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

Piano Dust Buster

Piano Dust Buster

Fall 2012 Mobile Apps
Ages: 8 - 14 yrs.
Contributions From: Yuval Kaminka
Contributions From: Roey Izkovsky
Contributions From: Yigal Kaminka
Developer: JoyTunes
Platform: iPad

Getting children to practice their musical instruments can be a Herculean task, while getting them to play a game is a piece of cake. Enter Piano Dust Buster. Don't let the name fool you-there's no cleaning required. This piano teaching app gets its name from its quirky theme. Players tap keys to keep them clean by swatting dust particles just as they're about to land on the keys. In practice, this mechanic is similar to the one used in games like Guitar Hero or Rock Band, where players receive note-by-note instructions for playing a song and are assessed based on their accuracy and rhythm. The Touch Piano in Piano Dust Buster is more successful than those games from an educational standpoint. The notes to be played scroll by on a musical staff that corresponds to proper musical tablature, making it more likely that practice on this game will develop standard music reading skills. Piano Dust Buster also has a real piano mode. This uses the iPad's microphone (no wires or adapters needed) to assess whether the notes a child plays on an actual piano or keyboard match the one's indicated on the iPad screen by the app's musical notation. In both the iPad screen keyboard mode and the real piano mode, the notation pauses its scrolling when children miss a note. The missed note is highlighted until it is played, a feature that our piano teacher evaluator complemented.

Piano Dust Buster comes pre-loaded with 23 songs of diverse difficulty levels ranging from "Ode to Joy" and "Au Clair de la Lune" to "La Bamba" and "Jingle Bells." In order to keep the app fresh, new songs are periodically added free of charge. The app engages children in learning musical concepts such as the names of notes, musical notation, and rhythm in an entertaining way.

Parents' Choice   ©2012 Parents' Choice

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