App uses games and note recognition to help kids with music practice
By Paul Ridden
November 15, 2011
A new teaching app has been released for iDevices where Mozart, Scott Joplin and Clara Schumann - and a friendly onboard instrument tuner called Toonr - join forces to make music practice less of a chore. The My Note Games system is said to be the first children's app to make use of note recognition technology and uses a suite of simple games to help kids develop sight reading, timing and tuneful playing skills.
My Note Games is the first release from James Everard and Ian Willey of Appatta Ltd, and was developed to try and counter the ever-present distracting lure of console gaming systems suffered by their own kids during music practice. It's by no means the first game-based learning system we've seen here at Gizmag, but it does seem to offer a more entertaining learning experience than, say, PianoMaestro.
The My Note Games system effectively uses an iPad, iPhone or iPod as a digital music stand and its note recognition technology is capable of registering sounds in real-time from piano, guitar, recorder, flute, oboe, clarinet, bassoon and trumpet. It also offers limited support for violin, viola, cello, voice and even whistling. At the moment, Mozart, Joplin and Schumann guide students through three simple games that reward successful completion with gold merits.
Tap That Note teaches the names of notes, and has over 200 levels that take in four octaves and four clefs. Each level has to be successfully completed before the next is unlocked. Play That Note runs students through the first octave of a chosen instrument, requiring each note to be exactly in tune - which means accurate placement of fingers for string players and embrasure perfection for woodwind and brass students. There are 18 levels here waiting to be unlocked. Play-A-Day is a daily practice game that's said to take less than five minutes to complete, where the learner is asked to play a few simple phrases in time as well as in tune. The entertaining built-in instrument tuner known as Toonr is capable of spanning six octaves.
The basic app is free-to-download, but users will need to pay for extra services and extended functionality. Full pricing details are available on iTunes.
The developers say that more games and activities are planned - including a clapping game and a basic composition game - but for now, watch Hector successfully gain three gold stars with the Play-A-Day game: