Reviewed by: Eric Jerman, COMS
Where to Buy: Find TappyTunes at the iTunes Store
Developer: UtiliTouch, Inc
Devices: Compatible with iPad, iPhone, iPod Touch
Operating System: Requires iOS 4.0 or later
Categories: Music & Sounds, Cause & Effect
Description of TappyTunes
In a nutshell: Choose a song from one of the approximately 75 preloaded songs in the song library (categories include: "Children's," "holiday," "classical," "traditional," "special occasions," etc.). Tap the screen to advance a song note by note—your job is to keep the melody running smoothly. With each tap a colorful image appears as the note sounds.
In detail: TappyTunes has two modes for enjoying music. The first is the manual setting that is described above. The manual setting can be played by your child or you can do the tapping while your child listens. In the manual mode the app becomes a cause-and-effect type game where each tap produces a different note of the song. There can be strong motivation to tap the screen in an appropriate rhythm to allow the combination of tapped notes to blend into a song that is recognizable.
The images on the screen corresponding with each of your finger taps can be amusing and motivating. For example, in the song "Bingo," some of the images that appear on the screen with each finger tap include: paw prints; multicolored letters "B," "I," "N," "G," and "O;" a farmer; a dog; and multicolored musical notes.
The second mode of TappyTunes is the automatic setting where the user presses play, the iPad plays the songs and the images appear on the screen as described above. In this setting you have the ability to slow down or speed up the tempo via a control that is slid back and forth with your finger tip. The song can be run on the slow end at 1/2 speed or up to twice the regular tempo.
My wife has used this feature to great effect in teaching our son the concepts of "slow" and "fast." Our son really seems to get a kick out of hearing the tune manipulated!
Skills used with this app include the finger tap for the manual setting as discussed above, and the auditory skill of determining the correct rhythm of the song. In the automatic mode, "slow" and "fast" are great concepts to learn while manipulating the song's tempo.
While the concepts that can be taught with this app can be complex, the app itself is fairly simple in its presentation and that is part of why I think it is so effective for use with children with vision impairments.
Additional songs can be purchased in a "pack" of 32 songs and cost .99 cents.
Why it's good for visually impaired children
TappyTunes is fundamentally an auditory experience and therefore it is an app that can be accessed and enjoyed by children with low vision or even no vision.
The accessibility feature "voice over" that comes preloaded on each iPad, and that can be accessed in the "settings" app, works with TappyTunes to aid in the selection of song titles in the app's song library.