Wednesday, June 6, 2012

BEAMZ- Music of the future!

My kids love music, mostly kids' songs and things they hear on the radio but nevertheless they love music. I remember when I was young my parents encouraged me to play an instrument. I was basically persuaded to take piano lessons while my brother attempted guitar lessons. We both failed to excel at either. However, when we were older we did play in band at school and we both enjoyed it immensely.

Ok, I know I got a little off topic but I am going somewhere with this. I don't want to strongly persuade my kids to learn how to play an instrument or sing, or do anything musical if they don't want to. I think it's more important to expose them to music and the more creative you can get the better. We've done simple things like blowing over jars filled with water to more complicated instruments such as recorders. Do they know how to play songs on either? Nope, but they are able to make a semi decent sound and right now that's what is important to me.

The latest creative idea to expose my children to music is the BEAMZ Interactive Music System. I'm not sure if you've heard of it but it's an instrument/game/tool that combines two of my loves, music and technology. It's a way children and adults can express their own musical creativity in a fun and engaging way. Here's more about the BEAMZ (taken from the website):
The Beamz is an innovative recreational musical instrument and music entertainment product that enables people of all ages and skill levels to have fun creating and playing music. By breaking the path of each beam, this laser trigger-based instrument will unleash the musician in anyone. With the Beamz interactive music system, you can arrange, create and play music like never before – everything is setup for you to to sound great no matter how you touch the lasers and play the light. The Beamz interactive music song library includes top hits, party favorites and original works from Grammy award winning artists.
What I love the most about Beamz is that it can be used for a wide range of people. DJ's use it to make hype up a party. Musicians use it to create new songs or remix songs they have already written. Educators use it as an inclusion tool (all kids can use it) to expose children to music and encourage leadership/teamwork roles. Therapists use it as a physical and mental therapy tool for physically/mentally  disabled and special needs clients.

So how did my family use it and what did we think?

Well first, the Beamz is HUGE! Just check out the box:
So I opened it up and it seemed like a pretty easy set up. There was a start up disc with the program information that had to be installed:
And this is where things began to get a little tricky. Installation was a little confusing.

 It seemed simple but I couldn't figure out if I had everything that I needed. And it does take up quite a bit of space.
However, I do like the quick reminder at the end to register your device.

My only other issue was set up. The device is pretty big and you must have it connected to the computer. I tried it at our breakfast table and it fit okay. Now it was time to test it out.

Starting up was simple. You just clicked the shortcut on your desk top and the playing screen pops up. It looks like a smaller version of the actual device. You use the onscreen prompts to pick a song from the playlist. Once you pick a song your instruments will show up on the screen. You just pass your hand through the corresponding laser path (noticeable by the red lights you will see on the ends (we couldn't see the actual laser going across) and you're playing that instrument. If you hit the rhythm button then the actual song (we picked BINGO for the kids) will begin to play. Then you can free style away.

Now I must warn you. This is fun and addictive! However, there is a learning curve. I would suggest you peruse the owners manual and use the HELP when you first start playing around. We never actually made it sound like the songs we saw in the sample video but it was fun seeing the kids create their own songs. And the best part, you can even record the songs and play them back for the kids to hear what they create. There is also a game that comes on the disc. We haven't quite mastered it or figured it out but it looks like a lot of fun!

So if you want to check out this new and innovative mix of technology and music then head on over to Beamz and learn more and then head on over and purchase one for yourself!




Disclosure: This product has been provided as part of a social shopper insights study for Collective Bias. #CBias All thoughts and opinions expressed are my own.

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