Flashnote Derby

App review by
Dana Anderson, Common Sense Media
Flashnote Derby App Poster Image
Race to learn musical notes easily, quickly, enjoyably.

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this app.

Educational Value

Kids can explore elements of music like the staff and notes. They'll also work to achieve goals.

Ease of Play

Very easy to play. Younger music students will need teachers to establish appropriate settings on the app before playing the racing game, but they should be able to play the game independently.

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What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Flashnote Derby uses a racing game and instructional videos to help kids learn and practice reading music notes. Kids move their player along a race course by identifying the correct note. The brief videos help kids learn the basics of reading music. Flashnote Derby includes numerous options for music teachers, parents, and kids to customize the practice experience. Music teachers can register for an account to allow them to send homework and track student progress. Read the developer's privacy policy for details on how your (or your kids') information is collected, used, and shared and any choices you may have in the matter, and note that privacy policies and terms of service frequently change.

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What's it about?

To play FLASHNOTE DERBY, read the instructions, watch the welcome video, or take the "10-second tour." Select the notes you want to practice, and then tap the thumbs-up character at the bottom of the screen. Begin the derby race and answer the questions by tapping the correct letter (or other answer method) of the note shown. At the end of the race, tap "Review Mistakes" to review any mistakes made. Watch and listen to the more than 10 video lessons. Set how many questions per race; race speed; answer method (letters, on-screen piano, piano and letters, listen, or "midi"); theme (fresh air race or reindeer race); clefs to use; and more. Music teachers can register for an account, which allows them to send homework and track student progress.

Is it any good?

This fun game can help kids recognize, read, and remember music notes. The more kids play Flashnote Derby, the more that repetition can help them memorize the musical alphabet and find or name notes quickly. While kids aren't going to wow over the somewhat dated graphics on the racing game (the videos aren't visually sensational either), the app's simplicity may help kids better focus on what they're learning, or it may bore them. Either way, it's without a doubt much more engaging than flash cards. One particularly useful feature on Flashnote Derby is the ability for kids to review their mistakes at the end of each race in a low-pressure -- but immediately corrective -- way. The multiple customizations make it appropriate for kids who are just starting to learn an instrument all the way to kids who have taken music lessons for a few years but want to increase their recall speed. An excellent digital tool for music teachers and parents looking for a way to support their young musician in practicing what they need to know.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about how Flashnote Derby uses a game and videos to help kids learn the musical alphabet. Talk with your kid about the need for repetition before they will be able to quickly read musical notes. What are some other ways to practice?

  • Encourage your kid to try other ways to learn about and be creative with music. Check out Common Sense Media's Best Music Apps and Games for Kids list. 

  • If you learned how to play an instrument as a child, talk with them about your experience of the process. What were your joys? Your struggles? Are you glad you worked at it to achieve learning to play the instrument?

App details

For kids who love music and creativity

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