8 Best Games, Apps, and Sites for Music and Composing

May 23, 2014
Ellen Holderman
Common Sense Education

CATEGORIES In the Classroom, Out-of-School Learning, Technology Integration

For this week's Top Picks List Friday, we're featuring games, websites, and apps for music and composing. Students can listen to music, make it, or both, as they experiment with rhythm, pitch, and lyrics. Watch them turn tunes from major to minor, hear songs arranged for a range of instruments, and make themed playlists.

To see the rating of each app, game, or website, visit the Top Picks List, Great Games, Apps, and Sites for Music and Composing.


Incredibox is a music creation website that allows users to put together songs from a collection of pre-created musical elements. A handful of sleepy-eyed hipsters become your very own beatboxing crew with Incredibox's simple interface. Read full review.

The Beatles: Rock Band
The Beatles: Rock Band is a rhythm action game that lets kids play and sing along with 45 Beatles songs using specially designed guitar, bass, drum, and microphone controllers. Players press, tap, or sing the correct rhythms and pitches to match the symbols on the screen. Read full review.

Audiosurf is a music-based arcade game that takes songs from the player's computer and turns them into trippy levels with colored tiles representing beats of music. Players move a ship right or left to collect like-colored tiles while avoiding gray ones, all in time to the beat. Read full review.

Sound Shapes
Sound Shape is a video game that has great learning potential. While the arcade action part of the game provides a rich musical track that's influenced by a player's actions, the real learning happens in a mode where players experiment with creating their own musical games. Read full review.

Sesame Street: Elmo's Musical Monsterpiece
Sesame Street: Elmo's Musical Monsterpiece is a music game for the Nintendo Wii and the Nintendo DS that lets kids explore rhythm, musical instruments, and simple music concepts. It also gets kids practicing counting, shape sorting, and other preschool skills. Read full review.

Toca Band
Toca Band is an interactive music sequencer featuring whimsically animated characters that make unique, fanciful sounds. Kids begin with an empty stage and a band of 16 characters. Some characters are personified musical instruments, others resemble the sounds they make. Read full review.

Kids put musical skills into practice as they create original compositions. They can change songs in a variety of ways, including transposing them or changing the time signature, and hear the outcome. Forums also provide experience giving and receiving feedback. Read full review.

GarageBand can be used for an array of classroom experiences, from learning the elements of music to creating original songs and musical scores to recording live instruments and vocals. The app's graphic interface helps teach multitrack recording and editing, musical form, and song structure. Read full review.


What musical games, apps, and sites do you use in the classroom? Sign in to comment below.