Monday, October 25, 2010

Theta Music Trainer - Get Your Game On!

Theta Music Trainer is a subscription based site that features several specially designed games for musicians to improve their 'musical sense'.  We recently ran it by the staff and  students of varying ages on campus at MusickEd. One of the first nice things about TMT is the ease of getting each game started. There's no need to hunt around - everything is laid out clearly on the home page and the 'START TRAINING' button invites you to try the games immediately. 

One of our favorites was Channel Match which works on identifying the sounds of instruments on a simulated mixing board. This game is particularly effective because you get to hear the instruments blended together before (and after) they are isolated. This can be especially helpful for youngsters or novice musicians who do not often have the opportunity to play in a group setting.
Jose Carlos Rivera 'owning' Paddle Pitch

Students also enjoyed Rhythm Puzzles, a rhythm identification game with a little bit of a twist. You must identify a small part of a large rhythmic phrase by matching the sounds with the written music....and you're being timed! Good stuff.

There are 10 games in all.   They fall into the categories of Melody, Harmony, Rhythm, and Sound.  All the games load quickly and include a FAQ page to help you get the idea.  Of course, most of the students who tried the games simply chose 'PLAY' and somehow innately knew how to operate everything....our wired kids!

There are many levels of play and some can get quite challenging, but the beginning stages work well enough with just about any age group that can operate a computer. Some are more tricky to navigate than they are musically difficult (note: my lousy score on Chord Locks was because I couldn't figure out how to change the combinations - I swear!).  Other games like "Parrot Phrases" and "Tone Trees" may seem a little too 'cutesy' for older students though the concepts are solid. And still others are slightly nostalgic and addicting, (try the Atari flavored "Paddle Pitch" for instance).

*Note to the designers: The staff thought the guitar fretboard was a really nice option.  Now, if we can get those darned guitarists to actually read music...

A full subscription allows you to play the games at all levels and they can get quite demanding.  Note to players: be sure to choose/click accurately as the system is keeping track of your answers! The "Training" and "Progress" reports are a nice touch and this program can be a fun supplement to a solid curriculum (like the Kore Series!), especially for students who enjoy the challenge of playing games on the PC.

Visit Theta Music Trainer for more information and to create your free account.