Friday, November 7, 2014

Children’s iPad App, Toc and Roll

Children’s iPad App, Toc and Roll
by Susan Stephenson,

With gift-buying season rolling around again, parents are looking for gifts they can give children that will not only last, but encourage children to create and learn at the same time as having fun. Last year I became very excited by Little Fox Music Box, a gorgeous musical app. This year I’ve found another beauty! If your youngster has access to an iPad or iPhone, I think the app Toc and Roll makes an excellent choice.

Toc and Roll is a little like Garage Band for kids, offering them the opportunity to mix different instrumental loops into a multitrack. They can choose from guitar, bass, drums, piano, glockenspiel, percussion, trumpet, sax, and violin. They can also record and add their own voice. While adding the other instruments is a snap, the app advises you are better off using headphones to record voice. I tried without and while it worked, audio quality wasn’t great. I knew my computer headphones needed a USB port, which the iPad doesn’t have. Once I realised I only needed a set of headphones that fitted an audio jack, I was toc and rolling. I created a little song called Colours, uploaded to my Youtube account and grabbed an embed code so you can listen to a sample made with Toc and Roll below or on Youtube.

From the developer:


No In-App purchases. No extra costs.
No ads.
Interface and compelling graphics.
Over 1000 differents sounds of 10 real instruments, which help children to discriminate sounds and develop hearing.
No MIDI, only real instruments.
Record your own voice to make unique your song.
Add funny effects like Reverb, Delay or Vocoder.
Learn to mix your songs, control the volume and effects for each track independently.
No limits. Make a complete song as long as you want!
Play with the tempo of the song easily.
Put a title to your song, upload it to Youtube and share it on Facebook, Twitter, e-mail or sms.

What I liked:

The app is reasonably priced at around the cost of half a cup of coffee. (At time of writing, $Au2.49//$US1.99.) No in-app purchases, ads or extra costs is a plus with kids. If they try to share a video, the app tells them that’s for adults to help with. On behalf of parents everywhere I also congratulate the developers for making an app that produces pleasant sounds and tunes! And I like that creations can be saved and shared. It pleases me that these developers take children seriously as musicians who very naturally will want to remember their songs and show them to others.

However what I absolutely LOVE about this app is that it’s a digital way for kids to create. So many apps are little more than click, see/hear, move on. With Toc and Roll, children can create their own songs and tunes, and indirectly learn lots about music and mixing audio at the same time. Playing with Toc and Roll also makes a fun and creative family activity, and I’ll bet it will engage older siblings as well.

Make sure kids scroll down to see all the sounds available in each instrument - it’s not just what’s on the screen. Same with the length of the track, swipe sideways to add more to the track. When typing a title for a composition, remind kids to click the “Done” button on the keyboard.

If you've enjoyed this post, or any others at The Book Chook, I'd love you to help me spread my literacy, learning and literature ideas by promoting via Twitter, Pinterest, Facebook, StumbleUpon, G+ or any other way you decide.

Are you interested in apps that encourage children to create? Check out my Listly list, Creating with Children and iPad Apps, and find all my iPad App Reviews on this Pinterest board.

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