Saturday, April 27, 2013

Donna Weng Friedman Creates "Flight of the Bumble Bee" App

Donna Weng Friedman has created an iTunes app based on "The Flight of the Bumble Bee" that uses animation and music to introduce children to classical music. “Kids literally can’t enough of it,” notes Friedman, a classical pianist and piano teacher in New York City, who has two school-aged children herself. The app’s next installment will be released shortly and will feature the musical tale of “The Swan” set to the music of Camille Saint-Saens. The new app can be ordered here.

“The Flight of the Bumble Bee” app turns one of the world’s greatest classical scores into pure fun, taking children along on the thrilling adventure of a little bumble bee set to an original recording of NicolaiRimsky-Korsakov’s famous composition “The Flight of the Bumble Bee.” As they follow the notes and the imaginative, narrated tale of an impatient bee, kids can make the app’s brilliantly-illustrated characters “come alive” by tapping or touching the screen of their iPad.

With its combination of superb music—performed by some of America’s finest musicians and recorded by an 11-time Grammy winning producer—and entertaining video designed to fit perfectly with the musical twists and turns, the new app is already earning raves from children, educators, and parents alike.

Donna says of the new project, "I have created interactive classical music apps for children ages 2-8, featuring some of the world's top musicians, including Carter Brey, principal cellist of the NY Philharmonic.  My audio producer is 11-time Grammy award winner David Frost, and my art director is my 16 year old daughter, Mickey. I have written stories to go with famous short pieces in the classical music repertoire with the idea of teaching young children how to listen to and appreciate the storyline that is inherent in the music. The apps are designed for both visual and auditory learners."

Donna has given workshops and demonstrations at schools in New York to 100 children, and "they all love the apps, especially the music. It is almost like bringing a mini concert to children, families and schools, giving some who may not otherwise have the opportunity to hear great music performed by great musicians."

NY Parenting Magazine will feature a story on the apps in the May issue.

The “The Flight of the Bumble Bee” app offers a variety of options that allow children to customize their musical experience. These include: 
  • The bumble bee’s story told with narration, music and interactive animation
  • The story told with read-along text for young readers, in addition to narration, music and interactive animation
  • Music and interactive animation only (kids, make up your own story!) 
  • A paint-to-the-music option that lets kids of all ages use their fingers to “paint” directly on the screen
  • The app also features a Korean-language version as well as an engaging maze game, in which kids help the little bee escape the spider web and get back to the beehive.

Experts in child growth and development agree that nurturing an appreciation and understanding of the “language of music” helps children flourish, intellectually and emotionally. Children may view this app as an entertaining game—but parents and educators will know that they’re also benefiting from the brain stimulation that classical music provides to growing minds. 

Children will ask for the app because it’s fun and holds their attention,” says family therapist Peter Abrons, PhD, “while parents will appreciate the beneficial effects that stem from this musical exposure. It’s a win-win!”

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