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Top music education apps to help your kid to tune in
Parent24's round-up of great music apps, from fun games to introduce preschoolers to the elements of music to helping older children to ace their music exams and professional musicians to up their aural skills.
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Everywhere you turn on the app store, you bump into a baby piano app. Keyboards come aplenty, and they can be huge fun too. But if you want to give your child a deeper understanding of the elements of music – pitch, rhythm, notes and harmony – you can move onto one of these great apps. 

And for those children already learning music theory, we’ve rounded up some great apps to help reinforce the principles with fun exercises. 

Easy Music for Kids by Edoki Education

A beautiful app with great illustrations and animation, Easy Music for Kids allows kids to play various games based on pitch and rhythm recognition. This is a good one for pre-schoolers to develop their hearing (aural) skills, keeping it simple and fun. And at the sand castle, kids can combine instruments, pitches and samples to compose music to their hearts’ delight.

Cost: 

Download: Google Play and Apple

The Royal Conservatory of Music (RCM) Music Theory – Lessons and Games

This is a great app to take you through the different levels of music theory and prepare you for exams. Currently available for prep level as well as levels 1 to 4. The reviews on iTunes aren't very favourable, seems there have been a few tech issues.

Cost: The app is free but you have to purchase each level separately in-app.

Download: Apple

ABRSM: Royal Schools of Music apps

The Associated Board of the Royal Schools of Music offers a whole bunch of apps to help music students to prepare for their exams. Just a note: best read the reviews before purchasing an app. It seems as if the Apple users are more satisfied with their iPhone/iPad versions than the Google Play users, but could also be a small minority.

ABRSM Aural Trainer Grades 1-5

Cost: R129.99 (Lite version available free).

Download: Apple

ABRSM Aural Trainer Grades 6-8

Cost: R129.99 (Lite version available free).

Download: Apple.

AuralBook for ABRSM Grades 1 - 8

This series of aural training apps for Android comprises 8 separate apps, one per grade.

Cost: Free, with in-app purchases.

Download: Google

ABRSM Sight-Reading Trainer

Contains 155 specially composed pieces of sight-reading for piano grades 1 to 5. 

Cost: R79.99

Download: Apple and Google

ABRSM Scales Trainer

This great app helps students from grade 1 to 5 to practise their scales and arpeggios. You can view the notation and listen to recordings played at exam tempo, and even choose a band back-up track to add some zhoozh and kill the monotony!

Cost: R149.99 (Lite version available free).

Download: Apple

ABRSM Piano Practice Partner

Covering the ABRSM piano syllabus 2017 & 2018 as well as 2015 & 2016, it helps students to learn new repertoire, practise for the exams and memorise pieces. With a virtual partner, you can play along or practise one hand while the "partner" plays the other hand and select the speed. The app is incredibly easy to use.  

Cost: free, with in-app purchases. Every song costs around R29.99.

Download: Apple and Google (see the reviews, seems not all the syllabus pieces are available). 

ABRSM Violin Practice Partner

This app covers the violin exam pieces from 2016 to 2019. It offers the piano accompaniments, as well as a virtual violin partner, to whom you can listen or play along with. It helps the student to listen to proper phrasing, dynamics and overall musicality of each piece. You can set the speed and even create loops to repeat tricky passages.

Cost: free, with in-app purchases. Every music piece/song costs around R29.99.

Download: Apple and Google

ABRSM Speed Shifter

Lastly, this great app enables you to listen to any recorded piece on your device, and speed it up or slow it down so you can play along with it, without altering the pitch. Neat!

Cost: R79.99

Download: Apple and Google

Note rush: Learn to Read Music

This is a simple app with one purpose: to help your child find the right note on their instrument. The “flashcards” show a note on the treble or bass clef, which the child has to find on the piano, violin, flute or whatever instrument they’re playing. The built-in mic listens and waits for the child to play the correct note (in the correct octave), before moving on to the next flashcard. It’s a race against time and kids are rewarded with stars as they go along. Music teachers rave about this tool and it’s easy to see why.

Cost: R60,99

Download: Google Play and Apple

Note Fighter Unlimited

The hipster fascination with steam punk has made its way to this sight reading app, and the music world is a better place for it! It’s rated from 3+ but it’s quite challenging and will stimulated older music learners.

Cost: R27,99

Download: Google Play and Apple

Music Theory Helper, Okram

This free app is another that gets great ratings. Its strength lies in its ability to help those who don't necessarily play an instrument but would like to look up a music concept, from chords and scales to symbols. It does offer exercises. 

Cost: Free.

Download: Google Play

Music Theory Pro

If your child is preparing for a music theory exam up to grade 5 of UNISA, Royal School of Music or Trinity, this test app will help them to revise. Not the slickest in design, but simple and easy to use with lots of quizzes covering everything from musical terms to notation, keys signatures and beyond.

Cost: R21,99 (a limited free version also available).

Download: Google Play.  

Complete Ear Trainer

A fantastic app for every music student! It helps you to practise recognising intervals, chord types and inversions, scales and chord progressions, and also includes melodic dictations, all using real recorded piano sounds. Comprising more than 150 drills over 28 chapters in 4 levels, this is a serious app for medium to advanced students.

Cost: Free with in-app purchases.

Download: Google Play and Apple.  

We'd love to hear from music teachers and parents: Which music apps do your kids use? Or do you believe in good old pencil and paper? Send your comments to chatback@parent24.com.

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