Mazaam Interactive Inc. affiliated itself with the Canada Research Chair in Music and Learning and Chairholder professor Jonathan Bolduc Ph.D., to develop Mazaam and the Mazaam Academy with the goal of supporting the musical and global development of preschool-age children (4-6 years old).
The design of the Mazaam app is based on a broad empirical framework. The most recent knowledge related to children’s development supports the choice of the proposed operations. All of the actions in the project have the goal of meeting the stated objectives: support children’s development and stimulate their interest in music.
The Canada Research Chair in Music and Learning proposes different operations to support children’s cognitive development that favour their educational success.
These cognitive functions, known as executive functions, are developed through the different experiences to which children are exposed. A preschool-age child’s executive functions would be associated with the following three components:
Store information, reuse information and manipulate information.
Ability to master their thoughts and actions, resist temptation, distractions.
Ability to change perspective, adapt to demand or to changes presented to them and to manipulate information kept in their working memory.
Children can also develop complementary skills which can help them when they learn to read:
skills represent phonological awareness which is the best predictor of successful reading and writing from the start of elementary school.
Complementary to cognitive development, social development plays a determining role in the educational success of preschool-age children.
For this reason, Mazaam offers a “Duo mode” in augmented reality, presenting different motor operations that favour the adoption of synchronous motor gestures by children and their parent or by children and their peers.
Mazaam features five worlds divided according to certain musical parameters (pitch,tempo, intensity, timbre and harmony), which include operations aimed at the development of preschool-age children (4-6 years).
Music involves low-pitched and high-pitched sounds that create melodies. The child must differentiate between these high-pitched and low-pitched musical excerpts.
The tempo sets the rhythm of a musical movement. The child must differentiate between slow and fast musical excerpts.
The child has fun discovering the different degrees of intensity of sounds: soft or loud.
Timbre is the “colour” of sound, the way each sound is produced. For example, it lets you distinguish a flute from a violin. The child must differentiate between string instruments and wind instruments.
Musical harmony contains different elements, including consonance and dissonance. The child learns to distinguish between more harmonious or more discordant excerpts.
Associating a musical excerpt with a symbol implies that children first must inhibit the surrounding stimuli so that they pay attention to the musical parameters of the excerpt presented. Identifying a musical excerpt by choosing between two excerpts or detecting one of three musical excerpts also calls on inhibition and working memory.
Mazaam stands out from the other apps on the market by its use of a catalogue of classical music recordings.
Teaching of music theory and auditory training usually call on custom excerpts composed in MIDI format. However, the great works of the repertoire and real musical instruments have inestimable musical value for any child, musician or not.
Children exposed to quality music at an early age would have better chances of developing their tonal and rhythmic sense and their taste for music.
Jonathan Bolduc has been devoted to pedagogy and research into early childhood music education for over 20 years. As the Chairholder of the Canada Research Chair in Music and Learning, he is fuelled by innovation.
In designing the Mazaam app, he contributed his expertise to build the game experiences that the child will take part in. These games are a fun, easy, and completely original way to expose children to the benefits of music.