Parents' Choice Foundation: Reviewing Children's Media Since 1978

JoyTunes- Recorder

JoyTunes- Recorder

Fall 2010 Software
Ages: 6 & Up
Publisher: JoyTunes
Price: $29.00

The recorder is often recommended as a first instrument, particularly for families who find expense of other instruments and lessons to be an insuperable barrier. However, lacking proper guidance, most students make little to no progress on the instrument at home, and even with instruction the early lessons and practice time are tedious at best. Joy Tunes seeks to overcome the hurdles facing a beginning recorder student and to replace less educational video games by creating a recorder practice and instruction game that is both educational and fun. Although not suited to all our testers' tastes, others liked the look and feel of the game and embraced the concept immediately, quickly advancing through the beginning levels until playing some basic songs. The program gets increasingly sensitive to pitch errors as the player advances, so there was some frustration until a more experienced musician demonstrated the art of blowing gently. The game can provide only right or wrong answers, not offer specific advice, so it can not completely replace the gentle guidance of a teacher. However, we were impressed by how much and how well the game encouraged our testers to practice, and by how much they learned. Although the visual design may not hit all the right notes, steady practice with the program's fundamentals may bring much welcomed harmony to your family room.

Emily Crawford   ©2010 Parents' Choice
Emily holds a BSE in electrical engineering and computer science from Duke University and a Master's in computer engineering from Georgia Tech. She is a homeschooling parent and lives with her husband, three children, five cats, and thousands of LEGOs in Blacksburg, Virginia.

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