A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this game.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that since some of the games and activities in this software ask kids to look at musical scores, this software is best used by kids who have had some musical instruction. This is an unusual title because it makes the esoteric topic of musical expression understandable to kids. This software starts kids on the melodic path of creativity by introducing them to musical expression through games.
What's it about?
PLAYING MUSIC, the fourth title in Morton Subotnick's children's CD-ROM music series published by Viva-Media, takes the difficult-to-teach concept of expressing yourself through music and makes it something kids can understand. Kids play five games that let them hear how varying the musical expression of a piece will change the way the music makes you feel.
In the first game, kids use listening skills to compare two versions of the same piece. The next game asks kids to think about music in terms of images, choosing an animation that best represents what they heard. In other games, kids look at musical scores while listening along to determine which musical expression marks are missing from the score. Kids can also visit a special \"Expression Room\" where they can experiment with manipulating musical expression marks within famous piano compositions including pieces by Bach and Chopin.
Is it any good?
This software works well because it cleverly breaks the subject of musical expression into small interactive elements. It builds on kids' knowledge of reading musical scores to show them how the use of tempo, loudness, and other musical attitudes can affect an audience's response to music. By exploring Playing Music, kids learn to listen carefully to music and to register their own emotional reactions to changes in the way music is presented. Perhaps by teaching kids the subtleties of musical expression, they will also come to appreciate that all communication, not just music, has similar nuances.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about how changing tempo or emphasis in music can change the way you respond to it. What makes a musician good? Is it just technique or is musical expression important? Why is it important to express ourselves through music? Do you think music is a universal language?
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