Hello Kitty Music Piano Play-Along Deluxe by Castle Builders focuses on teaching children not just to play a song, but to recognize the notes and sounds each note makes. Players begin by getting a nice on screen display of what each button does. A large keyboard dominates the screen, with familiar Hello Kitty characters atop each key. A music scale with notes covers the top of the screen. As keys on the piano are pressed, the Hello Kitty character jumps into the air, the key lights up, the note lights up, and the note is sang aloud in perfect pitch (or so the app description says – I’m fairly tone deaf, but it sounded good to me!)
The app has two teaching modes: fast and slow. In the fast mode, children select one of six songs: Keyboard Rock, Twinkle Twinkle, On the Lines, Mary Had a Little Lamb, Bach Musette, and When You Hear the Music. They can then choose one of six instruments: piano, voice, flute, saxophone, guitar, or drums. In slow mode, each song is set to the rhythmic beat of a metronome and the keys are played and light up for students to tap. In fast mode, the song is played at a normal pace and the keys are played and light up as well. However in this mode a voice sings the notes (C, D, E or Do, Re, Mi) as they are played.
Children learn by listening to the notes and tapping them as they are lighting up. They can also record themselves playing the tunes or their own creations in the Record section. The app will save up to 9 recordings that can be accessed in the My Music section.
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This app is cute, and children will enjoy the Hello Kitty aspect of the characters jumping. To my tone deaf ears – the melodies and sounds were good. It seemed to me that the voice singing each note sounded great and the website boasts that they are in perfect pitch. I like that this keyboard app has a teaching component where children will learn the notes and sounds while they play the piano. The ability to record yourself is also a fun aspect that kids will enjoy. I did have a bit of struggle at first figuring out what to do. I didn’t realize that I was supposed to tap along with the lit up keys. Also, when selecting the music, the songs are set to fast as a default and you have to tap the slower button to get the slower songs. I do wish there was a way for kids to practice the songs without the light up keyboard but keep the background music or metronome to keep them on track.
Overall, this is a cute music app that children will enjoy. I do wish the organization was a little easier to maneuver – perhaps setting the default speed to slow and giving instructions to tap along with the keys. I’d also like to see more independent practice. But if you are looking to have children practice tapping notes to hear the pitch – this app may be right for you.
Hello Kitty Music Piano Play-Along Deluxe is is available for download via the iTunes App Store - Universal App
Promo Price- $0.99/£0.69/€0.89
RRP - $2.99 / £1.99 / €2.69
This app was reviewed by Sarah Emerling, a mom, a special education teacher, and a technology coach. She is a self proclaimed nerd with a passion for incorporating technology into education and you read her findings at The iLesson Lady.
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Disclosure: This review was move up the waiting list priority-services. All opinions expressed are purely that of the author.