Monday, February 20, 2012

APP Review: Dr. Seuss Band for Elementary Music

By Mark T. Burke

I learned of Dr. Seuss Band from the Technology in Music Education Blog, by Dr. Christopher Russell. While I've struggled to figure out the main musical objective of the APP, I keep finding myself "playing" it.  I say playing because this APP is really a game. The beauty of the APP is that since no-one really reads directions, Dr. Seuss Band is intuitive to use and should suit the target audience's desire to just jump right in.

As you can see from the picture, the APP uses common instruments such as the Fish Bowl-a-Phone...available in the paid version.  The free version includes a similar looking instrument with a few customizations possible.  But, the point of the instrument is that is plays tunes that the player must react to in time.  Notice the colored notes across the bottom and the color "stripes" falling toward them?  Well, the goal is to react to the falling colors by pressing the notes at the right time and for the correct length of time.  When done correctly, the song being played sound like it should AND the user scores points.  The more accurate the selection, the more points.  Scoring points opens more difficult songs.

The free version includes several different songs and a Free Play mode.  Users can also change octaves on the colored keyboard and change the sounds a bit according to the different instrument options chosen.  Now, on to the musical confusion....for me.

I am just not sure what MUSICAL value this app has.  If anything, if can teach BEAT and RHYTHM ... to a degree.  Since the scoring is based on how well the user reacts to the falling color blobs, there is one issue that confused me. At times, I caught myself wanting to press the colored keys BEFORE the color fell on top of them...maybe that is the result of the games from my childhood..  I found the falling color blobs and the use of the colored keys a bit ... well, odd.  But, that may just be me.  The more I played the game, the more I got over it and just played.

For free, it is worth a download.  You'll have to get it in the hands of your students.  If they love it, there are pay options for releasing additional songs.

Check it out at the APP store:  http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/dr.-seuss-band/id474940131?mt=8  

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