This delightful CD-ROM fills a
gap in children's software--a musical one! It offers unique
opportunities for kids to explore the world of music and musical
instruments. Tchaikovsky's Nutcracker the Music Game is a
wonderful find. Children actively exercise musical memory and
audio discrimination skills as they work their way through
exceptional puzzles and games.
The mission in this CD-ROM is to
save the Nutcracker by playing and winning 9 games. These vary
quite a bit in both difficulty level and time commitment. Children
need to win 9 magic keys in order to break the spell that turned
the handsome prince into a wooden doll.
The star of the program is the
Nutcracker Game. In this activity, there are musical puzzles
behind a number of doors. Each door features a song, such as The
Russian Dance and the Flower Waltz, and children must listen
carefully to the piece as they determine which 4 of 8 given
musical instruments are used. Children need to experiment with the
different instruments and listen to them on the stage as they take
on this challenge. It's a wonderful exercise!
Another outstanding game is
called the Nuthouse. Children must listen to a song, such as the
Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairies, and then figure out which
distorted song attached to each "funhouse" mirror is a
match! This is a wonderful exercise in audio discrimination. The
Orchestra Game is another treat. Children match musical sounds to
the correct instruments, such as the french horn and cymbals. As
they do, a character plays the instrument on stage. At the end of
the exercise, the fully orchestrated song plays and the characters and
instruments are highlighted at the appropriate times when it does. This exercise gives children a sense
of the parts that make up the whole orchestra.
Other activities: The MusiCards game is essentially a
memory game using musical sounds; Find Me on the Tree challenges
kids to match musical phrases; the Funky Monkey Game involves
repeating notes on the vibraphone; Loopy Tunes is a game of
musical loops; Music Trivia presents a series of multiple-choice
questions about music and instruments. Children can enter the
Listening Room to hear music featured in the program, such as the
Chinese Dance or Arab Dance. A musical encyclopedia depicts and describes each
Throughout the game, a number of
kid-friendly characters are associated with each musical
instrument. For example, a giraffe plays the oboe, a zebra plays
the bassoon, and a hippo plays the harp.
We have some minor complaints.
For one, we wish there was a sign-in feature that would allow more
than one child to work through their own saved game. We also found the
sound effect for a wrong answer a little harsh! Otherwise, this
game is very recommendable. We were delighted to watch as kids
worked through the musical puzzles. At first, the challenge was
difficult. Gradually, however, through experimentation, they became
better at discerning which instruments were playing. Memory skills
also got a big workout. This is a beautifully done title--very
**For more information or to buy: Tchaikovsky's Nutcracker The Music Game.
- Excellent musical
puzzles and games.
- Presents a wonderful
introduction to Tchaikovsky and his music.
stimulating and fun.
- Original program that
fills a gap in children's software.
- Sign-in feature is
- The sound effect for a
wrong answer is a tad harsh.
||By: Music Games International