Studio Island: Song Creator

App review by
Patricia Monticello Kievlan, Common Sense Media
Studio Island: Song Creator App Poster Image
Wisecracks, busy design limit starter music studio for kids.

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A lot or a little?

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

Educational Value

Kids can start to develop digital music production skills by adding instruments and sound effects one by one. They can experiment with combining instruments and changing different elements of their song to see how it affects the song overall. Kids can also learn basic information about several instruments used in orchestral and popular music.

Ease of Play

It's tough to move through the different sections of the island systematically, and it's a little chaotic to understand how things work and what to do next. Plus, on-screen help leaves out some major features, like an icon that reveals facts about musical instruments and the built-in keyboard in the music studio. 

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What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Studio Island: Song Creator is a music creation app developed for kids ages 4 to 10. Its main feature is a drag-and-drop recording studio where kids can create and save their own songs and then see them perfomed by the game's animated characters. Kids can also explore the characters and instruments by watching them play in groups (like a jazz combo or a rock band) or by exploring the instruments one by one. Read the developer's (very brief) privacy policy for details on how 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?

STUDIO ISLAND: SONG CREATOR was developed as a music education app to help kids create their own songs and explore musical instruments. Kids can visit the music studio to create original songs by dragging and dropping the game's characters and instruments into a grid that looks like a professional music production tool. They can also use the device's microphone to add their own voice, as well as sound effects, record scratches, and new melodies note by note. Kids can save songs and have the animated musicians "perform" them. Elsewhere in the app, kids can visit a series of rooms where groups of musicians play (like a jazz combo or a rock band) and kids can tap on individual instruments to reveal more information or unleash a stream of silly jokes.

Is it any good?

If you can wade past a lot of distraction, this is a neat way for kids to experiment with a simple music production tool. It's fun to drag and drop instruments into a grid and play around with sound effects. In fact, Studio Island: Song Creator is a nice first taste of how some real digital production tools work. Kids will likely find it fun to try out different instruments in different combinations. Plus, it's pretty neat to press the "stage" button and see your song played on stage by the cartoon characters.

Beyond the music studio though, there's not much to recommend this as a music education tool. The lounges and stages featuring different instruments feel a bit chaotic, and it’s hard to move systematically through them or keep track of your progress. Plus, there are some serious missed opportunities: Tapping on instruments and characters results in a series of jokes rather than meaningful information. You have to activate another icon to display pop-ups with facts about each instrument, and that pop-up includes an option to read the info aloud but doesn't include the sound of the instrument itself. The music studio itself has tons of features, but they can be tough to find and use with so much clutter on screen. Overall, the music studio is worth trying out, but look elsewhere for a more straightforward tool to help kids discover instruments, composition, and music production.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the music kids create with Studio Island: Song creator. What kinds of music do your kids enjoy most? Which instruments are their favorites? What do they like about those instruments? If they could play an instrument, what would they like to play? Why?

  • Watch a live music recording together as a family and talk about how the instruments and singers interact. Ask how sound layers on sound.

  • Listen to a favorite song. Ask your kid to identify each instrument or sound, identify where it comes in, and explain what it does to change the song. Consider how you might use a tool like an electronic drum pad or synthesizer to perform that song.

  • Lots of popular songs feature guitars and pianos. Are there certain songs that work best on guitars or pianos? Why or why not? Listen to music together and try to identify the different instruments that you hear. And talk about how different kinds of instruments contribute differently to the songs that you like. 

App details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love music and creativity

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