Common Sense Review
Updated January 2017

Auxy Studio - Music & Beat Maker

Loop beats like a pro with stellar music-maker
Common Sense Rating 4
Teacher Rating
Not Yet Rated
  • Auxy is an app for creating your own digital music.
  • First, pick an instrument.
  • Then, place notes on the grid. Each row represents a beat; each column is a note.
  • Put your loops in order; helpful how-to text shows you how.
  • The gear icon reveals a menu that lets you further customize your track.
  • Save your tracks and export them to email or SoundCloud.
Pros
The possibilities feel endless. It’s incredibly cool to create your own loops and songs from scratch.
Cons
With tons of features to choose from and limited direction, some students may burn out quick.
Bottom Line
A stellar, approachable tool for constructing your very own digital beats and tracks.
Patricia Monticello Kievlan
Common Sense Reviewer
Foundation/nonprofit member
Common Sense Rating 4
Engagement Is the product stimulating, entertaining, and engrossing? Will kids want to return? 5

It's elegantly and stylishly designed. The more you tap, press, and swipe, the more features you'll find for customizing creations.

Pedagogy Is learning content seamlessly baked-in, and do kids build conceptual understanding? Is the product adaptable and empowering? Will skills transfer? 4

With lots of sounds to choose from and endless ways to combine them, this is an empowering, absorbing way to get students creating music.

Support Does the product take into account learners of varying abilities, skill levels, and learning styles? Does it address both struggling and advanced students? 4

On-screen help pops up just when you need it, and intuitive navigation makes it easy and approachable to create, remix, and share. No support for classrooms, but that's not the point.

About our ratings and privacy evaluation.
How Can Teachers Use It?

This is a super-easy tool to help students create whole songs or to loop backing tracks for them to sing or rap over. Students in a media-making after-school program could use Auxy to create their own loops and tracks as they learn basic skills and build up to working with pro-level equipment. You might also introduce Auxy to students in a class where they'll be creating songs or jingles to go with presentations or video projects. It's a powerful way to make lots of instrument sounds without access to the real deal. Auxy could also be a great fit for a music theory class where students want to experiment with notation and play with rhythm and timbre. 

Finally, there are some privacy concerns here. We couldn't locate a privacy policy for this app, and if you use this with your students, be thoughtful about the built-in social media connections. Be sure to discuss the implications of sharing your work on social media, and be cautious about browsing SoundCloud and Instagram, where you might encounter language or content that isn't appropriate for your students.

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What's It Like?

Auxy is a digital-music-creation app for iOS that focuses on beats and electronic music. It's gorgeously designed, offering a simple-to-hop-into experience that has tons of depth. To start creating your track, add a melodic instrument or drum sound from the app's built-in sound pack. Then, press and hold to edit your loop, duplicate it, or toggle a 12-tone chromatic scale or an 8-tone major, minor, or harmonic minor scale. The next screen shows a grid. Each column represents a note of the scale, and each row is a single beat. Tap the boxes in each row to indicate which notes you want to play on each beat. You can add as many instruments as you like to your one-, two-, or four-bar loop. Then, swipe to the right on-screen to create the next loop in your song with the same instruments. Tap the gear at the top of the screen to alter settings for your project (such as tempo and key).

From the menu at right, you can render your project and then export it directly to SoundCloud or save it as a video, audio, or uncompressed WAV file to your device. You can also export your project as a MIDI file or export the individual instruments. The top-left menu lets you browse built-in projects and your own creations, and you can also browse and download additional sound packs. You can also browse other users' creations on SoundCloud or view the Auxy Instagram feed. You can purchase sound packs, some of which are inspired by artists, usually for $4.99 each.

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Is It Good For Learning?

Auxy is awesome, and students will appreciate making music that feels current with chart-topping songs. It's particularly exciting to find a digital drum-pad app that's user-friendly enough for beginners and also flexible enough for serious musicians. The possibilities feel limitless, but you always feel organized. You can easily keep track of which instruments you're using and how your loops will play back. It's especially rewarding to discover that a long press on a feature reveals even more ways to customize and edit your work.  

Judging Auxy on its own merits (and not as a tool designed for music education), there's really not much missing here. It would be even better if you could import loops from other apps or formats; it's fun to input notes by hand on the grid, but it would be even better if there were more features for importing and riffing on existing projects. Also, while the whimsical instrument names are fun (for example, "Dribble"), it's not always clear what you're going to get beyond "lead" or "bass" sounds. Some more options for being a bit more purposeful with instrument choices would be great. Those minor quibbles aside, this is a stellar tool for digital music-making; the biggest challenge may be tearing yourself away from the app to let your students in on the fun.

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