Tiny Orchestra

App review by
Patricia Montic..., Common Sense Media
Tiny Orchestra App Poster Image
Build a band, spot sounds in quirky intro to instruments.

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A lot or a little?

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

Educational Value

Kids can learn the names of different musical instruments, the sounds they make, how different groups of instruments sound together. Kids can also develop listening skills by identifying which instruments they hear playing on the app's concert stage. 

Ease of Play

Easy to navigate, but adding a feature to keep track of overall score and number of levels remaining on the concert stage section would help kids better track their progress. 

Violence & Scariness
Sexy Stuff
Language
Consumerism
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Tiny Orchestra is a game that lets kids explore the sounds of 18 musical instruments by browsing the instruments' sounds, playing a mini-game to identify their sounds, and assembling an ensemble on a bandstand to see how different groups of instruments sound together. 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?

In TINY ORCHESTRA, kids explore different musical instruments and how they sound together and separately through the app's three different sections. Kids can swipe through cartoon images of different instruments and click each one to hear it play a scale, and kids can also choose up to seven instruments to play a song together on a bandstand. In the app's main interactive section, kids listen as a conductor directs players on a concert stage and choose the instruments they hear. Kids earn stars based on how quickly and accurately they choose the right instruments, and they progress to a more challenging level with more instruments playing at once. 

Is it any good?

With a whimsical visual style and some quirky sounds (accordions, anyone?), these basic activities are an amusing introduction to 18 common wind, string, and percussion instruments. It's charming to build your own band and hear how the pre-set song changes as you add and subtract different instruments, and the listening game is an approachable way to start understanding the different sounds that different instruments make. That being said, there's not a lot of guidance to help kids keep track of what they do in Tiny Orchestra: The section where they browse instruments just states the instrument's name and plays a few notes, and there's no way to track their progress in the listening game or share an image or recording of the ensemble they build on the bandstand. Also, there's a nice mix of traditional orchestral instruments (like a violin and flute), contemporary music instruments (like a bass guitar and drums), and more eclectic instruments (like a balalaika and bagpipes), but there's not much diversity among the people playing the instruments, who mostly look white and male. Overall, this is a neat way for kids to explore the sounds and shapes of various instruments for the first time, and it could be a nice way to get kids excited about playing their own real-life instruments and composing their own songs. 

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about how kids can tell the difference between different instrument sounds in Tiny Orchestra. Talk about how the wind instruments sound different from the string and percussion instruments. Which instruments sound the same? Which sound different? Why?

  • Talk about the different ways you can combine instruments on the bandstand. How does the song change when you change the instruments? Which instruments do you think sound best together? 

  • Talk to your kids about how they might compose their own songs. What kinds of songs would they like to create? What instruments would they like to use?

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