Research & Resources

The Prodigies Playground is a music curriculum that’s meant to be colorful, effective and fun for families and classrooms everywhere!

But to make the curriculum really effective, we made sure to base our methods and our approach on the best methods, research and practices out there.

Curriculum creator Mr. Rob has written extensively about our methods inside our free eBook, “Raising a Young Musician” and if you’re curious about our curriculum and our approach, it’s definitely worth reading through the eBook.

Below is a list of the research, articles and methods that have inspired The Prodigies Playground.

 

Radiolab Episode featuring Diana Deutsch

Radio Lab: S2.E2 Musical Language

Recommended iPad Apps

(Many of these apps are geared toward elmentary school children – in fact most of them will require either parent help or a slightly older child)

Toca Band: children drag different instruments (in the shapes of animals, people, objects) onto a stage and the instruments play together. By putting an instrument in the solo spot, the child can then solo over the rest of the orchestra on that instrument. Very entertaining and though a little repetitive after a while, the melody is indeed catchy and it is definitely a good musical game for even the youngest iPad users.

StoryBots: a cute instrument that uses different robots to create different pitches. I like this app because it sticks to the C Major scale (like the bells) and because the song mode is easy to follow and age appropriate.

Baby Chords and Kids Music123: both have easy to play instruments that can give your child individual exposure to individual notes.

Figure: though not specific to children, is easy to use and allows a good deal of exploration with different instruments, beat making, and playing error-free melodies.

GarageBand: one of Apple’s most popular music workstations, GarageBand allows you to record and program entire songs. While complex for a preschooler to navigate, the smart instruments are a good way to expose children to chords and logical beats, and they most likely will get a huge kick out of the sampler instrument.

PianoMaestro: an amazing guided piano program that will drastically improve your child’s ability to read music. Best of all, it works with a real piano (via listening on the iPad mic) AND they recently made all of the content free.

GuitarBots: guided guitar instruction that is similar to PianoMaestro. An amazing app and highly recommended for any guitar student.

DM1: a drum step sequencer that lets the user create interesting beats simply by tapping on a grid.

Melodica (iPhone app): a step sequencer that lets the user easily create simple melodies.

Smule Ocarina: a fun to play a flute type instrument that requires you to blow into the device’s microphone to make sound.

Kim Chandler’s Funky & Fun Vocal Exercises: a CD series available only through her website, these are a great resource for any aspiring vocalist or vocal student.

Drum School: a logical presentation of drum beats that shows both the notated music along with video of the beat being played – a definite must for any aspiring drummer.

 

Planet Money Episode 592: Bell Wars

For any bell enthusiasts out there, a fun and quick tale about the worlds longest running handbell war.

 

Musical Illusions, Perfect Pitch and Other Curiosities with Diana Deutsch

Diana Deutsch, Professor of Psychology at UC San Diego, presents several musical illusions that she has discovered, showing that people can differ strikingly in the way they hear simple musical patterns. She also explains why perfect pitch is rare in most populations, but not among speakers of tonal languages, such as Mandarin.

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