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Compose Yourself™

ThinkFun Inc.

Age: 6 years and up

MSRP (CAD): $17.99

MSRP (USD): $14.99

View on Manufacturer's Webpage
Gold 8b4cef7e9a0bac1ab1d13fd60fd4a0f877c195cacf562e0cba0d1469df0f2ecb

EDITOR'S REVIEW

While our testers who do have some musical background seemed to get the most enjoyment from this toy, we love that even kids with little or no musical background can have a quality musical experience as they play creatively with musical phrasings, then listen to an orchestra perform their composition. It's also a great way to get an intuitive feel for sight reading by following the highlighted musical phrases as the computer plays your composition. Cleverly designed with mix and match note sequences practically any combination sounds great, but the best experience comes from changing around your composition imtil you best like the way it sounds. Complete with a host of useful features, this is certainly one of our favourite toys this year, and perhaps the best musical activity we've ever come across.

WHAT THE KIDS SAY

Sebastien

13

It's really cool that I can make my own music by entering codes in the computer. I tried learning to play the piano and I quit but I wish I would have continued so I could have tried to play the music I was creating. It is fun to hear the music I design by an orchestra or just Marimba. I wish my music was longer.

Katie

7

I like writing music with this computer game. I don't use the computer too much but I really enjoyed playing this game and the songs were all so pretty. It was really easy to type the numbers in. I could do it on my own and every time I create a new song. I like the different sound options, too.

Meaghan

9

I really like this because you can make your own music, listen to it and even print it out. I have never seen a toy like this before. There are lots of cards to chose from and it was really easy to do and you can change around your music really fast and it's listen to it right away. It is super easy to change just a few notes or your whole song. My favourite is making a title for my song and printing it out. I have even tried to play piano with the music I made!

WHAT ADULTS THINK

Carolyn R.

Even though my F7 has no musical training, she enjoyed this product and her play time was comparable to that of other similar products. Packaging is minimal and comes with a handy, storage bag for the cards as well. All the songs she composed were lovely and the combinations were endless. A unique product with a very reasonable cost.

Melissa H.

M7 played with it on the computer and his brother (4) watched. While they loved entering codes and listening to their composition the first few times, the novelty wore off. I think maybe if my son (7) was more proficient in piano he might find the game more engaging, but his beginner knowledge meant that he was choosing cards at random. He loved hearing the playback and had great fun making the songs on the computer, but then it was sad for him to have to erase them and start again. The concept is really neat, but in reality my child had trouble manouvering around the computer and entering the card numbers correctly, which was a bit frustrating. The songs are beautiful though, I didn't consider it noise. The cards were very well made, but that the skill required to get the most out of them was high. A background in music would help the kids to understand a bit more. Definite educational value for anyone studying music or interested in it!

Kim M.

Definitely one the most unique musical toys/games/activities I have ever seen. It is easy to set up (with a simple and easy "create an account") and works beautifully, although I wish it had a few more modes to hear music on (ie. piano), as this would translate very easily into the current music lessons that 9 year old Meaghan is taking. It's a simple concept that allowed her to create, compose and hear her musical creations immediately. After signing up on the website, children can pick from 60 different transparent musical cards, enter the 4 digit code that is unique to each card and once at least 4 codes are entered (to a maximum of 16), press play and instant music is made! There are 3 different modes - orchestra, marimba or both. Cards can be electronically flipped without entering the code again. You can hear one card individually and swap it out for another. Your composition cannot be saved, but your child can make a title for it and print it out. I also like the social media part of it - which is you can share your composition with friends and family. This worked well and was another way to save the song. For the price, Compose Yourself is a great value. I just wish it had more applications (like having additional music instruments that can be played). The cards are easily stored in a small drawstring bag.

Sandra W.

A very unique toy that's easy to use and lots of fun. F6 played with it for over an hour the first time. She was able to compose her own music by picking out cards with notes on them, entering the codes from the cards into the website, and then the music was played back. She started taking music lessons last year so this toy was extra appealing to her and she was very proud of her compositions. Even randomly picking out music cards and putting them together, the music sounds really good! Music cards are printed on plastic, making them more durable. They fit back into a compact little bag that came with the box.

Cathy M.

Educational, yet so much fun and creativity. Love it! My daughter (7) has had great fun with this. Whichever way the cards are put in order, the melody comes out sounding great in the orchestra mode. But my daughter plays the violin and knows the differences between the various musical notes, so she actually seeks out various beats that she wants by searching through the cards and selecting whatever she thinks will work. All the compositions by daughter (7) has done sound beautiful in the orchestra mode; I don't think it is possible to make a song that does not sound good. The webpage is very straightforward. The fact that in addition to listening to the melody created, you can print it and play it at home on your own instrument, or share it with family and friends via social media or email is fantastic. We have tried the email sharing and while there is sometimes a long delay between the sharing request and the actual reception of it, it has eventually made its way to our inbox at every try. Storage is great with a little pouch to keep all the cards in. Educational, yet so much fun and creativity. Love it! A fantastic 'game/toy' for those who enjoy music, and likely good for those starting to learn about music.

FEATURES

Manufacturer Description

Invented by world-famous composer and cellist Philip Sheppard, Compose Yourself combines musical cards and an exclusive website into a multi-sensory experience that has anyone creating, playing and sharing a world-class composition in minutes. Flip, rotate, arrange and re-order 60 transparent Music Cards to create an interesting pattern. Enter your card codes on the web site and instantly hear it played by virtuoso percussionist Evelyn Glennie and a full symphony orchestra at historic Abbey Road Studios. You also get an mp3 audio file and sheet music to share. More than 200 million possible musical combinations! Compose Yourself brings out the music in everyone, especially children with no musical experience, and builds new thinking skills such as creativity, expression and confidence. Available exclusively on Amazon and ThinkFun.com. Also from Mastermind Toys in Canada.

Year Introduced

2015