Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Get Your Groove On

One of my teens' favorite programs for the Mac is Garage Band. They love music, and creating their own is addictive.

Until now, though, there were no kid-friendly programs for the younger set who want to get their own groove on.

Enter Groovy Music City from Avid Technology, designed with kids from 7-12 in mind. Groovy Music City has a simple interface that allows kids to create tunes of their own even if they've never played an instrument before.

The Groovy Music City software is easy to use, and (yay!) compatible with both PC and Mac. Once installed, it's easy to bring up the main screen and get started right away creating your own songs.

Groovy Music City lets your pick one of six avatars--three girls and three guys--and a login name. The friendly avatar stays on the bottom left of the screen until the child's song is created.

Creating the music is simple when you have a keyboard to plug in to your computer--kids just press the keys and the notes appear on the screen.

Without a keyboard, though, your child can still have fun with Groovy Music City, by simply clicking and dragging down any of the fun shapes at the top of their screen. Each shape has its own unique sound--everything from a cat's "Meow" to high-tech whistles, horns and drums. Kids can also change the sounds by choosing various instruments from the bottom of the screen and dragging them atop the original shapes.

Once the shapes fill the screen, clicking on the "play" button at the bottom of the screen plays the song, the avatar keeping time along with the notes as he/she walks across the screen in time with beat. There's a "help" option to the top right of the screen if kids ever get stuck. Groovy Music City comes with 28 tutorials to help kids make the most of their music software.

In addition to creating their own special sound, kids can share the music they've created on the Groovy Music website, and even download the creations of other kids just like them!

My take: the Groovy Music City software and website are easy to use, and kids will have fun with all the shapes. Making their own music, though, can get repetitive unless they have that keyboard to add functionality.

Groovy Music City software is supported on Microsoft® Windows® XP/Vista, and Mac OS X 10.4 or later systems. The software is available on the Avid e-store and at select retailers including Office Depot, Fry’s Electronics,, and Groovy Music City software has an USMSRP of $39.99.

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