It may take special talent and years of study to compose music for a symphony, but we’ve discovered a fun shortcut with Think Fun’s new Compose Yourself, a creative, musical card game which lets kids 6 and up — and even adult neophytes like me — create beautiful music in minutes.
You don’t even have to be able to read a note of music. Which is why I like it too.
Related: How to foster a love of music in your little kids
The system was created by Philip Sheppard, an accomplished composer and musician who has recorded with David Bowie, served as music director and producer for the London 2012 Olympic Games, and is the composer of more than film soundtracks. So yeah, he knows his stuff.
What makes Compose Yourself so appealing to me, however, is how quickly a deck of cards turns into lush, beautiful music.
To play, just line up four of the transparent music cards, open the Compose Yourself website, and enter in the four-digit number on the top of each of the cards. Your computer will then play your mini-comp
Playing with my kids, we quickly discovered that each card can be flipped over or rotated to play the notes in different order, to change the entire melody. Or, just pull another card from the deck to mix things up. Your melody can include up to 16 cards and if you love the result, save it and share it, or use it to create actual sheet music to play on your own instrument.
I think this could become a great way for kids to add music to a school project–a rousing symphony to accompany the science fair’s baking soda volcano, perhaps? Use it as an original soundtrack to score a homemade video or slideshow. Instrument-playing kids can perform an original composition in the school talent show.
Or, they can just send the MP3 to friends with a note, I wrote this, and just let all the other kids be super impressed. Of course one of the best parts is getting to name the composition when they’re done. (Minecraft Creeper Symphony, anyone?)
One of the huge benefits as far as I’m concerned, and I think a few other parents will relate to this, is that the compositions kids create using Compose Yourself, no matter how random, will still sound better than those months my son tried to teach himself recorder.
You can find Think Fun’s Compose Yourself at our affiliate Amazon. Be sure to check out Sheppard’s online tips and those in the booklet which really help. Thanks to the company for sending a unit for review.