Comedian Martin Mull once said, "Writing about music is like dancing about architecture," but we don't think he had musical apps and activities in mind! The importance of music to humanity cannot be overstated, and the powerful effect it has on children, even more so. Music can help improve their cognitive function, vocabulary, auditory perception, and motor skills. As a tool for teachers and parents, music is a very engageable activity that can help create budding creatives. With the sophistication of mobile technology now more impressive than ever, the host of apps and games on offer is limitless. We've collected some below to help you decide which is best for you.
This super cute app colorfully teaches young minds about music in addition to subtly showing them the layout of modern recording software. With over 160 elements, each representing a unique note, users can line up cartoons of snakes, cats, and more to create their own catchy song!
No screen is needed for this one. A great way to engage younger students with music - while also having them analyze what they're listening to - is to suggest some musical drawings. Simply get the student to pick their favorite song and get them to draw what they see when they listen to it. They can perhaps use lyrics as inspiration or just their emotions and the feeling the song gives them. The results are often surprising and help the student think about their relationship with music.
Great for beginners and professionals, Medly is a simple and beautifully designed app to help kids create music with their finger tips. Already popular in classrooms, this award-winning app offers a free starter pack with 17 instruments and over 100 loops and samples. Full Medly Members can unlock over 3000 instruments, loops, and exclusive features.
Sketch-a-Song combines coloring book aesthetics with modern musical sequencing to create an app that is perfect for younger learners. Children of all ages (or big kids, too) can make a song in no time by tapping and dragging various instrument loops to create a fun melody. Built to boost creativity, this is a fantastic app for both at home and in classrooms.
Now for a tool for music students. EarMaster provides learners with the tools to improve their musical ear and is one of the leading music theory apps available. It provides courses in rhythm training, sight-singing, and of course, ear training. There are even Jazz exercises for that famously daunting genre.
All these great apps are all well and good, but they'll be no use if the learner doesn't have a basic grasp of musical instruments, terms, and genres. Luckily The Word Search has plenty of great word games to teach everything from Beatles members to cello terms.
With Flashnote Derby, kids can learn their notes with this fun horse racing-themed game. Users need to answer the correct notes to progress and eventually win the race. If the dirt track does get boring, however, the themes can be changed to space and even the sky by riding the mythical Pegasus.
Kids Ear Training, an app created by mDecks, is a great tool for children learning an instrument or singing in a choir. The app is a great introduction to sound as a whole and many musical concepts that cement a real foundation in the world of music. From interval training and note recognition to general music theory, it's a resource worth looking at!
Musical Me is a completely free, IOS-exclusive app that aims to take kids on a musical learning journey! The app focuses on fun activities that will encourage kids to have fun with music. Musical me focuses on the fundamentals of music, like notes, rhythm, and pitch. This particular app is aimed at children between the ages of 2 and 6.
There's a chance that you've heard of the New York Philharmonic before; they are a world-famous orchestra group, and they just so happen to have a great musical resource page for kids! Kid Zone has a lot of fun music-themed games, as well as interactive quizzes and introductions to famous musicians, composers, and conductors!
Here's a video game that's fun as well as educational! Rocksmith, created by Ubisoft, is just like Guitar Hero, a game you might be familiar with, but it helps you learn actual instruments! You can learn musical fundamentals efficiently by playing along to your favorite songs with real-time feedback and customizable settings. Certainly worth checking out!
For anyone learning the piano, Piano Dust Buster is an invaluable tool! Whether you have your own keyboard or you're using a virtual one, this free app helps you play along with your favorite songs! Piano Dust Buster is award-winning and can really kickstart your piano learning experience.
Do you want to get your kids interested in melody, harmony, and music production? Well, Tune Train must just be the app you're looking for. This IOS, free-to-play app gets kids used to the fundamental structure of music, including pitch, notes, and chords. It's a great place to start your children's musical journey!
Eventually, starter apps and fundamental training run out, and kids really want to get their teeth stuck into music theory and training. That's where Musictheory.net comes in. This website is packed with identification exercises, melody recognition, and music creation tasks. It's a step up in information, but for children, it's a whole new world to explore!
Following the same theme as Musictheory.net, Musictechteacher.com is an incredible tool for taking your children's musical education to the next level. Musictechteacher.com has a ton of exercises, and musical databases, and can answer pretty much any question your child has about music! We highly recommend this one!
We hope that this list has helped you find the right kind of game for you or the children in your life. Music can be such an incredible tool to help people learn, not to mention it's something we can all have fun with! Learning through music is for all ages and is certainly something we should all look to use, even in adulthood. Education is so important, so why not have fun with it!
Sam Walker-Smart is a British culture journalist currently based in Bristol. His work has appeared in CLASH, The Huffington Post, Vinyl Me Please, Barcelona Metropolitan, Little White Lies, and many other outlets. He enjoys weird folklore, sad songs, and good beer.