Teachers, scientists and researchers can now prove that adding music to the educational curriculum for kids, teens and adults enhances learning and retention. Psychology Today goes so far as to state that "music training does for brain what exercise does for body fitness.” Wow. Plus, learning music is fun! Children who learn to listen critically to music compositions, create their own songs and develop a deeper appreciation for music as a creative discipline, will likely experience more success in the classroom. However, with increased focus and emphasis on test scores in the classroom, it can help to add additional exposure to creative musical endeavors outside the classroom as well. These free apps are all great choices to facilitate love of music in kids!

1. Tune Train

Ages: 4 – 8

Tune Train is a music creation and composition app that guides kids to create their first original melody—simply by drawing lines! In fact, this is also where the app got its name—as the student draws out the train tracks, the melody appears. When the composition is complete, the student can then choose to hear it performed in various genres from classical to jazz to funk and more. The app also offers different themes in addition to the train, including candy, rainbows, caves, beaches and more.

2. Kids Song Machine 2

Ages: 4 to 6

  • Get it for iTunes (some songs are free; others are available with a paid upgrade)
  • Get it for Android (free)

Kids Song Machine 2 is the equally successful follow-up app to the best selling Kids Song Machine, which has been downloaded more than two million times to date. With the follow-up, kids learn about music and geography, traveling around the world one song at a time. The app also offers song lyrics for musical learning and retention, as well as fun interactive elements that encourage kids to sing, dance, move and clap.

3. Tap A Tune

Ages: 2+

Tap A Tune teaches toddlers about music using cute animals. The animals are set up in a xylophone-type pattern on the screen. Each animal, when tapped, emits a distinctive tone. The app offers a preset selection of nursery rhymes and kids' songs. The app offers four modes, "baby," "freestyle," "keyboard" and play."

4. My Note Games

Ages: 6+

My Note Games received kudos from BBC Click and was nominated for a "Learning Without Frontiers" award in 2012. The app teaches kids by watching them practice their instruments. When a note is played properly in correct sequence, it "flies" off the screen. There are also a variety of extra learning aids to help kids learn notes and tune their instruments.

Note: Some adults who are beginning-music students also report they find this app helpful!

5. Kids Music Piano

Ages: 2+

This super cool app for toddlers and kids turns the screen into an instrument. You can choose from piano, guitar, xylophone and drums. Learning opportunities include musical notes, colors, sounds and letters.

6. Notable

Ages: K-10

Notable teaches beginning music students how to read sheet music. The app offers both bass and treble clefs and is applicable for both vocal and instrumental students. You can even get statistics to track your progress.

7. Animal Orchestra

Ages: 2-6

Animal Orchestra is a popular app for kids, but it also wins rave reviews from parents and music teachers. The app uses animals to teach kids more than just sounds and notes. The app is actually a game that invites kids to try out different instruments and get to know them by name, by sight and by sound.

8. Kids Musical Challenges

Ages: 3-12

Kids Musical Challenges teaches kids about music in a series of three games with escalating difficulty levels. Byproducts of playing the games include improved memory and coordination. Games will teach notation, playback skills, sounds, instrument shapes and names and more.

9. Drumz Kids Free

Ages: 6+

This app bills itself as the "first music app to teach kids how to play the drums in a fun and exciting way." Having said that, the app does offer comprehensive functionality, with four beginning and four advanced loops to play to, five different types of drums to explore (from traditional kits to congas and bongos), plenty of musical styles, and a wealth of special effects from reverb to delay and more.


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KCL’s Picks for Best Free Music-Learning Apps for Kids