This app is a fun and effective way to improve rhythm skills. Let me tell you why!
On each level, the player is presented with a rhythm example.
After hitting the Play button, a soundtrack begins. After 1-2-3-4 is shown, the player must tap the rhythm of the example shown using the large green button. Here is what the very first rhythm example looks like:
I love the different cat illustrations at each level!! :)
The best part of this app is the high-quality soundtracks. They do not sound cheesy or kiddish. There is a nice variety of musical styles and tempos, including classical themes, folk tunes, and pop-sounding tracks. The music really makes the app fun!
As the examples get more difficult, students must tap two different buttons, or even three! The notes are color-coded to match the notes. The cat illustrations get colorful, too.
The color-coding is a great idea, but is a little confusing. When the notes are blue or red, you use the blue and red buttons — that part makes sense. But the regular notes are black, but you must tap the green button for those. What is worse is that as you complete the rhythm example, the previous notes that you tap turn green if you did them right and stay black if you missed them. To simplify things, I think the app should have the regular notes be green instead of black to correspond with the button, and have the notes turn black as they are completed correctly. But this is a small complaint — the app works just fine as it is.
The app is pretty sensitive about making sure you tap the rhythm exactly on the beat — which could potentially be frustrating for students at times, but also will help them learn to be precise as they listen to the beat of the soundtrack. I personally think the app would be improved if it were a slightly little less picky, though. The player is given one, two, or three stars at the end of the level (similar to Angry Birds), or is told “Level Failed” if too many notes were incorrect, in which case they will be unable to proceed to the next level.
The free version of this app has 15 levels for you to try out. The Pro version has four “stages,” with 15 levels in each stage. Stage 1 uses basic rhythms, including quarter rests and paired eighth notes. Stage 2 introduces the dotted-quarter note paired with a single eighth and ties, to create syncopated rhythms. Stage 3 introduces the eighth rest and mixed meter (3-13 is a killer…it mixes 3/4 and 2/4 and goes pretty fast). Stage 4 continues with more advanced rhythms using three buttons.
This is an excellent app to recommend to your students/parents, or to use as part of your music lab if you have one. Students will learn to look ahead more as they tap these rhythms, and will learn the important skill of listening to themselves and others (in this case, the soundtrack) to stay together.
GIVEAWAY: The developers of Rhythm Cat have generously offered TWENTY lucky winners to win the iPhone/iPod Touch version of this app for free! To enter the giveaway, leave a comment below before midnight EST on Thursday, November 1 describing your favorite way to teach or practice rhythm. (Note: The version for the giveaway will work only for iPhone/iPod Touch — not the iPad.)