A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this app.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Magic Piano is a music-playing app with two very different modes. The app is free to play, and players start with a handful of free songs. Additional songs must be purchased for between 25 and 75 "Smoola" (Magic Piano's in-game currency), with bundles of Smoola selling for from $2.99 for 200 up to $99.99 for 7,920 Smoola. Smoola can also be earned gradually in the game by completing objectives. Players can listen in on other players' performances from around the world, but there's no chatting.
What's it about?
Players tap balls of light at the correct time, either single notes or chords, to play back familiar pop, classical, and traditional melodies that sound like they're coming from a virtual piano. Magic Piano's secondary mode, Solo/Freestyle, lets kids tap on a more traditional-looking piano keyboard with black and white keys.
Is it any good?
Magic Piano's main mode actually has nothing to do with piano playing in the traditional sense. Instead, players tap balls of light to recreate melodies and chords. Players must guesstimate the correct rhythm, which can make it challenging to perform songs correctly unless already familiar with how they go. The piano-only melodies can sound hollow, and would have been livelier and more fun to play if there were background tracks to play along to (something that would have also helped players pick out the correct rhythms). It's only in the game's Solo/Freestyle mode where players get a glimpse of something resembling a piano keyboard. On the upside, the game is constantly giving the player new goals to complete (such as Earn 300 points, get a 10-note streak, or Play 3 songs by Bach), which earn levels, achievements, and badges, so it always feels like there's something new to do.
Talk to your kids about ...
Show kids what a real piano score looks like, and teach them to read notes and rhythms. If you're not musically inclined, classes, books, apps, websites, and YouTube videos can give you a hand.
Have kids watch a performance featuring the piano and let them watch the performer's hands.
- Devices: iPhone, iPod Touch, iPad
- Subjects: Arts: music, rhythm
- Skills: Self-Direction: achieving goals
Health & Fitness: fine motor skills
Creativity: producing new content
- Price: Free
- Pricing structure: Free
- Release date: November 23, 2011
- Category: Music
- Topics: Music and Sing-Along
- Size: 19.70 MB
- Publisher: Smule
- Version: 3.0.2
- Minimum software requirements: iOS 4.0 or later
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Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.