What is it:
Ableton builds hardware and software for creating music, and their website has free tutorials about music theory and production. Some of the tools are similar to those found on lots of other sites, but the Learning Synths tool is unique. And even the more common tools are well-made, with no ads or other distractions.
Who is it for:
Anyone who is curious about music or who just wants to play around. Kids who just want to make looping rhythms would have fun, and so would anyone who wants to learn the more complex aspects of music and sound.
What Kids Like:
Music education in elementary school often focuses on reading sheet music, and getting sounds out of difficult instruments such as the violin. But kids want to play and experiment with sounds. They want quick feedback as well, and the music-learning tutorials and tools encourage that kind of approach.
What Parents Like:
I like that kids can learn at their own pace, and learn things as deeply as they could anywhere else, without distraction or interruption.
The site assumes a baseline interest and awareness of music. Not every child will get something out of it. Those who do will end up making a lot of noise, so headphones may be useful.
Who Made it / History:
Ableton was founded in Berlin 1999. More
Where Can I Get it:
The two tutorial sets are:
• Learning Music, which covers all the basics of rhythm, chord, melody, etc. Kids can make their own songs out of available components.
• Learning Synths, which covers all the details of sound synthesis, including envelopes, oscillators, filters, etc. This tutorial culminates in The Playground (pictured above) where kids can make just about any sound imaginable.