As the number of excellent ABC apps continue to grow, it takes something unusual to bring such an app to a purchaser’s attention. This vivid, colourful app from The Melody Book is so unusual that it is unique, offering three early learning opportunities for the price of one.
Learn your alphabet; extend your vocabulary by learning about the appearances and the names of different instruments and learn the sounds of each instrument by listening to catchy little jazz riffs.
Instrumental riffs, which are recordings of professional musicians playing real acoustic instruments, demonstrate contrasting ranges and tonal qualities for each instrument. There are two riffs for every instrument so sounds range from mellow and mellifluous to upbeat. Readers can actually play melodies and chords on the keyboard and the xylophone and letter N allows you to play a notated melody.
A ‘Find the instrument’ game is provided and there also is a facility to take your picture with the musical kittens which featured in the previous app, A Jazzy Day. You could ask your child to tell you which instrument is going to follow a given letter or hide the screen and (with careful use of the volume button) develop early aural discrimination skills by asking a child to identify an instrument by sound alone.
Just one note of warning for UK purchasers – in this app, Q stands for quarter note, which in the UK is taught as a one beat note or crotchet. I would also like to see upper and lower case letters alongside each other to develop awareness of both forms of each letter. That said, this is an excellent app which offers a rich, deep learning experience. With such a range of sounds to explore, it won’t be long before your child will be selecting their favourite instrument and begging to learn to play it. In the meantime, this is as much fun as learning your alphabet will ever get.
Age range: 2 – 9
Educational value: early reading; learning the alphabet; learning about instruments; listening to jazz
Fun rating: 4/5
Educational rating: 4/5