Two bright balloons float on the computer screen. When clicked, they each play a musical phrase. Are the musical phrases the same or different? Children listen and then decide. If they answer correctly, the balloons morph into happy faces. If they are incorrect, the balloons change and a new musical puzzle appears.
This is one of four activities found in Hearing Music, a new musical activity center developed by composer Morton Subotnick for kids ages 5 and up. The four activities are accessible from the opening screen that resembles a playground. Select the children playing hide-and-seek, and you find a matching game where youngsters click on the different bushes to find two that are playing the same musical phrase. Click on the kids riding a train and you find an activity in which you order musical phrases to complete a piece. The man on the park bench leads to a game where you match musical notation to a melody that you hear.
This software provides carefully sequenced exercises that are designed to improve your child’s ability to listen to music. Children learn to hear nuances in music including changes in tempo, differences in pitch and endings, and variations of a melody. The software uses works from Mozart, Beethoven, and others.
Each activity offers four levels of difficulty and 15 challenges within each level. The content adjusts in difficulty, depending on how the child is responding.
Because this software has no overall story or external incentive to play it, some children may lose interest before finishing all the musical puzzles. Parents interested in encouraging their children to explore this software might want to participate with them to create a cooperative play experience.
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