We just can’t, we just can’t, we just can’t control our feet. Oh, wait, no. fingers. We just can’t control our fingers. Not since getting a new app called Disco Fingers, anyway.
Released by developer Propell, this iPad app is the latest attempt to make a child-friendly music sequencer app, so that kids can create their own music by tapping on a touchscreen – although it’s also for adults.
The app takes the form of a grid on-screen, and a row of colourful finger characters along the bottom, each corresponding to a certain sound – beats and instruments like saxophone, guitar, flute and double bass. Kids simply tap on the fingers, then on the grid to place those sounds into their tune.
There’s also an option to record their own voice, with some fun filters to make it higher or lower pitched, or Auto Tuned (“like Kanye & Cher”). “It doesn’t matter if you don’t know how to sing, we’ll tune your voice so it fits the beat,” explains the App Store listing.
Disco Fingers is very fun indeed, and has bags of potential for parents and children to use it together, collaborating on their own songs, rather than just leaving the latter to get on with it (although it’s easy enough for that too).
Also interesting: there’s a built-in community, where children can publish their songs to “Disco Fingers FM” for others to listen to around the world – complete with a chart and the ability to get “fans” if they’re good. They can also listen to other kids’ songs through Disco Fingers FM.
Oh, and parents can export the tunes as ringtones or share them on social networks, which is a nice extra touch if you’re proud of your junior musician’s composition.
Disco Fingers is a free download for iPad, but not all its features are unlocked. You can pay a single in-app purchase of £2.99 to upgrade to its premium version, which opens up all the instruments and voice filters, as well as the ringtone feature and the ability to “remix radio hits”.
That’s fair enough, although the separate ability to “boost this beat” for £0.69 when publishing it to Disco Fingers FM – which means making sure it goes to the top of the list of songs people might listen to – might be something to have a conversation with your child about before letting them loose on the app.
Even so, we love this. “We built the app because we couldn’t find any music composition tools that are both simple and fun enough for complete beginners and that also give you a sense of achievement,” said Propell boss Per Harald Borgen as the app went live.
“The app has been tested in several schools, in kindergartens, among strangers on the streets, and even in retirement homes. Why retirement homes? Well, we thought that if even grandparents can use it, then we’ve done something right…”