aXylophone

Common Sense Media says

Sparse xylophone app sounds good but is limiting.

Age(i)

2
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Quality(i)

 

Learning(i)

What parents need to know

Ease of play

The app's xylophone bar interface and is very easy to use, especially for little hands or those with fine motor skills issues. Just note that the xylophone won't play if you keep your fingers on the bars. Instead, be sure to tap a key and move your finger off the screen.

Violence & scariness
Not applicable
Sexy stuff
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Language
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Consumerism
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Drinking, drugs, & smoking
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Privacy & safety
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Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that aXylophone is a barebones xylophone music app that kids play freestyle. The interface has seven easy-to-play bars that are polyphonic (two or more bars can be played at the same time) and chromatic (tuned to the white keys on a piano). The app's tonal quality is authentic and sounds good. But oddly, aXylophone doesn't span a complete octave -- it runs from Middle C to the B below the octave above Middle C, which limits the overall playing range and learning potential. You'll be satisfied with this app if you want a very simple xylophone experience or for playing songs like "Mary Had a Little Lamb," "Hot Cross Buns," "Twinkle Twinkle," and "Lightly Row." But that's about it. If you want greater functionality or more keys, you'll be happier with a different xylophone or piano app. 

What kids can learn

Subjects

Arts

  • music
  • rhythm

Skills

Creativity

  • making new creations
  • imagination

Self-Direction

  • effort

Communication

  • listening

Tech Skills

  • using and applying technology

Engagement, Approach, Support

Engagement

This simple design gives players an easy, but limited, musical experience. The sound quality is good and the interface plays like a real xylophone (minus the mallets).

Learning Approach

Kids learn basic xylophone playing and, to a limited extent, concepts like pitch and intervals. There are only seven keys (it doesn't even span an octave), but it can stimulate creativity, increase coordination, and encourage concentration.

Support

No in-app instruction, recording, or playback. Kids don't see music notation or note names on the bars. There's a brief description of the xylophone's origins and construction, so kids can learn about the instrument's history and design.

What kids can learn

Subjects

Arts

  • music
  • rhythm

Skills

Creativity

  • making new creations
  • imagination

Self-Direction

  • effort

Communication

  • listening

Tech Skills

  • using and applying technology

Kids can learn basic xylophone performance and, to a limited extent, elementary musical concepts such as pitch, intervals, and aural skills. aXylophone can stimulate creativity, increases coordination, and encourage concentration and experimentation. There's a brief text description of the xylophone's origins, construction, etc., located in the info button (bottom right corner of the screen) so kids can learn more about the instrument's history and design. While aXylophone's seven-bar construction is limiting, its simple design gives players of all ages and abilities an easy, uncluttered, basic musical experience. 

This Learning Rating review was written by Kim Alessi

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What's it about?

AXYLOPHONE is a straightforward, simple xylophone music app. The app sounds authentic and has good tone whether it's played through a device's speakers or headphones. Kids open the app, press the play arrow, and are presented with a seven-bar xylophone interface. The bars are vertical, like a piano keyboard, and wide so they're easy to play. Kids tap the bars to play the xylophone, which sounds a pitch. The app is fine for a simple musical experience, but it's limiting because the tones don't span a complete octave.

Is it any good?

QUALITY
 

With aXylophone, what you see is what you get. It's uncomplicated, virtually effortless to maneuver through and play, with one screen, and that's all. The app's sound quality is good and the interface plays like a real xylophone, minus the mallets (kids must tap and release the bars, otherwise it won't make a sound). The app's ideal for little hands, or for those with varying learning and motor skill abilities.

But aXylophone is very limited. The main shortcoming is that it only has seven bars and doesn't even span an octave (which is eight bars). Kids are shortchanged one essential bar (or pitch) and can't experience the tonal pattern of a complete scale. There's no in-app recording or playback, but it's hard to hold that against this app because it's free and it is what it is -- a simple, simulated xylophone experience that sounds good and is easy to use. If you want something with more functionality, you'll pay a bit for it. But you'll likely get that eighth and very essential tone (if not more), which improves the musical experience immensely.

Families can talk about...

  • Point out neighbor notes and skipping notes. These are the musical intervals known as 2nds and 3rds and are essential parts of every song.

  • Try to figure out simple songs like "Mary Had a Little Lamb" and "Hot Cross Buns."

App details

Devices:iPhone, iPod Touch, iPad
Price:Free
Pricing structure:Free
Release date:March 21, 2011
Category:Music
Size:3.90 MB
Publisher:Daniel Toranzo Perez
Version:1.0
Minimum software requirements:iOS 4.0 or later

This review of aXylophone was written by

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About our rating system

  • ON: Content is age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • PAUSE: Know your child; some content may not be right for some kids.
  • OFF: Not age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • NOT FOR KIDS: Not appropriate for kids of any age.

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Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging; great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging; good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging; good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging; OK learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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