It is with great pleasure that I’m announcing the commencement of OPEN BETA TESTING for Little Musician - everyone can now get to try it!
Thank you so much for your patience with this project, especially those of you who have been waiting since years ago. The good thing about this long wait is that Little Musician is now much, MUCH more than what I had envisioned back then.
Many thanks to all the closed beta testers that have given invaluable feedback over the past months. Since then, we’ve taken a lot of your feedback on board, and we’ve been working hard on getting the most important part of Little Musician ready - the curriculum
I’m glad to let you know that the curriculum (Semesters 1 and 2) is now ready! What’s more, you can try out the FULL 1-year curriculum during this beta testing period.
Scroll further down forTypes of Lessons
In the curriculum, you will see these types of lessons appear - more than once a session in some cases:1. Chord Recognition
There are nine chords that we want your child to be able to recognize instantly. (For you musicians, these are the C, F, and G chords, in root, first inversion and second inversion.) The chords are played with instruments, and sung out in Solfege. Examples are “domiso” for the C Major (root) chord, and “falado” for the F Major chord. Together, the nine chords cover all the notes of the C Major scale (white keys). This is similar to the Eguchi method used in Japan, which some consider to be the best way to foster ‘perfect pitch’ and which apparently has produced a very high success rate.2. Note Sounds
This is the most basic of lessons, and lets your child associate pitch with the written note on the musical staff. It’s a good way to show how higher pitched notes are written higher and lower pitched notes lower. Different instrument sounds are used, and we use different note icons like baby faces instead of notes.3. Solfege
These lessons teach individual notes in Solfege (eg., Do, Re, Mi), with notes shown on the musical staff. Your child will start associating pitch with the note position on the musical staff, as well as with the relevant solfege syllable. Semester 1 focuses purely on C Major. Semester 2 introduces Solfege in F Major. Lesson slides are forwarded manually because we want to encourage you to take your time to interact with your child. During the lessons, it’s very important to sing out the note you hear, and - if possible - encourage your child to sing it out, too.4. Exercises
These are exercises which help train the ear (Hear and Sing), and help to promote sight-reading of notes (See and Sing). Hear and Sing exercises train both chord recognition, as well as individual note recognition, encouraging your child to listen to the chord or note, and sing it out in Solfege. See and Sing exercises show notes on the musical staff and encourages your child to sing it out in Solfege, similar to how your child would read out words or sentences.5. Clap-Along
Clap-Along lessons are designed to give your child an introduction to rhythm and beats. During these lessons, children songs (such as Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star) are played, and your child is encouraged to clap along to the beat. Different beat rhythms are introduced as the curriculum progresses.6. Music Knowledge
In these lessons, your child will get to learn more about how music is made. First, your child is introduced to different musical instruments
(eg., violin, trumpet, clarinet), hear what they sound like, and see how they are played. Second, your child will also learn more about famous classical composers
(eg., Bach, Mozart, Beethoven) and some of the famous pieces they composed.7. Music Appreciation
The aim of these lessons is to expose your child to classical music, and through the exposure, let her gain familiarity with (as well as appreciation of) classical music. These lessons include clips from fifty of the most popular classical pieces, such as Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony and Handel’s Hallelujah Chorus. 8. Rhythm
Rhythm lessons will introduce your child to rhythm syllables, such as “Ta” for quarter notes/crotchets, and “Ti” for eighth notes/quavers. Rhythm syllables are a good way to learn how music notation on the musical staff indicate different lengths of time, and therefore how rhythm is notated. Rhythm lessons start from Semester 2.9. Scales
Through these lessons, your child will see and hear different scales in different keys. Lessons cover both major scales as well as the different minor scales (harmonic, melodic and natural), and are played out using instruments as well as with Solfege voices. Scales lessons start from Semester 2.10. Keyboard
Keyboard lessons will introduce your child to the keyboard, showing how the different black and white keys of the keyboard correspond to the different Solfege notes and music pitches. Instead of perceiving the keyboard as an overwhelming sea of black and white keys, your child will see them in distinct groups made up of lower to higher octave patterns. Keyboard lessons start from Semester 2.Points to Note:- Solfege
There is a large emphasis placed on Solfege. This encourages us to use the best instrument we all have - our voice box! Furthermore, I believe it is an excellent (if not the best) way to let us have a deeper understanding of notes and musical relationships. To understand more about my thoughts on this, please read my blog post titled "Why I Avoid Classical Piano Training for My Daughter"
:http://blog.brillkids.com/?p=126(For those familiar with Solfege, we chose to use “So” and “Ti” instead of “Sol” and “Si”, although you will be able to change this manually. We also use different syllables for black keys, such as “Di” for C#. Lastly, we chose to use the Fixed Do system over Movable Do as this is more consistent with our efforts to teach note and chord recognition.)- Unconventional Notation
The way we notate notes on the musical staff can be unconventional, and therefore, sometimes not strictly correct. For example, most of the lessons omit the note stem and show only the note head. The reason for this is that the aim of the lessons is to highlight how the positioning of a note on the musical staff (higher/lower) corresponds to its pitch. We believe there is greater clarity and focus when we do not deal with note stems and note values. To teach note values, we use dedicated rhythm syllable lessons that are introduced in Semester 2.- More Semesters
We plan to release Semesters 3 and 4, as there is a lot more to cover that could not be covered in Semesters 1 and 2.- No Note Names etc.
In Semesters 1 and 2, we do not use note names (C, D, E, etc.) at all. As mentioned, the focus is on Solfege, so as to encourage the singing out of the notes. Note names will be introduced in Semester 3.
We also focus primarily on treble clef when the musical staff is shown, and not the bass clef. Bass clef will have more prominence in Semester 3.- Rainbow Colors??Please add your thoughts as to whether we should have different colors for different notes:http://forum.brillkids.com/little-musician-general-discussion/using-different-colors-for-different-notes-opinions-please!/- Commercial Release
When will Little Musician be released commercially? It’s hard to say right now as a lot will depend on what bugs show up during this beta testing period and how fast we can fix them. We’re hoping to have it out sometime in May if all goes smoothly.
Pricing is also yet to be decided, but you can probably expect it to be in the same range as Little Reader and Little Math. Installing Little Musician Beta
[PLEASE SEE THIS THREAD FOR AN UPDATED BUILD:http://forum.brillkids.com/little-musician-general-discussion/little-musician-beta-near-final-version-download-here/
The current version should be reasonably stable but we are still working on a few things to improve stability.
Other than that, these are some of the things we will be doing before launch:
1. Replacing some of the voices in the title slides with professionally-recorded audio
2. Fixing the timing of Clap-Along - some of the songs are not clapping correctly
3. The Start Guide and Download sections have been disabled until we finish the content for it, and much of the Support section is still empty.IMPORTANT:
Those of you with older / slower computers may experience problems with some of the lessons playing back smoothly, in particular, the Rhythm lessons or song presets which play out voice audio in real time. These lessons require a lot of computer power which older computers may not have.Feedback
Please give us your feedback, be it positive or negative! Feel free to reply to this post or start a
new thread.If you find any bugs or have any technical issues:
> Please post your question / problem in the Technical Support board here: http://forum.brillkids.com/tech-support-b295/
> If you are experiencing software errors or crashes, please send a description of the problem along with your Diagnostic Report to support[at]brillkids[dot]comhttp://support.brillkids.com/entries/20438423-how-to-create-a-diagnostic-report-for-your-brillkids-learning-system