Have you heard of a new interactive music system called the BEAMZ player? I hadn’t. It’s this neat new player that allows you to touch beams of light to “play” music.
Having never heard of this fun new music player prior to getting the opportunity to test it out, I wanted to be sure I understood what the product concept was all about and what was included in the player. A little background on the BEAMZ player direct from the product website:
Interactively engaging kids of all ages into music
Beamz is an innovative and fun musical instrument that brings kids of all ages into the experience of creating and playing music. It is an authentically “cool” instrument and engagement tool for teachers to bring their students into music in an extraordinary way.
The Beamz provides the following music education benefits and attributes:
- It is forever intriguing to students and tends to command the complete attention of 100% of individuals in any room, immediately.
- While there is no “learning” to play the instrument and can be played very well instantly, with practice there are infinite levels of growth attainable.
- The system is 100% inclusive: it is impossible to get anything wrong, make a mistake, or “fail,” no matter what you do. No student need ever feel inferior to another player.
- The Beamz works as an excellent incentive or “reward” tool for students.
- It’s highly interactive. While it can be played alone, the system naturally “invites” others to join in.
- The Beamz have the unique capability of either having a very calming effect, or a very rousing effect – depending!
- The Beamz interfaces easily with SmartBoard, classroom PCs and projectors.
- The Beamz can help students take on class-leadership roles (i.e. one person “leads” with the Beamz while others play other instruments).
- The Beamz have proven to have incalculable applications for educators with students with special needs in Occupational and Music Therapy settings (including students with cognitive challenges and limited mobility).
The BEAMZ player is meant for young and old, though it does mention that supervision is needed for children under 7. With kids ages 2 and 4, we definitely needed to supervise. The last thing I wanted was for them to come barreling down from their naps and lunging for it!
The player itself is thin and lightweight so I made sure the boys were aware that it was a delicate piece of equipment. In fact, our first time using the product I only felt comfortable allowing our 4 year old to test it out. While he may have needed us to install the software and show him what the music player was all about, he certainly took control of his own music making abilities quickly!
Connecting the BEAMZ player to the laptop was simple, as was the download of software. We did need to open the file folder and execute the .exe file, but the software directions walked this through step-by-step just in case the file did not open automatically. We also had to install a service pack for our operating system, but again, this was clearly stated in our directions. These two additional steps took hardly no time at all. Once connected, you can see the player is ready for use by the red beams of light that are on the side of it.
Cbear, being only 4 years old, needed a little help getting the gist of how the BEAMZ player worked. My husband helped by playing the opposite side of the player so they could play together.
On the laptop you can also see a virtual display of the Beams player. At this point, Cbear was playing the BEAMZ player while Daddy was playing sounds from the laptop. Additionally, you can also see the music video of the song being played on the laptop.
After a few tries, Cbear totally understood that each of the four beams of light played a different sound. Because of his age, we opted to try the Kids selection for him. He absolutely loved the animal sounds from Old MacDonald.
He was a bit slow at playing the beams of light at first…
…and slowly picked up speed …
… and finally we started playing with two hands!
Cbear loved playing with the music as well as trying to make up his own silly sounds as he went along. We were also able to record his first musical masterpieces simply with the BEAMZ player! Let’s just say he definitely needs some practice!
Cbear has asked to play “the music light” several times since we first tested it out last week. Since school has let out for the summer, I certainly see us using the BEAMZ player often over the summer as a fun way to explore music. Cbear is a very typical, energetic boy and I found this was very helpful at directing his attention for long(ish) periods of time. It’s also been a great incentive for him when he’s looking for a reward of some kind.I prefer having a carrot rather than a stick, and this is definitely a great “carrot”!
I’ll end with a glimpse of how excited Cbear was to Play the Light!
*Disclosure: This product has been provided as part of a social shopper insights study for Collective Bias. All opinions are my own. #CBias #SocialFabric