Review: Compose Yourself, The Wildly Addictive Music Construction Set

compose yourself

Should I flip card 0102?  I mean it sounds cool, but maybe I want a faster opening to my composition and should go with 0104.  And should I repeat 0191 twice to create a little more tension?

These are the questions you start asking yourself once you have played with Compose Yourself by Thinkfun.  The hardest thing about Compose Yourself is knowing what to call it.  Is it a toy, an educational device or learning tool?  Who knows, but what I do know is it is one of the most exciting and well executed products we have reviewed in a long time.  How else could someone as musically untalented as me have composed this piece in 30 seconds…

Compose Yourself is a set of 60 translucent music cards.  Arrange those cards in any order you like and in minutes you have composed your own song.  Enter the codes from the cards into the website and instantly hear your composition performed by an orchestra at world famous Abbey Road Studios, under the direction of World Famous Composer Philip Sheppard.

You need to watch and more importantly listen to our video review of Compose Yourself -

Philip Sheppard, The Mad Maestro Behind Compose Yourself

Philip Sheppard is a world famous composer, producer and virtuoso cellist.  Mr Sheppard has scored over 30 movies and produced numerous live events such as the Beijing and London Olympics.  While there is no denying that Philip Sheppard is a musical genius I do need to question his business sense.  Why in the world would he create a product that allows any child, with no musical experience, to compose beautiful music?  How long before a team of 8 year olds starts scoring the next Star Wars movie?

Philip Sheppard may be creating more competition for himself, but as a Dad I am all for it.  It is a truly amazing thing to watch your kids build a full musical composition in minutes.  Kids build cars, buildings and planes with construction sets, why not build compositions with a music construction kit.

Yes, The Cards Are Important and No, This Shouldn’t Be An App

Some may look at Compose Yourself and ask if the 60 translucent music cards are necessary.  Why not just make an app, with segments of music, that kids could drag and drop to make music?  I firmly believe the physical translucent cards are a key to the learning aspect of Compose Yourself.

Kids can actually pick up a segment of music and flip and rotate it and see how the sound changes.  Kids can hold two cards next to each other and look at how they differ in some ways and how that effects the music they produce.  There is something truly educational and dare I say magical to build, create and edit music by placing cards on a table.  Remember, Philip Sheppard has some how worked it out that no matter how you arrange the cards, the composition still sounds terrific.

The other key to having physical cards is that kids can work together.  Yes, at first they will need to put each card number into the computer to learn how it sounds, but after a while they get the feel for each sound.  Once this happens, kids can build music together much as they would build a spaceship together.  They will learn what “blocks” to put in to speed things up or which ones create tension.  Compose Yourself is so successful because it blends physical music building blocks with an easy to use digital site.

Don’t Skip Over The Tips!

The kids will be having so much fun composing music, they may well skip over the Tips from Philip Sheppard on the Compose Yourself site.  This would be a mistake!  We absolutely love the tips and they add a great deal to the overall value of the product.

Many kids are intimidated by composing music.  They feel it requires a whole new language and skill set that they don’t have.   Philip Sheppard explains how making music is just like telling a story.  With Compose Yourself kids don’t need to know how to read or write music, they just use their ears and wonderful imagination to paint a story with sounds.

Yes, You Should Buy Compose Yourself

In case you haven’t figured it out, we absolutely love Compose Yourself.   Sometimes when we love a product it is priced so high we need to do a whole matrix of who should buy it and is it worth it.  Compose Yourself sells for about $15, which means unless you only have $14 to your name, you should buy it.

Seriously, if your children have the slightest interest in music, Compose Yourself is an absolute must have.  Of course by children, I am referring to anyone under the age of 156.  My kids would love to compose more with Compose Yourself, but I have been too busy working on my masterpiece.  Yes, I definitely need to flip card 0102.  Gotta go, translucent cards are dancing in my head…

More Information:

Learn More About Compose Yourself by Thinkfun

Purchase Compose Yourself for $14.99 on Amazon.


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