Note Fighter

App review by
Patricia Montic..., Common Sense Media
Note Fighter App Poster Image
Small screen limits piano practice with classical gems.

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A lot or a little?

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

Educational Value

Kids can learn some musical basics, like the names of the notes on the treble clef and the names of the notes on piano keys. Kids can get a basic introduction to reading music and playing with consistent rhythm as notes scroll past on screen. Unfortunately, with a very small set of keys on screen for smaller devices, kids may not get an accurate introduction to which keys correspond to which notes. 

Ease of Play

It's easy to blast past the starting instructions, which are wordy and a little confusing. It's very hard to play the songs when you're limited to just eight notes on screen.

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What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Note Fighter is a music app that lets kids use an on-screen keyboard to play along with the melodies of famous songs. There are twelve songs to choose from, and most are famous classical pieces from composers like Mozart and Beethoven. Read the app's privacy policy to find out about the types of information collected and shared. 

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What's it about?

NOTE FIGHTER is a game where users tap notes on an on-screen keyboard to play music. There are 12 songs to choose from -- 4 in each of the easy, medium, and hard categories -- and most are famous classical music selections from composers like Mozart and Beethoven. To get started, pick a song and choose a difficulty level: Easy mode features the names of the notes on the keys and the score, while Medium and Hard modes remove those cues. You can also pick Practice Mode where there are no penalties or Random Note Training where you tap notes on the keyboard to match random notes that appear. At the harder levels, you have to make sure that you tap the notes on the keyboard as they approach the bar line next to the conductor. If you play a note too soon or if you miss a note, you lose a life bar. Your turn ends and you "die" if you lose all of your life bars. 

Is it any good?

While this is a great concept for introducing kids to classical music, there isn't quite enough detail to help kids learn to read music and get a feel for playing these songs. Specifically, most of these songs can't easily be played in just one octave: As it is, you find yourself jumping from one end of the on-screen keyboard to the other in a way that's not intuitive and doesn't represent what's written in the musical notation. Unfortunately, all of that jumping around makes some of these songs especially hard to play, which might reinforce kids' perception that classical music isn't accessible and isn't for them. In general, Note Fighter feels more like Guitar Hero than a piano practice app: You're more likely to learn how to use the twelve "keys" on screen as buttons for winning the game rather than as keys that match the notes on screen. The design is fun, for sure since it's amusing to watch your steampunk conductor Steamy tap out the notes on screen as you tap them out on the keyboard. Still, look elsewhere for an app that gives kids an easier-to-use, more rewarding way to learn to play classical music. 

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about music in general and in Note Fighter. Play some of your favorite songs for your kids, and they can do the same for you. Then talk about what you like and don't like about certain music.

  • 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.

  • Talk about how musical styles change over time. For example, how is music in the baroque period and the romantic period the same or different? What other musical styles or time periods sound the same or different?

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