App Review: Flashnote Derby
Flashnote Derby is one of my favourite apps to use with my students. It's a note-learning app that seems to have taken everything a teacher (or student) could want into account.
The app is set up to be completely customizable, from the theme of the game to the clef or notes you want to review. It's great to use with everyone from kids just learning their notes through adults who want to explore clefs outside of the ones they normally use.
Check out some of what the app has to offer:
Themes: You can choose from an exciting horse race, a space battle, a seasonal theme and there is even a calm theme for kids who get overwhelmed by too much noise.
Clefs: Choose the clef that fits your instrument, from treble, bass, alto or tenor.
Notes: You can choose the individual notes you want to use in the game, so if your student is having difficulty distinguishing between A, C and E on the ledger lines, you can just use those.
Note naming can be done using letter names (English or German) or solfège. In the settings, you can also choose multiple key signatures - if you want all of your notes to fit into the F major and d minor scales, for example. You can choose to have the notes shown with accidentals or with key signatures.
Input: You can choose to identify your notes by tapping the correct note name, using an on-screen piano (with our without letters) or - the most exciting part - choosing "listen" and playing the note on your instrument. I love that this is an option!
Race Speed & Number of Questions: Choose walk/trot/canter/gallop to give your student more or less time to answer each question. Choose from 10, 20, 30 or "All Selected" for the number of note flashcards to include.
Answers: Students get immediate feedback if an answer is correct or incorrect. At the end of the race, review flashcards appear to go over any wrong answers.
My youngest students have come up against a couple of challenges when using the app. We had to make sure to turn the microphone sensitivity down, as it was picking up ambient noise as we cheered them on and marking the answer wrong. My 6 & 7 year old students are just starting to read notes and learn the fingerings on flute, so they take a little longer, and even the slowest setting was a bit too quick for them at this point if they were using the "Listen" option and trying to play their notes instead of tapping the letter names.
I love this app. The fact that you can set up multiple profiles which are customized to each student's needs is a huge bonus. My students have a great time playing the game and it is encouraging them to learn to read more quickly. Since their parents can download the app, too, they can practise at home which makes our time together even more successful!
*Information in this review is up-to-date for the iOs version at time of publishing. For current information, visit the developer's website at https://flashnotederby.com.
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