Bottom Line: Grandma has always been a favorite of mine, and this new app is my all-time favorite. It teaches kids note names, placements, instrument sounds and patterns. Grandma still dances, and Grandpa makes appearances playing instruments, too. A great app for learning and appreciating music, designed for kids from 6-12 but great for preschoolers, too, with a few settings accommodations.
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Grandma and her dancing ways have always made me smile. Previous apps have focused on preschool skills, like learning the alphabet, and appreciating nature. This is the first app geared for older users, and kids like my daughter, who have played with Fairlady Media apps for several years, are the beneficiaries of all of this fun.
Music with Grandma shares several features with the earlier Grandma and Grandpa apps. The user can choose to work on all areas or target one or two, by accessing the settings from the home screen. In all, there are eight different areas targeted with fun mini games, and play cycles through all selected mini games.
Choose the correct instrument that Grandma hears, complete musical patterns, play musical memory match, complete musical mazes, find a note and more. In between the mini games, there is even more fun: play with different instruments, watch videos of different music and watch Grandpa play several different instruments.
Like the earlier Grandma and Grandpa apps, Music with Grandma is not designed to teach your child everything there is to know about the topic. But it is a great way to introduce kids to music, to reinforce concepts learned in a music class and to simply have fun with a variety of musical instruments.
There is good feedback in several of the games when incorrect answers are chosen, providing good opportunities for learning. If the wrong instrument is selected on one mini game, that selection is played as it disappears as a choice, helping the user to learn the sound. And when choosing the placement of a note on the staff, one mis-tap brings up visual cues of all of the notes, allowing the user to simply match.
Some games, though, would benefit from a little bit more support. Completing the music pattern, for instance, feels lacking. A musical pattern is played once, with the visual support of the music on the staff. The user is requested to touch the note that comes next. However, the notes on the bottom aren’t ever played, so this requires the user to complete only by recognizing the notes on the staff, not by ear. And the pattern can’t be played again before choosing.
I also wanted a little more audio support for text in several of the games. Several of the games are text-heavy—requiring the user to read the text on the music stand and drag each sheet there, with phrases like “silence for a half beat.” They are not read aloud, which makes it useless for nonreaders. Of course, parents can turn this game off in the settings, but it would be nice if reading the text was an option.
Just like a recent Dr. Panda review, I’m thrilled to see Grandma apps grow up a little for my daughter. She has always loved Grandma and Grandpa, but as a third grader, she was no longer challenged by the previous apps (though she continued to play them!) This new app is perfect for her, and still fun for preschoolers to play, too, with accommodations made to remove some of the harder games. Turn off all but memory match or instrument sounds to allow even young preschoolers to learn about instrument sounds and have fun with the free play and videos, too!
This would be a 5-star app if the text was read aloud for nonreaders or kids who struggle more with decoding text. It would open it up to a larger number of kids. But overall, I loved this app so much, and played every game at least once through. It is highly recommended for everyone who loves music and Grandma as much as me, or who just want to learn a little more about music.
Heather spent quite a long time playing the piano. Her best song was Do Re Mi.