Title: Toc and Roll
Compatibility: iPad / iPhone / iPod touch // iOS 5.1.1
Size: 165 MB
Description: I'm a big fan of Apple's Garageband app as a kid-friendly musical app -- tapping on the drum set or other "instruments" can produce a surprisingly interactive effect for something that is, well, tapping on a glass screen. But it can be an incredibly complex experience, and if a kid were trying to put together an actual song, the sheer number of choices would probably him or her.
That's where Toc and Roll comes in. Simply put, this is the app kids graduate to after getting bored with Toca Band but before they're ready to really create music in Garageband. The app was developed by the much-beloved Barcelona-based minimusica, and it allows you the user to put together tracks designed to fit together harmonically.
There are 10 types of tracks -- piano, glockenspiel, guitar, voice (you can record those tracks), violin, drums, saxophone, trumpet, bass, and percussion -- and each of those tracks has well more than a dozen different modular units that are probably a couple measures long. The user can tweak each instrument by changing the volume and providing effects (vocoder, delay, and reverb) and changing the overall tone of the song by changing the tempo.
You can save and title the songs. It also offers you the option of saving your songs, but it requires a YouTube account. (There is probably a technical reason, and possibly business reasons, but why oh why can't these types of programs just create an mp3 file?) That's a minor complaint, and I guess my only other complaint is not minor -- that is, to say, there's no option for a minor-chord song. The song is essentially a major-chord song, and I wish there was another option for a sad (i.e., minor-chord) song. (I also wish they would offer an 80 bpm tempo in addition to the 100, 120, and 140 beats per minute tempos.)
But those are pretty insignificant complaints. For kids with a musical bent, this is a playground well worth your money and their time.
Age Range: 5 through 9