Can you tell whether sounds are a low or high pitch?
Is the music going up or going down?
Does what you see match what you hear?
Beethoven Bear and Mozart Mouse are here to help you out!
‘Music for Little Mozarts’ is an app that was conceived for preschool and kindergarten-aged students, but if you don’t mind the cuteness, it is helpful for beginners of all ages. I mostly use it with students to help develop aural awareness, but it also contains some basic note recognition and rhythm games.
This app corresponds with the the Music For Little Mozarts piano method books (published by Alfred), but the activities are still extremely useful even if you aren’t using those method books.
The following image shows the range of activities available in the app:
The two I use most are the first two, as they are great early ear training activities asking only to tell the difference between two things. Is the note played a high note or a low note and are the notes going up or down? The interface is easy… just tap the red circle to hear the sound and then drag the same circle to either Beethoven Bear or Mozart Mouse, depending on your answer. For example, the image on the right shows the ‘Notes Going Up or Down’ activity. The student taps the red circle and hears a succession of notes. If they think the melody is moving from lower to higher notes, they drag the circle up to Mozart Mouse sitting at the top of the staircase. If the think the melody is moving downwards, they drag the circle to Beethoven Bear.
The app will not let the circle stay in the area of the wrong answer; it needs to be answered correctly before moving on to the next question.
Some of the activities don’t require the student to answer a question and act more as a teaching reinforcement. The child can play any note on the keyboard and the app will show them where it sits on the staff. After that, they can move on to the activity where they need to identify the keyboard location of a note after seeing it on the staff.
The app also has a simple rhythm exercise, using the note values that are commonly learnt in their first few lessons. Beethoven Bear and Mozart Mouse are each standing under a different rhythm. The student taps the red circle to hear a rhythm and then drags the note to the character standing under the rhythm they think is correct. Once again, the question needs to be answered correctly before moving on.
Aural training is such an integral part of a complete music education, so it’s great to find an app that approaches it in such a simple way for beginners. The first two activities are also great for discovering the aural capabilities of a new student… but they don’t even know you’re testing them.
If you are considering music lessons for your child or for yourself, please contact me to discuss the options. Piano lessons are conducted at my studio in Wallsend, NSW.