(CNN) — Often in the middle of the night, while his wife sleeps beside him, John Sheridan picks up his iPhone from the nightstand and shakes the device like it was a conductor’s wand on fire.
Sometimes he goes on like this for more than an hour at a time. There’s a point to this midnight madness, though.
By day, Sheridan is a 53-year-old real-estate agent in Florida. But by night, he’s an iPhone musician.
In the past few months, he has used his phone to record and upload at least 30 songs to the Web using an iPhone application called ZOOZbeat, which helps anyone — regardless of musical talent or lack thereof — create songs by selecting instruments from a list and then waving his or her phone around.
A quick flick of the wrist produces a high note. A gentler movement belches out a lower tone. The app loops the sounds and lets users edit their tracks on the fly or afterwards.
Sheridan said he wears headphones while he’s jamming, so as not to wake his wife.One bizarre application, called Ocarina, even lets people create flute sounds by blowing into their phone’s built-in microphone while touching the screen to select various notes.
The smartphones have their technical limits, of course, and the idea isn’t to fully replace real-world guitars and drum kits. But the phones do offer a lightweight alternative to heavy tour gear, and they have a novelty appeal for some musicians and music fans.