Review by Patricia Monticello Kievlan, Common Sense Education | Updated August 2014
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Musical Futures

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Multimedia-rich magazine highlights free international music curriculum

Subjects & skills
  • Arts

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Pros: Bold visual style makes it feel like both a fun magazine and a serious educational tool.

Cons: So far, content is limited to only three short issues of the magazine.

Bottom Line: An exciting launchpad for engagement connects to a vibrant, growing community of music teachers.

Teachers can use this app as a one-stop portal to accessing Musical Futures curriculum, ideas, and community. Since it's essentially a digital magazine, keep in mind that the app might save to an unexpected place on your device; in the iOS, for example, it automatically saves to the Newsstand app.

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Musical Futures is an app for educators that features and promotes an international music-education program of the same name. The goal of the program is to use “informal learning approaches” and “non-formal teaching” to engage young children and keep music-making vital and relevant in their lives. Like this app, the Musical Futures curriculum is available for free download through the UK-based Paul Hamlyn Foundation. The app offers free access to all issues of the foundation’s magazine, Musical Futures, a multimedia-rich look at what the curriculum offers, how to implement it, and how to sustain it in your school.

This app isn't for kids, but it's a great fit for teachers. The excellent visuals and Web-linking features make this an amusing and engaging way to see the Musical Futures curriculum in action. For new users, the magazine offers an introduction to the curriculum's philosophy, which leverages both informal and traditional approaches to teaching instrumental and vocal music. For teachers already using the curriculum, the magazine offers an effective way to get a sense of other users' experiences, and to share their own experiences, as teachers around the world serve as contributors and are featured in stories and videos.

Overall, the app's bold visual style, simple navigation, and solid content make this a great resource for introducing the Musical Futures curriculum to new users or for providing ongoing inspiration to seasoned practitioners.

Overall Rating

Engagement Is the product stimulating, entertaining, and engrossing? Will kids want to return?

Bold colors, great videos, and engaging stories make this a fun, inspirational way to experience a growing music-ed movement.

Pedagogy Is learning content seamlessly baked-in, and do kids build conceptual understanding? Is the product adaptable and empowering? Will skills transfer?

With its built-in quizzes, videos, and links to the wider Musical Futures community, this a great intro or reference point for music teachers around the world.

Support Does the product take into account learners of varying abilities, skill levels, and learning styles? Does it address both struggling and advanced students?

The text doesn't interact consistently with many devices' built-in accessibility features, but overall, this is a great reference point and portal to link to the broader community of Musical Futures practitioners.

Common Sense Reviewer
Patricia Monticello Kievlan Foundation/nonprofit member

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