Note Rush: Music Reading Game

App review by
Patricia Monticello Kievlan, Common Sense Media
Note Rush: Music Reading Game App Poster Image
Cute themes, flexible features boost sight-reading skills.

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

Educational Value

Kids can develop their note recognition skills and sight-reading speed and accuracy. Some built-in drills focus on reading ledger lines above and below the staff. Kids and their teachers can also create their own drills to hone their sight-reading skills.

Ease of Play

Easy to create and share your own drills. Don't miss in-app pop-ups: They look like simple system messages but actually contain detailed information about how to use the app's simple but mighty features.

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What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Note Rush: Music Reading Game is an app that helps budding musicians develop note recognition skills. Kids complete a series of drills where they use their own instrument or a plugged-in MIDI keyboard to play notes displayed on screen. Drills can be timed or untimed, and people can create their own drills. The app doesn't require you to create an account and it doesn't have any built-in sharing features, though you can save drills you create to your device's camera roll and share them with other users like you'd usually share a photo. As of this review, the developer's privacy policy is very brief -- just one sentence long -- and it broadly indicates that anonymous usage data is collected, but there's no additional detail.

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What's it about?

NOTE RUSH: LEARN TO READ MUSIC is a music app that helps kids learn note recognition. Kids can use any instrument (or their voice!), or they can connect a MIDI keyboard to their device with an appropriate adapter. There are 15 built-in drills available (five each for bass clef, treble clef, and the grand staff), and users can also create their own drills and save them to their device's camera roll. Kids can further customize their experience by picking a theme to change the background and the icon for the note that appears on the staff (think a ladybug, a soccer ball, or a plain old whole note). They can also choose to make the drills untimed.

Is it any good?

Though it may seem a little silly to sight-read with soccer balls, this is a seriously useful tool for building note recognition skills. There's nice flexibility here because of its features. It's terrific that you're encouraged to use any instrument -- even an attached MIDI keyboard. You can turn off the drill timer, and you can customize the theme on screen to fit your tastes. The level designer tool is one of the very best features: You tap the screen to pick the notes to include in your drill, and your options span four octaves and all the sharps and flats in between. Then you can save the image of your "level card" to your device's camera roll and share it as you'd share any photo. And you can import new levels to your device directly from your camera roll. There are certainly some limitations. Apparently you can only have one level card at a time, and you can't have multiple user accounts on the same device, which could be frustrating for a music teacher or a family with more than one kid. Plus, the privacy policy leaves a lot to be desired. There's almost no information about how your information is used or shared, which may be a deal-breaker for some people. Still, this app is a small but mighty choice for developing an important musical skill on any instrument.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about how music practice fits into your family's daily routine. How often should your kid practice, and for how long? How can Note Rush: Music Reading Game help?

  • Show kids what a real piano or other instrument score looks like, and talk about how to read notes and rhythms. If you're not musically inclined, classes, books, apps, websites, and YouTube videos can give you a hand.

  • Families can talk about music in general, especially about the instruments they hear in their favorite songs. 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. Talk about what it takes to learn to play the instruments they hear.

App details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love music and creativity

Themes & Topics

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