Toca Band, Color Band & Singing Fingers 10/16/13

The music and art apps have been building up and I had a hard time deciding which app to post this week so there are three this week. One app, Toca Band, costs $2.99 and would have been my choice to feature but I try to post free apps. This week I’ll highlight these three apps, but not go into details as much. Additional information is provided through links provided in this review.

Toca Band

This app is for ages 5 and under though I thought it would be a good listening skills app. There’s a stage with 8 places on it, including a star position. The user selects from 16 characters across the bottom of the stage. Each character has his/her own sound. Place them in one of the positions and they play their part at a slow, medium, or fast pace. The star can be controlled by the user. Since the user is building the band it can help students identify parts of an orchestra or help them listen for the beat in a piece of music that you are studying in class. There’s a complete review that provides the full picture of Toca Band. If you read the review and are still interested it’ll cost you $2.99 and is for iPhone or iPad only.


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Color Band

Lalabee, the Color Band tour guide, will introduce you to the app with a practice activity in the guided tutorial. For free you get 1 blank page, 3 coloring pages and 4 examples. This app can be very confusing if you actually want to make music. I could see it used where each student with an iPad can be assigned an instrument and they play only their part. When the class plays together, like a typical band or drum circle, a composition is produced. First you draw, then you play. There are three play modes. One mode uses the built in camera allowing the user to play without touching the screen. I found this very difficult because the camera is off-set and unless you point your iPad at a blank wall and sneak your finger around the corner, your own image is detected. (not just your finger). Another mode allows you to use your finger. (perfect) A third mode is reminiscent Super Duper Music Looper. It automatically plays across the screen. Playing their example is the best way to understand the potential of this app. There are in-app purchases, they just added a Halloween pack. I got enough use out of it without purchasing anything extra but you can get a 3 canvas starter pack for $.99. I liked the visual element that makes ‘my’ art musical. This is an iPad only app.

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Singing Fingers

I’ve known about this app for over a year. This app uses the built in microphone in your device and records your voice while you draw. This app may interest speech and intervention specialists rather than the art and music teachers. Instructions are simple. You draw and make your noise (say a word, sing a note, play a tune) and when you trace back over the line the sound is played back. This can be great for an early learner who is beginning letters, shapes or numbers. It allows for multi-touch playback, so it can be useful to a music teacher with students sharing iPads in groups. Each student can contribute a sound and then allow a group leader play back their own composition.  This app is for iOS 3.0 or later and can be used on iPhone, iPad and iPod touch. I experienced ‘skipping ink’ when I tried to draw and I’m running iOS7. Make sure you test this app out on your device before implementing it in the classroom.

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