The Mazaam app uses play, music and a rigorous methodology to favour the development of young children. A perfect combination to stimulate young minds that only want to learn, learn more and keep on learning! Jonathan Bolduc, Professor with the Faculty of Music of Université Laval and Canada Research Chairholder in Music and Learning, participated in creating the app. He reveals this new game’s unique and innovative approach.
What do you think distinguishes this app from other musical or educational games?
First of all, Mazaam uses recordings made by musicians and not computer-generated synthetic music. We selected a varied collection of pieces to make music come alive for children. We want to expose them to all styles, from baroque to contemporary, and all instruments – strings as well as woodwinds. Mazaam reproduces a concert experience for them!
Our educational approach adapted the tasks to children 4, 5 or 6 years old. Nothing was left to chance. The app supports young children’s musical development with short tasks, repeated animation, playful visuals and activities that call for parents to participate. Older children can also have fun with Mazaam. The tasks will be easier for them, so their progress will be faster.
You talk about pedagogy through play. What does this involve?
The period between ages 4 and 6 is the best time to put children in contact with music while having fun. At this stage of their development, it’s too early to teach them formal musical concepts, such as notes or the scale. Mazaam instead favours discovering music and becoming aware of sounds. For example, young children listen to a fast or slow excerpt and must perform an action. The objective isn’t for them to learn that a quarter note equals four sixteenth notes, but that sometimes in music, there are faster passages and slower passages.
How can parents get involved?
Mazaam proposes interactive activities that call for participation by parents, a teacher, an educator, a big brother or a big sister. Relationships with others are very important in the child’s cognitive and social development. Without interactions, the child can’t learn. That’s why we wanted a collaborative aspect. The parent doesn’t need to be a musician! His or her role is simply to support and play with the child.
How is the app universal?
The game is non-verbal and therefore accessible to all children, regardless of their mother tongue or their level of understanding of words. Everything in Mazaam is intuitive: the characters present the action to be performed in gestures the child can reproduce. Our objective is to have Mazaam travel all over the world.