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Note Quest: Learn Music Fast

App review by
Patricia Montic..., Common Sense Media
Note Quest: Learn Music Fast App Poster Image
Speedy sight-reading drills work best with teacher support.

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A lot or a little?

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

Educational Value

Kids can hone their note recognition skills as they play notes displayed on screen. Kids can work on their sight-reading speed and accuracy as they complete one-minute drills.

Ease of Play

It's easy to pick a drill and get started, but it would be helpful to know how many mistakes you can make before the drill ends and if you can review the intervals you missed so you could target them for additional practice.

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What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Note Quest: Learn Music Fast is an app designed to help beginning piano students build sight-reading and note-recognition skills. Kids complete one-minute drills where they use a real piano or an on-screen keyboard to play the notes displayed on screen, and kids earn stars for playing correctly. It's not required to create an account or log in, but kids can enter their name and track their progress on the app's leaderboard, which is stored on the device and which you can choose to share via email. It's free to download, but full access to all levels costs $4.99. 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?

 NOTE QUEST: LEARN MUSIC FAST is a flashcard-style app featuring drills where students use a real piano or an on-screen keyboard to play single notes and two-note intervals. Each drill lasts one minute; if you make too many mistakes during a drill, the game cuts you off. A few introductory levels are available for free and the rest require an in-app purchase.

Is it any good?

These flashcard-inspired drills might support a student's developing sight-reading and note-recognition skills, but this app likely works best with the guidance of a capable in-person teacher. There's not really enough context here for the earliest beginner to get started: There's a brief intro tutorial that talks about landmark notes like Middle C, but there's no other reference information to remind students about which notes are which on the keyboard or on the staff. Kids should definitely already know how to read music before they start using this app. Overall, Note Quest: Learn Music Fast isn't especially flexible. Only a few levels work with the on-screen keyboard, and you have to type in a user name every time you switch users. Plus, the progress tracking isn't especially clear. It's not clear how many mistakes you can make before the game ends a drill, and it would be great if you could review which intervals you missed so you could target them in practice later. Overall, this is a neat supplement for in-person piano lessons, and it'll work best for piano students who have already mastered some key musical concepts -- and whose teachers can help direct and encourage their progress.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about how to use Note Quest: Learn Music Fast to support piano practice: Consider having kids use the app's built-in keyboard to drill skills on the go and otherwise use the app with their real-life piano while they practice. 

  • Talk about how piano practice fits into your family's daily routine. How often should your kid practice, and for how long?

  • Talk about what happens during practice and how to make the most of the time by warming up, targeting troublesome passages, and being attentive to the big challenges at hand for that day's work.

  • Think about songs your kid is working on with their piano teacher or songs they're learning on their own. Which sections of this app might be helpful for particular songs or styles of music? Which drills are the most helpful? Why?

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