Digital musical instruments: How could children play with and learn, alongside traditional instruments?

And how do the ecosystems for making music in iOS, Android, and Windows tablet compare?


Virtual instruments, sequencers, sound editors. Accompanying yourself while singing; writing original compositions; making soundtracks for homemade videos ...

  • Hello Bill! Asking for recommendations is off-topic here. I'll edit your post a bit to make it on topic Apr 24, 2014 at 7:42
  • 2
    Recommendations may vary considerably from kids aged 2 (something they can hit that'll respond with a sound) and kids aged 15 (something that'll stretch them intellectually). How old are your kids?
    – dumbledad
    Apr 24, 2014 at 7:59
  • Why don't you ask the kids what they want to do? When I was a kid, I always wanted to write music, but even now, I don't find playing an instrument at an advanced level very interesting. In middle school, I hated practicing the piano, but I taught myself music composition without anyone even suggesting it to me. Likewise, if there's something the kids you're teaching are interested in already, they'll be much more engaged if you teach them that instead of something else.
    – Kevin
    Apr 24, 2014 at 18:28

2 Answers 2


This isn't a great answer if you just want your kids to make music, but if you want to use music making as a vehicle to teach the kids how to program then I'd take a look at Sonic Pi. The founder of that effort is Sam Aaron the guy behind Overtone, a Clojure dialect that overlays SuperCollider and turns it into an elegant live coding environment. The people working on Sonic Pi are putting a great deal of effort into integrating it into our Key Stage 3 curriculum (i.e. kids aged between 11 and 14) through both computing workshops and music lessons.

Sonic Pi logo

N.B. I recommended that they called it Blackbird Pi instead, but I was too late ;-)


I suggest to buy a digital piano and use it for composition. When drawing notes on a computer screen, you do not actually hear immediately the music you compose and can try less variants than just attempting to play directly.

From that I tried, as little as telling "press every second white key, together or in a sequence" (so C, Dm, Em, etc) results something that already does not sound like a noise.

Digital pianos have many features to assist in composition and you can later use MIDI to record and transfer to sheet notation.

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