SoundJunction

Common Sense Media says

Music site has impressive detail, weak interactive elements.

Age

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Quality(i)

 

Learning(i)

What parents need to know

Positive messages

The range of content encourages kids to explore a whole range of musical styles and genres. Kids can really expand their knowledge of world cultures with the site's articles and video clips.

Violence
Not applicable
Sex
Not applicable
Language
Not applicable
Consumerism
Not applicable
Drinking, drugs, & smoking
Not applicable
Privacy & safety

Users haven't uploaded compositions to the site forum since 2010; even if they do, clicking on a username takes you to their original song, not their profile, so kids shouldn't come into contact with strangers.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that SoundJunction is a website commissioned by the U.K. government and can help kids understand what's involved with playing, writing, and appreciating music. Kids have to register to use the site if they want to save the items they create in the Note Canvas tool. Registration requires a first and last name, username, email address, school name, age, and password. Users who are 13 and under don't seem to have any additional restrictions. However, because many of the site tools have functionality issues, kids probably won't be able to save or share original compositions or other information.

What kids can learn

Subjects

Language & Reading

  • reading
  • reading comprehension

Arts

  • rhythm
  • improvising and music analysis
  • music

Skills

Thinking & Reasoning

  • applying information

Creativity

  • imagination
  • making new creations

Engagement, Approach, Support

Engagement

The interactive sound and writing elements help break up the site's abundance of reading-related activities, but two major tools don't work. Additional activities would make return visits to the site more interesting.

Learning Approach

The breadth of information surpasses what's on many music sites. Students can learn about specific topics, ranging from instrument care to music history. Regional music types are covered, and kids can write songs with a basic tool.

Support

Teachers can access activity ideas. They can also share learning trails, assignments that involve creating specific guided pathways through the site to illustrate a concept, on a forum, but most posts are from site administrators.

What kids can learn

Subjects

Language & Reading

  • reading
  • reading comprehension

Arts

  • rhythm
  • improvising and music analysis
  • music

Skills

Thinking & Reasoning

  • applying information

Creativity

  • imagination
  • making new creations

Kids can learn how music is played and composed. Articles discuss music theory, instruments, and music history. Composers and interactive activities showcase the music writing process and components like rhythm, harmony, and melody. Musicians' careers and genres ranging from rap to world music are also covered. SoundJunction involves a lot of reading; its tools provide a visual representation of various concepts, but some don't work. For a deeper learning experience, SoundJunction needs to fix its interactive elements -- and add a few more to break up the written content.

This Learning Rating review was written by Erin Brereton

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What's it about?

Kids can read about and watch videos discussing different types of instruments, musical genres, music history, and musician interviews. Some articles describe the process of composing and the role instruments play in a song. The free site, which says it has 200 musician, writer, teacher, and student contributors and 50 hours of audio files, sometimes feels a little text heavy; but the content is well-written and interesting.

Is it any good?

QUALITY
 

Students can find, listen to, and create music using SOUNDJUNCTION. The site features reading material on a wide variety of music-related topics, ranging from how composers start working on a song to unique instruments used in other countries. Kids can also string a few elements together in the Note Canvas tool to see (and hear) the results.

The site's other interactive tools, however, are pretty disappointing. The Composer and Explorer tools sound like they'd provide a fantastic visual look at song components, but both won’t load. That’s a shame, because without them, the site feels like one long reading assignment at times, and kids may lose steam as they navigate through it. To turn SoundJunction into a truly incredible learning resource, the site just needs to pair its impressive array of articles with a few more activities to help keep kids engaged.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about how songs are made, from coming up with an idea to choosing what instruments to play. What should you do first?

  • Music is a way to express your feelings. Can your kids identify the intent behind the original songs included on the site?

  • People like some songs and dislike others. Ask your kids to describe how a song sounds, then discuss which statements describe their feelings about the song.

Website details

Genre:Educational
Topics:Music and sing-along
Pricing structure:Free

This review of SoundJunction 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.

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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