Toc and Roll: Cool and easy songmaker for kids

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We’ve just been away on holiday and I prepped our iPads with a few new apps to try on our trip. This was one I couldn’t wait to try with L Star, an app that makes music sequencing accessible for kids. Genius! Users can easily compose songs using a library of simple and catchy loops from a variety instruments (piano, guitar, drums etc) and even add effects such as delay and reverb to individual instruments. I wondered whether it might be a little advanced for L Star but I needn’t have worried. This beautifully designed app intrigued him from the moment we opened it. The simple design layout made it easy for him to understand what was required, whether adding instruments or adding loops to our instrument tracks.

Best of all you can record your own voice and add that to your composition. It was so much fun working it all out with trial and error. It encouraged L Star to really explore and be creative with the options. The cute graphics help too, the red record button jumps up and down when in use, apparently hilarious, which motivated him to keep recording his beautiful voice.

The first time we tried it out was on the aeroplane, you can imagine the background noise we were contending with! Not the ideal environment but L Star throuroughly enjoyed himself and played with it for at least 30 mins, super proud of himself each time he made another recording. Then he had to try out all the effects and add them to most of the instrumental tracks. Oh yes. We made some truly, er, mind bogglingly… interesting compositions!

A bit more practice and a quieter environment and our skills improved rapidly. We learnt it was a good idea to lay the drum track down first so we could sing over that and get the beat of our singing right. Additionally headphones would be a good investment for recording so the iPad is not recording the sound coming out of the speakers, only the sound of the voice. This is a fantastic app on many levels and one that the adults enjoyed using with the kids, which was an added bonus as it became a family activity.

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