Last month we first told you about THE JUNO COMPANY’s JUNO’S PIANO, a new App for the iPad/iPhone/iPod Touch that helps teach children the real-life basics of playing the piano. As a parent myself, and with Kik Axe Music always on the lookout for the latest in music education, I decided to take a test-drive of my own, downloading the App for my iPhone.
Growing up in a musical household, my daughter is already developing an affection for music, but at only 18-months old – she’s a bit younger than the intended age group for the App. iTunes shows a suggested age of 4+ for JUNO’S PIANO, but that’s not to say that younger children won’t benefit from this – provided you’re ok with letting your little one play with your $200+ phone or $400+ iPad under supervision.
The interface is colorful and simple, as the character of “Juno” guides you through a trio of selections: LEARN A SONG, PLAY TOGETHER, or FREE PLAY.
In LEARN A SONG, Juno guides you as your touch screen becomes a functional keyboard. Each key lights up to indicate what note is being played, with the child following along. Three simple songs are available to learn. If you hit a wrong note, Juno will let you know as she takes you back to try it again. When a song is completed, you’ll get to hear a full version of it as played in real time.
In PLAY TOGETHER, parent and child are guided much like in learning mode. The difference here is that you’re alternating turns with the keyboard.
FREE PLAY allows your youngster to have at it and hit whatever notes they choose, playing songs, making noise, whatever their little hearts desire.
PROS: The design an interface are cute, colorful, and simple to use. My daughter immediately made the connection between the virtual piano and her tiny First Act toy piano. Her eyes lit up as she realized what the screen was representing, then toddled over to her “real” piano and started banging keys prior to taking the iPhone and having fun on FREE PLAY mode.
CONS: In FREE PLAY mode, you can only hit one note at a time, most likely due to the limitations of the touch screen. Performing chords are not possible.
BOTTOM LINE: Kids should love JUNO’s PIANO, while adults will be able to “master” all three songs very quickly. If you’re thinking about introducing your child to the world of piano playing, at .99 for the download, this is an App well-worth the purchase price. Learn more athttp://www.thejunocompany.com/