Tiny Piano

App review by
Erin Wilkey Oh, Common Sense Media
Tiny Piano App Poster Image
Easy piano player, but watch out for ads and YouTube links.

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A lot or a little?

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

Educational Value

Kids can learn a little bit about playing the piano with Tiny Piano. Though the play-along mode doesn't require kids to kids to tap the correct keys, kids do see the keys light up as they hear the notes. And for the song to sound right, players have to figure out the rhythm. Kids can pick up some basic piano concepts such as how the pitch gets higher for notes toward the right side of the keyboard. Kids also get exposure to a range of songs including several classical pieces. Tiny Piano doesn't offer much in the way of instruction, but the app can be a fun introduction for newbies.

Ease of Play

This app is easy to use. When playing songs, kids don't actually have to tap on the right keys, so it's impossible to hit a wrong note. Kids will have to know the rhythm of a song for it to sound just right. Kids will need to be able to read to navigate the song selection menus.

Violence & Scariness

Each song includes a link to YouTube, where users might see off-topic videos containing violence.

Sexy Stuff

Each song includes a link to YouTube, where users might see off-topic videos containing mild sexual references.

Language

Each song includes a link to YouTube, where users might see off-topic videos containing strong language.

Consumerism

Banner ads appear throughout the app. Users can access 70 songs and the free-play mode for free. Additional packs of 16 songs are available with an in-app purchase of $.99 each. Users can pay one-time fee of $2.99 to upgrade to the app's pro version, which includes all song packs and removes ads. On the info screen for each song, there is a link to purchase an audio version of the song on iTunes. The app also includes links for more apps from the developer.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Each song includes a link to YouTube, where users might see off-topic videos referencing drinking or drugs.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Tiny Piano is a piano simulator that offers a fun but limited introduction to playing the piano. The free version of the app is peppered with ads and requires in-app purchase for additional songs or to upgrade to an ad-free version. An info screen for each song includes a brief history of the tune as well as links to iTunes to purchase an audio version and to YouTube to see the top videos for the title, some of which could have iffy content.

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What's it about?

Players choose free-play mode or a specific song. The iPhone screen shows a two-octave piano keyboard, and the iPad fits just over four octaves. To play a song, kids can tap anywhere on the screen; though the keys for each note light up, players don't have to hit them. An info button takes players to a screen with a little history about each song as well as a link to YouTube for video performances of the song. Free-play mode requires more accuracy since players must tap on a specific key to hear it sound.

Is it any good?

TINY PIANO joins legions of other piano apps and offers only slight variation from what we've already seen. For one, the app is very simple and requires no piano skills. It sounds better if you know the melody and can hit the rhythm correctly, but overall, it's pretty difficult to mess up. For players looking for a more authentic piano player or for a way to learn to play, the free-play mode is a basic piano simulator. Also, the app offers a decent selection of free songs, including pop, folk, and classical.

On the down side, the scrolling banner ads are tiresome -- though for a few bucks, that can be remedied. And despite the range of genres represented, the song list is a little weak in cultural diversity. Songs from a broader range of cultures and faiths would be a nice addition.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Use the in-app YouTube link to find an appropriate example video to show your kids.

  • Support your kids' interest in music by taking them to live performances; check for special family events at your local symphony or performing arts center, or even local high schools and colleges.

App details

Themes & Topics

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For kids who love music and creativity

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