8notes.com

Common Sense Media says

Mostly free sheet music and lots of instrument resources.

Age(i)

2
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8
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17

Quality(i)

 

Learning(i)

What parents need to know

Positive messages

The site encourages kids to learn about and play music.

Violence & scariness

Users have posted requests for pop songs with words such as "murder" in the title, but, generally, violence isn't glorified or discussed.

Sexy stuff

Some message board posts contain sexual references, such as a link to a band's site that says "naked chicks will go on webcam for you if you listen to them." A user has posted a message encouraging people to contact her for a dating advice, and an allegedly 15-year-old male posted a request for girls with webcams to email him.

Language

Some forum posts contain words such as "s--t" and "b---h."

Consumerism

Pages, including the home page, contain ads; some searches direct users to for-purchase sheet music, which they can buy from Musicnotes.com. Paid school and individual user subscriptions also are available. 

Drinking, drugs, & smoking

Aside from a user discussion on whether playing music affects the brain the way drugs do and a solicitation from a website with content on the marijuana legalization debate and other topics, the forum seems generally to be free of drug-related conversations.

Privacy & safety

Registered members can send each other messages through the site. However, you can disable the message function in your profile settings.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that 8notes.com is a website that offers free sheet music for more than 25 instruments. Kids don't have to register to view some parts of the site, including the guitar tuner, the chords chart, and the metronome. However, they'll need an account to download sheet music. Site visitors who haven't subscribed can view a list of registered site members, but you must be registered and logged in to send them a message through the site.

What kids can learn

Subjects

Language & Reading

  • discussion
  • following directions
  • reading

Arts

  • music
  • rhythm

Skills

Thinking & Reasoning

  • applying information
  • part-whole relationships
  • thinking critically

Self-Direction

  • effort
  • personal growth

Communication

  • multiple forms of expression

Engagement, Approach, Support

Engagement

Some items, such as tracks kids can play along with and interactive tests, help kids connect with the site; adding more would make it an even stronger resource. Users can email each other through the site and discuss topics on forums.

Learning Approach

Lessons teach music theory and explain musical elements; instrument chord charts, a guitar tuner, and a metronome also offer instruction. Sheet music can help kids learn about song components; exercises sometimes pair reading with audio.

Support

Users can discuss music on active site forums, including instrument-specific boards. Kids can view links to other music sites, music jokes, and composer and instrument images; buy sheet music; and print blank sheet-music paper.

What kids can learn

Subjects

Language & Reading

  • discussion
  • following directions
  • reading

Arts

  • music
  • rhythm

Skills

Thinking & Reasoning

  • applying information
  • part-whole relationships
  • thinking critically

Self-Direction

  • effort
  • personal growth

Communication

  • multiple forms of expression

Kids can learn music theory, terms, and other information to help them play an instrument. Theory lesson topics range from ledger lines to triads; kids also can view chord charts, scales, and other technical items. Musician biographies offer background on modern and classical artists. Kids can convert synthesized MIDI files to sheet music, which can help them understand music structure. 8notes.com has a fair amount of free sheet music, much of which includes helpful extras such as chord pattern information. Some tunes cost money, but there's plenty of free music and instruction to help budding musicians fine-tune their craft.

This Learning Rating review was written by Erin Brereton

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What's it about?

8NOTES.COM offers free sheet music for more than 25 instruments. Kids also can access lessons on piano chords, drum beats, and other musical components from popular songs and music theory. Other tools and resources include an online guitar tuner and guitar and piano chord charts, which feature audio files so kids can hear chords before playing them. They also can read musician biographies spanning from Beethoven to Beyonce and look up terms in a musical glossary. A $20 annual subscription provides access to longer, more advanced pieces.

Is it any good?

QUALITY
 
8notes.com can connect kids to a solid music library that includes classical pieces and a few contemporary favorites. Kids will find a decent amount of traditional music; songs available through free piano sheet music, for example, range from "Happy Birthday" to Beethoven’s "Moonlight Sonata." Songs also frequently include helpful supplementary items, such as a video that lets kids listen to the track before they play it and chord pattern information. 
 
However, the additional information isn't consistent for each song. Adele’s "Someone Like You," for example, includes a chord and song structure breakdown, whereas Tchaikovsky’s "1812 Overture" description only includes a brief theme identification and composer background. The site says that more than three quarters of its sheet music, lessons, and jam tracks are free, but kids may be frustrated to find that many of the rock and pop sheet-music selections have to be purchased (only a half-dozen fairly obscure tunes are free). Still, the site's resources, including a nifty online guitar tuner and a metronome, can help kids hone their playing skills.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about how songs are made; songwriting involves several steps. Ask your child to compare that process to the steps used to complete a household task. 
  • What is your child's favorite song? Musical taste involves someone's opinion. 
  • Discuss how music can help you express feelings. Can your child identify the intent behind a song on the radio? What emotions does it seem to describe or convey?

Website details

Genre:Educational
Topics:Music and sing-along
Price:The basic 8notes.com registration is free. A $20 annual subscription also provides access to a library of additional pieces. School subscriptions, which provide unlimited access for all students within an institution, are $95 a year.
Pricing structure:Free, Paid

This review of 8notes.com was written by

Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are conducted by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.

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

Our star rating assesses the media's overall 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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