PlayItYourself 4 HD

Common Sense Media says

Free music player proves confusing and limited.

Age(i)

2
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17

Quality(i)

 

What parents need to know

Ease of play

Kids tap highlighted piano keys to follow along with the music, but aren't always playing the correct notes. (There is some octave displacement because the keyboard is only two octaves.) As such, the interface can prove quite confusing.

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

The app is free but kids can purchase points with real-world cash (in increments from 30 points for $0.99 to 350 points for $9.99) to instantly unlock new music instead of having to earn it by practicing. The app is ad-supported, but players can pay 200 points to turn the ads off permanently. Kids must also pay 200 points for the privilege of importing their own music into the app.

Drinking, drugs, & smoking
Not applicable
Privacy & safety

Some privacy concerns. Users can opt in to OpenFeint, an interactive network that allows users to upload real avatar photos, post on message boards, connect with Facebook friends or Twitter followers, receive points for inviting friends to join, and access live chat with strangers. Users can opt in to Game Center to track achievements instead; it does not have chat and connections to other social media within the app.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that PlayItYourself 4 HD is a free tool for learning to play the piano, which can be confusing for kids. The app highlights upcoming notes on a musical score along with the corresponding keys to press on a virtual multi-touch keyboard so that kids can follow along and create music. Each performance is rated on accuracy and speed. The app is free to download, and kids unlock additional scores by earning points or spending real-world cash. Parents will want to turn-off in-app purchases on their devices so that they stay in control of when purchases happen.

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Is it any good?

QUALITY
 

PLAYITYOURSELF 4 HD is meant to be a learning tool, but does little to explain what kids are seeing on the screen. Kids will catch on that they're meant to tap the highlighted keys, but they won't learn anything about note names, rhythm, or symbols such as key signatures and clefs. The virtual keyboard only spans two octaves, and if the music on the score goes beyond that range it substitutes a note in a wrong octave, which often requires kids to leap across the keyboard in the opposite direction of the musical line so that they're actually learning the score incorrectly.

Play It Yourself 4 HD has bitten off more than it can chew, and perhaps should have stuck to songs that fit within the two-octave range of the keyboard it provides. The interface will probably overwhelm beginners, while experienced pianists could easily pick up bad habits from trying to follow the inaccurate note mapping. This is one case where it's better to stick with the real thing.

App details

Device:iPad
Price:Free
Pricing structure:Free
Release date:July 17, 2011
Category:Music
Size:15.80 MB
Publisher:AlphaWeb Plus LLP
Version:4.00
Minimum software requirements:iOS 3.2 or later

This review of PlayItYourself 4 HD was written by

About our rating system

  • ON: Content is age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • PAUSE: Know your child; some content may not be right for some kids.
  • OFF: Not age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • NOT FOR KIDS: Not appropriate for kids of any age.

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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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