Rock and Bach Studio. (educational music software) (Software Review) (Evaluation)
by Lisa Young
Kids love music videos, but watching videos is a passive activity. Why not encourage them to exercise their creativity by using Rock and Bach Studio to create their own videos with dazzling special effects?
Targeted at kids between ages 7 and 14, Rock and Bach Studio lets them explore the world of music by composing songs, creating music videos, and experimenting with rhythm and harmony. Accompanied by Edison, their computer companion, your children look, listen, and create as they browse through each room of the studio.
Fluorescent colors flash across your PC's monitor as Rock and Bach Studio's musicians demonstrate rhythms, instruments, and dance moves. Each screen displays options with both words and pictures, allowing children to wander through the program without assistance. The text is casual and friendly in style, so that even a young reader won't feel intimidated.
Kids will encounter a variety of ensembles, ranging from jazz and Latin combos to rock groups to full orchestral sound. Each room in Rock and Bach Studio provides a new musical experience. In The Drum Clinic, children can bang out their own rhythms on their keyboards as they experiment with an assortment of drums, cymbals, and gongs. In The Instrument Room, children discover the history of traditional instruments and the instruments' orchestral value.
Leaping from the traditional to the ultramodern, children can experiment with digitized sound in The Sound Effects Room. As they watch the sound's graphic form, your kids can create their own effects using echo, reverberation, and sound filters.
In The Music Room, Rock and Bach Studio uses humor to show that classical music can be interesting. Children learn that Mozart, "the original rock star," began touring Europe at age 7 and that Debussy created the "original New Age music." Children can also listen to classics by such famous composers as Brahms, Beethoven, and John Philip Sousa.
Once your kids feel comfortable with the fundamentals, they can use this knowledge and their imagination to create a music video. First, they must compose their own song using sections of prerecorded melodies. After mixing their favorite riffs, children can audition musicians to form the band. Then they move to video production to coordinate camera angles, backgrounds, and special effects to complement their music. After they've finished, children can watch their video with Edison or copy it to a disk to share with a friend (the video can be saved in a stand-alone format so your friend doesn't have to own a copy of Rock and Bach Studio to play it).