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

Multimedia-rich magazine highlights free international music curriculum

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Grades
5–12 This grade range is based on learning appropriateness and doesn't take into account privacy. It's determined by Common Sense Education, not the product's publisher.
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 Would it motivate students and hold their interest? Is it visually appealing? Would it inspire teachers to try something new or change their instruction?

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

Pedagogy Does the tool help teachers promote a more student-centered experience? Will students gain conceptual understanding or think critically? Does it deepen teachers’ pedagogical thinking?

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 Can students and teachers get assistance when they need it? Is it created with people of different abilities and backgrounds in mind? Is learning reinforced and extended beyond the digital experience?

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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