone isn’t particularly intuitive – you’ll need to turn off the metronome, and take the default length limiter off before using it. Once you’ve done that, the default instrumental settings result in a pretty decent-sounding recording. I’ve only scratched the surface of what the software can do – I’d love to learn how to make multi-track recordings, and find other creative ways to use it.

Cost: Free
Platform: Apple only, unfortunately

3. Headspace

Image from 148apps

Headspace is a much-lauded meditation and mindfulness app. After completing a 30-day foundation course, you have access to an extensive library of topics. You can select from Packs, Singles, or Minis, and sessions range from as short as 2 minutes to up to 60 minutes long. I found the sport packs particularly relevant to audition preparation, including topics like analysis, motivation, training, and competition.

Cost: Free trial available, with monthly, yearly, and lifetime paid subscriptions available
Platforms: and free apps for Apple and Android

4. Breathe2Relax

Image from 148Apps

This app was introduced to me by performance psychologist Dr. Marla Zucker. Deep breathing helps to regulate the parasympathetic nervous system – this article from Psychology Today explains why this is important. The app allows you to shorten or lengthen the inhale and exhale to find a rate that’s optimal for you. Regular deep breathing helps the body stay productive and calm in stressful situations, and in freelance life those can be plentiful. While a longer 10 or 15- minute session is ideal, even just a few cycles of breathing help me to regain my equilibrium on a tough day.

Cost: Free
Platforms: Apple and Android

5. Strava

Image from 148Apps

I am a big believer in maintaining good overall fitness to improve musical performance. Brass- playing is inherently physical, and staying in shape allows me to keep my energy levels up while meeting the athletic demands of the instrument. It also helps me counteract the many hours of sitting inherent to what we do: rehearsals, teaching, and long drives. Strava is a GPS activity tracker for running, cycling, swimming, hiking, and more. You can see how many miles you’re logging, track your personal records, discover new route, and join challenges with other users.

Cost: Free, with premium memberships available
Platforms: and free apps for Apple and Android

Bio continued from above:
Ms. Krickler enjoys teaching students of all ages, and has presented masterclasses in both the United States and Canada. She holds faculty appointments at the All Newton Music School, Dana Hall School of Music, and Wellesley Public Schools.
Originally from Calgary, Alberta, Ms. Krickler spent her formative years playing piano and flute before being drawn to the horn at the age of sixteen. She holds a Master of Music in Performance from The Boston Conservatory, a Bachelor of Music in Performance from the University of Toronto, and a Music Performance Diploma from Mount Royal University. Her teachers and mentors have included Joan Watson, Eli Epstein, Gabe Radford, and Laurie Matiation. In addition to her formal education, she is an alumna of the National Academy Orchestra, the National Arts Centre Young Artists Program, and the National Youth Orchestra of Canada. Learn more at:



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