Music is a great outlet for kids to express themselves creatively. It's a fantastic way for kids who are gifted to be able to fly without being held back by school curriculum restraints, while kids who are struggling can create music and gain a sense of achievement. These apps are great for kids and adults who are intellectually impaired, and/or have poor fine motor skills. Visual learners can also benefit from some of the great pictorial music creation apps. Read on to find our favorites!
While drawing a picture on the iPad, the user sings and the voice is recorded into the drawing. Color and thickness of the “paint” is based on expression in the voice. To play back the recording, simply trace the picture with a finger. Amazing!
Singing Fingers (iPhone, FREE): Singing Fingers HD (iPad, FREE):
Thicket by Interval Studios (FREE with IAP)
While interacting with the changing visual display of music, new loops of sound are created. Thicket provides a very interesting way to vizualize music.
For users of all ages, this generative art and sound app immerses you in song-like audiovisual pieces called modes. When “playing” a mode, you both react to and create the music and graphics that you experience. Each mode is its own art generator, interactive toy, musical instrument, even performance tool depending on how you use it.
SoundPrism by Audanika GmbH (FREE with IAP, Pro Version $4.99)
SoundPrism features a grid-like layout that is played like an instrument; the sound and chords can be modified to suit the user's musical tastes. Tunes can be recorded and uploaded to iTunes, or emailed as a ringtone or m4a file. It visualizes pitch in a unique way, helping anyone to become a composer immediately.
SoundPrism FREE (IAP): SoundPrism Pro ($4.99):
Magic Piano by Smule (FREE with IAP, also available for Android)
Change the way you think about the piano! Along with learning how to play popular tunes, rock, classical songs, and musicals with a follow-the-light method, the user can also freestyle play with some unusually laid out keyboards. New songs are frequently added, but there is a strong reliance on In-App Purchases and the expensive all-music pass to play most of the songs.
GlowTunes by AppHappy Studios LLC ($0.99 with IAP)
Design a pattern using lights on a grid, and then play it to see what the picture sounds like. Tunes can be saved and played again later, too. There are four free instrument choices and a rainbow mode using all eight colors. The additional eight instruments are unlocked with the IAP.
BeatForge by Spool ($0.99)
BeatForge also features a grid layout; light up the buttons to trigger different sounds. The sounds include drums and synthesizer, with names like Paradise, Dirt and Robotic Picnic. Tunes can be saved and loaded to play later.
NodeBeat by AffinityBlue ($1.99 iPhone, $2.99 iPad, also available for Android)
NodeBeat is a dynamic music maker! Music is created by placing "nodes" on the screen. Nodes vary in size and color and create different sounds depending on where they are located on the screen and in relation to each other. The"layout" can then be further modified by playing a melody over thetop by dragging a finger over the screen. Layouts can also be saved to play later.
NodeBeat iPhone ($1.99): NodeBeat HD (iPad, $2.99)
Bastus Trump (iPad ONLY, $4.99 with IAP)
Orphion offers four screen layouts and a simple, clean interface to play a beautiful and versatile sound. It responds to the way it is touched (notes can be held out or slapped like staccato). Different chords can be chosen and tunes can be recorded and output as midi. With the In-App Purchase, Orphion allows customization to the pad layouts. We featured it before on Smart Apps For Kids, and it received a thumbs up from Ellie, our resident music expert!
Shapemix by Shapemix Music LLC ($4.99 with IAP)
Create your own track in Shapemix by combining individual song clips using genres such as Hip-Hop, House, Dubstep, R & B and Indie. The layout can be freeform or in a track mixer format. Tunes can be saved, shared and played later.
iPhone version: iPad version:
Drum Kit by CrimsonJet, Inc. (FREE with IAP, Pro $.99 with IAP)
Drum Kit is a realistic-looking full six piece kit including bass, toms, snare, cymbals and hi-hat. There are different themes, and options include different jam packs, themes and kits. Visual feedback is provided when the drum head is tapped, too. It's a fun way to perform a drum solo!
Drum Kit (FREE, IAP): Drum Kit Pro ($.99, IAP)
Cas P. can pretend she's a composer with these apps, instead of learning about cadences and chord progression.