Magic Piano

 

Learning(i)

Popular songs but no traditional piano in tap music game.

What parents need to know

Ease of play

There are four levels of difficulty, which add to the number of notes players must tap at the same time (to a maximum of four). Players might have a hard time figuring out the correct rhythms to tap in unless they're already familiar with the song.

Violence & scariness
Not applicable
Sexy stuff
Not applicable
Language
Not applicable
Consumerism

Players are prompted to share songs and results with friends on Facebook, Twitter, and email. The app itself, and a handful of songs, are free, but more must be purchased with in-game currency that can be slowly earned by playing the game a lot, or by paying real-world cash.

Drinking, drugs, & smoking
Not applicable
Privacy & safety

Some concerns. If enabled, the app detects the user's location and broadcasts it to other players as a dot on a world map. Players are also constantly prompted to share status updates and songs via Twitter, Facebook, or email.

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 kids can learn

Subjects

Arts

  • music
  • rhythm

Skills

Creativity

  • producing new content

Self-Direction

  • achieving goals

Health & Fitness

  • fine motor skills

Engagement, Approach, Support

Engagement

Budding musicians will be amused to tap balls of light to recreate melodies and chords. The game is constantly giving players new goals to complete, so it always feels like there's something new to do.

Learning Approach

Kids learn fine motor skills and rhythm by tapping the screen to recreate the melodies and chords of popular songs.

Support

Players can listen in on other players' performances from around the world, but there's no chatting. The game is constantly giving users new goals to complete, which earn levels, achievements, and badges.

What kids can learn

Subjects

Arts

  • music
  • rhythm

Skills

Creativity

  • producing new content

Self-Direction

  • achieving goals

Health & Fitness

  • fine motor skills

Kids can learn fine motor skills and improve their sense of rhythm and musicality as they tap the screen at the correct time to recreate the melodies and chords of popular songs. Kids will work to improve their performances to earn stars with which they can unlock new songs. The secondary mode, Solo/Freestyle, allows kids to get creative and improvise their own music. Magic Piano is a fun app to play around with, but it won't teach kids how to play the piano.

This Learning Rating review was written by Erin Bell

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?

QUALITY
 

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.

Families can talk 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.

App details

Devices:iPhone, iPod Touch, iPad
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

This review of Magic Piano was written by

Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are conducted by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.

Quality

Our star rating assesses the media's overall quality.

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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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What parents and kids say

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Parent Written byAfter school care April 11, 2013
age 18+
 

Parents beware

This is a fun game for any age but parents beware! There is a game commercial between every couple of songs and many of them show war, robbery, and violence including killing. They can be stopped before they are shown each time but children should be supervised if you don't want them exposed to this. This is seldom mentioned in reviews!
What other families should know
Too much violence
Teen, 14 years old Written bystargirl132 June 26, 2012
age 6+
 
LEARNING

really fun, not beneficial.

Parent Written bysjbuce50 June 8, 2013
age 16+
 

Song are not truly yours on Magic Piano

Magic piano gave me a free song called Chopsticks then just took it away. Watch out, if you do not pay for 3 months or more, they will probably start finding excuses to take other songs away from you.

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