We’re at T-minus one week, ONE WEEK PEOPLE, until Christmas Eve. Are you ready? I am. Maybe. Kinda. I should probably wrap gifts and make sure I’m not missing anyone. And I think I need to get a few more little things. And you know, I don’t think Christmas cards are going to happen again this year and we moved in February so I’m pretty sure the mail forwarding has expired and any cards headed our way are all going to be Return To Sender and people are going to think we’re dead and I’d say pass the eggnog but I don’t like eggnog so just pass me whatever you put in eggnog and we’ll call it good.
So, if you are like me and a wee bit behind the 8-ball in getting it together gift-wise, I’m here to help.
I received a copy of Compose Yourself for review, and this post contains affiliate links. This post, however, is low fat, certified gluten free, and was never tested on animals.
I was recently contacted by ThinkFun to see if I’d be interested in trying out some of their new games in advance of holiday shopping. Being a lifelong musician (minus nine years), I jumped on the chance to play with Compose Yourself. Hm. How best to describe? It’s a stack of transparent cards, each with a measure of music printed on them. Because of the transparency, you can flip and rotate the cards to get four different variations. Set out 4-16 of these cards, in any order, and boom! You have written a piece of music. But wait, what does it sound like? That’s when you go to the special website for Compose Yourself, plug in the numbers in the upper left hand corner (remember there are four different variations, and each one has its own number), and the website plays your composition for you. You can hear it performed on solo marimba (recorded by Evelyn Glennie, who is a world-renowned percussionist and, believe it or not, is deaf), by a full symphony orchestra, or both. It’s a clever concept, and I enjoyed tinkering with it.
Only one of my boys would play with it; the other was neck-deep in end of term projects he had put off (much to my homeschooling chagrin). But J enjoyed it and wrote a few ditties before giving it back to me and returning to the mind-sucking world of Minecraft. Again with the breaking of mama’s musician heart…
This is a great intro to composition for younger kids, maybe 6-11 or so. I had only a few issues with it. For starters, I really wish there was an app instead of a website. The website doesn’t work too well on mobile, and with so many kids using iPods and iPads, an app would be a great addition to this game. My other quibble was strictly musical; I’d love to have the option to speed up or slow down the composition. How fun would it be to write a piece, get it to a tempo you like, and save it as a ringtone? No? Just me? Look, I need text/ring tones for different people, it’s the only way I can keep up. Plus I’m easily entertained.
We’ve had ThinkFun games in our house for years. I think the first one we got was Rush Hour, waaaayy back when Andy was in occupational therapy, lo those many years ago. We played Zingo! when the boys were emerging readers, and used to play Math Dice before the dice were sucked into the collection now in one of the boys’ rooms (just like grandpa…who, we discovered over Thanksgiving, has a die with 5s on all sides…made playing Ship, Captain, Crew entertaining).
Feel a little better? Have some ideas for your nieces and nephews? Take a deep breath, have some wine. With online shopping and quick delivery, your shopping fears are over. Maybe. Kinda.
Could you, uh, pass whatever you’re pouring into your eggnog? Thanks.