Review & Giveaway: Rhythm Cat app

Rhythm Cat — Cost: Free version (15 levels) is FREE;  Rhythm Cat Pro is $2.99.  The pro version is available currently for iPhone/iPod Touch — and the pro version for iPad is coming out soon!

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.)

PG
Joy Morin is a piano teacher in Perrysburg, Ohio (United States) who enjoys keeping her teaching fresh with new ideas and resources. ColorInMyPiano.com serves as a journal of her adventures in piano teaching as well as a place to exchange ideas and resources.

Joy has blogged 1106 posts here.

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37 Comments

  1. Karla Conner
    Posted 25 October 2012 at 12:13 pm | Permalink

    I am currently doing the Rhythm Menegarie by Wendy Stevens. That is working well for my students.

  2. Jennifer Creekmore
    Posted 25 October 2012 at 12:16 pm | Permalink

    My students practice rhythm using simple instruments, games, echo clapping and movement. I am just getting into using apps in my studio so this would be a great addition.

  3. Posted 25 October 2012 at 1:08 pm | Permalink

    I have this app for my iPad..Thanks so much for explaining the coloured buttons. My students will get another go at this now that I understand how to use it!!

  4. Posted 25 October 2012 at 1:55 pm | Permalink

    I have this app for my iPad and I really enjoy it. I also think the soundtracks is what sets this app apart.

  5. Posted 25 October 2012 at 2:20 pm | Permalink

    How cool! I hope I win!

  6. Kylie
    Posted 25 October 2012 at 2:32 pm | Permalink

    This sounds like a great app that I really want to try with my students! For practicing rhythms I have my students clap the rhythms while saying the counts and I reinforce counting as the student plays, as well.

  7. Posted 25 October 2012 at 2:43 pm | Permalink

    I downloaded the free version on my phone. I love the music! It was a tiny bit delayed, but maybe that’s why they suggest that you use headphones? I like to play “tapping telephones” with my students for rhythm drills. Clap their “number” and they have to clap it back … if it’s not their “number” then they are not suppose to answer. It’s a fun game to play in a group setting with as well.

  8. Posted 25 October 2012 at 2:43 pm | Permalink

    For my younger ones, I use rhythm instruments. For my older ones, we use the Four Star series of books. I’ve been on the lookout for a good rhythm app for a while now. I’d love to try this one out.

  9. Natalie Beebe
    Posted 25 October 2012 at 3:19 pm | Permalink

    This looks like a wonderful way to reinforce counting and rhythm with several of my students. I am always looking for new ways to teach the fundamentals of music – you have some great resources and advice on your site!

  10. Posted 25 October 2012 at 3:26 pm | Permalink

    I use sets of rhythm cards in 4/4 & 6/8 – a rhythm app would be a fabulous addition to these!

  11. Posted 25 October 2012 at 4:44 pm | Permalink

    Hi Joy,

    From the Rhythm Cat team we thank you for a very well written and clear review. (with better instructions than our own!)
    Thanks also for the useful and honest feedback. All your advice on things that could improve the app have been taken on board by the developers and will be included in future updates.
    Congratulations also on creating this fabulous resource for educators and students.

    • Posted 27 October 2012 at 7:45 am | Permalink

      James, I’m doing a presentation on apps for the Florida State Music Teachers Association’s Conference on Nov. 1, and will be doing a quick demo of “Rhythm Cat” and “Treble Cat” — LOVE both of them!

      • Posted 28 October 2012 at 11:36 am | Permalink

        Thank you Anna! I’m very glad to hear you like the apps and that you’ll be including a demo in your presentation. Good luck with it and let us know how it goes!

  12. Rebecca
    Posted 25 October 2012 at 4:47 pm | Permalink

    My favorite way to teach rhythm is by having students march or walk on the downbeats while they clap and say a rhythm out loud. Thanks for the review and giveaway – this looks like a fantastic game for many of my students!

  13. Laura
    Posted 25 October 2012 at 9:31 pm | Permalink

    My students practice rhythms as a preparation before playing a new piece. We also use rhythm cards in group lesson to play a game I call “Fine”, which is essentially a rhythm tic-tac-toe. I also use Rockin’ Rhythms, which are rhythm ensembles with suggestions for different sounds to use to vocalize the rhythms.

  14. Mary Oosterbaan
    Posted 26 October 2012 at 10:36 am | Permalink

    Looks like an excellent way to hone my rhythm skills. Fun!

  15. Mary Farrell
    Posted 26 October 2012 at 10:57 am | Permalink

    My favorite way to teach rhythm is to clap own hands, clap teacher and
    child hands together, stomp feet, hop, raise hands to sky, play simon
    says, touch head, shoulders, knees & toes. Oh, there are so many
    more.

    Rhythm Cat will add a new dimension to rhythm by seeing and hearing.
    I look forward to telling all my students about it!

  16. Posted 26 October 2012 at 11:38 am | Permalink

    I’ve used some online games before, but I like the idea of this app!

  17. Jill
    Posted 26 October 2012 at 8:12 pm | Permalink

    We like to put words to the rhythms we are working on. This app looks great!

  18. Melody
    Posted 27 October 2012 at 6:34 am | Permalink

    This app looks great!

    I love Rhythm Menagerie by Wendy Stevens. Students enjoy the creative touches (two-handed rhythms, fun sounds.)

    I also like to use big muscle groups sometimes working on rhythms. For young students, this may be hopping their rhythms as we count aloud. For older students, this may mean walking one step for each beat while they clap the rhythm pattern and count aloud.

  19. Laura
    Posted 27 October 2012 at 7:21 am | Permalink

    I use the old fashioned clap and count method of teaching rhythm but because I am using more and more technology in my studio, this would be a great addition!

  20. Posted 27 October 2012 at 7:42 am | Permalink

    With CDs and MIDI files available for so many method and repertoire books today, all my students tap and count out loud — starting at their very first lesson. This helps them establish rhythm as the framework for their piece, and puts them firmly on the road to developing a strong “inner pulse”.
    I downloaded Rhythm Cat to my iPad a couple of weeks ago, and played all the levels myself — LOVE it, and can’t wait for the Pro version! I didn’t know there was a different (Pro) version available for iPhone; would love to have that one as well!
    (BTW — I also downloaded their app “Treble Cat” a couple of days ago — love it, as well!)

    • Posted 27 October 2012 at 7:49 am | Permalink

      (commenting on my OWN reply…) I forgot to mention, that I did find that it’s easier to be accurate, at least on the iPad version, when 1)listen through headphones and 2) use your thumbs when you get to the levels that have two or three buttons.

  21. Posted 27 October 2012 at 10:43 am | Permalink

    I try to have a liitle rhythm time at each lesson. Right now I have paper sheets which we use with drums. I would love to try Rhythmm Cat.

  22. April
    Posted 27 October 2012 at 9:44 pm | Permalink

    In my studio I have started a Drum Circle during Group Lessons to explore rhythm more precisely. The kids love it and they actually concentrate on being correct! Love this app; my students would have so much fun with it and it would motivate them to focus on accurate rhythm reading!

  23. Posted 29 October 2012 at 10:46 pm | Permalink

    We use bells, lollipop drums, shakers, stomp feet, hop and raise hand for rhythmic learning. I would love to have rhythm cat as part of my teaching resources.

  24. Victoria
    Posted 30 October 2012 at 5:36 pm | Permalink

    Sounds very interesting! My students would enjoy something like this!

  25. Isis Anabey
    Posted 30 October 2012 at 11:18 pm | Permalink

    Ilove to teach rhythmic with the body of my students! Is the natural way

    • Isis Anabey
      Posted 30 October 2012 at 11:19 pm | Permalink

      My email was wrong, sorry

  26. Posted 31 October 2012 at 12:12 am | Permalink

    I usually play different games such as echo clapping or clapping and matching with a picture of the note types. I also try to keep the metranome on a lot! =)

  27. Posted 1 November 2012 at 10:26 am | Permalink

    Thanks Joy !!

    Look forward to the app :))

  28. Posted 1 November 2012 at 11:55 am | Permalink

    I don’t have a rhythm method I currently love. I could really use something like this — the children really seem to prefer the digital options than the “old fashioned” learning methods!

  29. Diane Conway
    Posted 1 November 2012 at 1:01 pm | Permalink

    I love to use technology with my students! Having my iphone always with me helps me show them videos on Utube, use my apps for games, use my metronome to clap rhythms and let them clap back the rhythms they hear on various songs on Utube.

    Would love to add this app to my teaching!

  30. Harriet
    Posted 1 November 2012 at 2:27 pm | Permalink

    My students love getting into my rhythm instrument basket, choosing an instrument & tapping (or shaking)). We’re having fun with the free Rhythm Cat & look forward to the IPad app!

  31. Miriam
    Posted 1 November 2012 at 10:42 pm | Permalink

    My younger students enjoy playing instruments and marching to the beat. I use clapping charts, Wendy Steven ‘s Rhythm Managerie ,and the rhythm clock, by Janice Tuck, Fun Music Co. I’d love this app!

  32. Posted 2 November 2012 at 12:01 am | Permalink

    I would love to try this app with my students! Sounds so beneficial. I enforce rhythms by having my students count out-loud as they play and by demonstrating for them. I also sometimes will choose songs that they already know (mary had a little lamb, etc.) and have them count out the rhythms. :)

  33. Jessica
    Posted 18 September 2014 at 12:30 pm | Permalink

    I have started using the Music Mind Games, Blue Jello Cards, which uses speaking the rhythm while the student taps the beat and it uses hand signs for the different notes. It starts simple and gradually adds more and more complex rhythms. You can use the cards one on one or for group class games.

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