Music4Kids - Learn and Compose Music Through Play

App review by
Mieke VanderBorght, Common Sense Media
Music4Kids - Learn and Compose Music Through Play App Poster Image
Get musical with versatile tap-and-drag composer.

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

Educational Value

Basics of musical notation and vocabulary. Kids play with tempo, rhythm, pitch, scales, and play with notes on a treble staff and experiment with whole, half, quarter, and eighth notes and rests as well as sharps and flats. A handful of introductory bars from famous songs expose kids to classic compositions. Kids can also experiment with composing their own songs.

Ease of Play

Navigating through the activities and using all the available options can take some practice.

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Icons on the main page advertise other apps from the same developer. A parent gate protects against purchase.

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What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Music4Kids - Learn and Compose Music Through Play lets kids reproduce well-known melodies and make their own tunes. Kids tap and drag along a musical staff to place notes, rests, sharps, and flats. There's an introduction that teaches the basics of using notes to indicate pitch and tempo. All that information is text-based, so kids who aren't yet reading will need help. Kids save their compositions internally within the app and can open them to listen to or edit their creations. Kids can adjust quite a few things in the options menu: choose to play in 11 languages, use piano sound or music box, show the note name or not, show guidance for the challenges or not, and more. Read the developer's privacy policy for details on how your information is collected and shared.

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What's it about?

There are three ways to explore music with MUSIC4KIDS - LEARN AND COMPOSE MUSIC THROUGH PLAY. Make a Tune is a blank slate for kids to drag notes on a staff -- flats, sharps, and rests included -- and compose their own songs. Challenges presents a snippet of a melody that kids re-create, with or without grayed-out notes to help. And My Tunes starts kids out with the first few bars of well-known songs and lets them edit. Though kids can compose longer pieces, there's a limit to how long they can be. Five animal-themed planets introduce the most popular scales, such as major, minor, and pentatonic.

Is it any good?

Composing music is mostly a breeze with this cool creator. The five planets are a fun way to distinguish different scales: Each planet has cute graphics and themed notes that make composing music visually satisfying as well as fun to listen to. Simple composing is as easy as tapping anywhere on the staff to make a note appear. Things get a bit more complicated when kids want to change the time value of the note (whole, half, quarter, or eighth note) or put in a rest. And, dragging sharps and flats to the notes doesn't always work smoothly, so kids have to keep trying if it doesn't stick the first time. For every piece of music, there are options to save, listen, continue composing, edit, and so on, and learning where all the options are in the menus may take practice for some kids. Yet, for all the options Music4Kids has, it's still not complete. For instance, kids can't compose in the bass clef, nor can they create chords. All in all, despite its limits, it has decent options and real music information, which makes this composer tool a respectable step up from the most basic kids' music app.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the background information included in Music4Kids - Learn and Compose Music Through Play. Read about tempo, pitch, and different scales together. Tap or count to help kids understand the difference between whole, half, quarter, and eighth notes or rests.

  • Listen to lots of different kinds of music. Share your favorite songs with kids, and expose them to music you don't typically listen to, as well. Let them hear the differences between classical, rock, hip-hop, jazz, and more. 

  • Let your kids make their own music with musical instruments. A xylophone is a classic introduction to music. Simple percussion instruments (like maracas or tambourines) are also easy and accessible and can help kids learn about rhythm. If they're really into music, consider looking into group music classes or individual lessons.

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