Learning to read notes and sheet music is an essential part of any musical education, but doing so can also be a somewhat dry experience. Thankfully, there are many existing apps that "gamify" this learning process to make it more fun and interactive, which a lot of our students enjoy and find helpful.
Orpheus guitar student, 11-year-old Michael K., created the following reviews of some note-reading apps that he used to practice with, so hopefully you can find one that works for you too!
(Michael's reviews have been edited for clarity.)
In this game you play as a jockey and practice note-reading by racing your horse against other horses. While you are racing the app gives you notes to play, and the more notes you correctly identify the faster your horse runs. Once you play a certain amount of notes the race is finished!
What I like about this app is that it offers a lot of options, such as the ability to change the amount of notes that make up one horse race, and whether playing wrong notes penalizes your speed. This game works great with most instruments, and you can even select the specific notes you want to practice with. For example, I used the app when I wanted to work on just b, g, a, e, and f notes. Also, at the end of each race you can check which notes you got incorrect, which allows you to identify and learn from your mistakes.
In this game you play as a ninja, practicing note-reading, fingering, theory, & rhythm while advancing through different "belt levels," ultimately working towards a black belt. The app is divided into a practice mode and a test mode, and it tracks different elements of the student's performance such as speed, accuracy, and overall score.
Similarly to Flashnote Derby, this app also offers the ability to choose specific notes to practice with. While I think this app is great, from my experience it did not actually work well with guitar despite being designed for "all instruments." And as an additional word of warning: NinGenius includes in-app purchases, so parents should be mindful of the ability to buy virtual items within it.
In this game you pilot a spaceship and identify notes as they appear by clicking on their corresponding names. If you do so correctly, your ship shoots the note and you level up. Incorrectly identifying a note causes you to lose a life however, and if you lose three then you get a "game over."
This game is a lot of fun and is very reminiscent of Star Wars, which is a big plus for me. Unfortunately though, the app doesn't offer the ability to select specific notes to work on. Also, the rate at which notes appear on-screen increases in speed as the game goes on, making it potentially better suited for older kids or those that are more experienced at note-reading.
About the Author:
Michael K., 11 years old, has been taking guitar lessons at Orpheus Academy since November 2020, and is currently studying with teacher Trevor Black. Michael's brother, Johnny, also studies guitar at Orpheus.