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Dan Zanes Wonder Wheel: A music storybook app

Dan Zanes has won many awards for his contributions to music.
Kevin Winter/Getty Images

There are millions of apps on the market that aim to entertain children. Most apps that are geared towards children also attempt to teach them something and this makes engaging media educational as well as amusing. Music is a topic that can be explored via app games and one of the most interesting music-related apps is called “Dan’s Zanes Wonder Wheel.”

Dan Zanes is a Grammy-winning musician who gained fame in the 1980s as part of the band “The Del Fuegos” which was named “Best New Band” by Rolling Stone Magazine in 1984. At present he oversees his own series of music classes at the Brooklyn Conservatory of Music and has won prestigious honors at events like the “Independent Music Awards.”

In the 1990s, Dan took his young daughter to playgrounds in NYC. He subsequently formed a band with the fathers of other children. Hence, “The Wonderland String Band” was formed. This band was dedicated to children’s music and they played at parks and children’s parties. Dan later added women to his group, renamed it the “Rocket Ship Revue” and started working on a home-made album filled with music that could be enjoyed by both adults and children.

“Rocket Ship Revue” released their first album in 2000. The album, called “Rocket Ship Beach,” was a hit. New York Times Magazine gave it rave reviews and the positive feedback inspired Dan Zanes to create additional albums like “Family Dance” (released in 2001), “Night Time” (2002) and “House Party” (2003). Many of these songs featured other famous musicians (such as Sheryl Crow) and were played on children’s television stations such as the Disney Channel and Nickelodeon. In 2007, Dan Zanes was awarded a Grammy for “Best Musical Album for Children” for “Catch That Train,” released in 2006. Furthermore, in 2013 he released an album called “Turn, Turn, Turn” with fellow family musician Elizabeth Mitchell that went on to win “Parent’s Choice Gold.”

Noting Dan Zanes incredible success in the genre of children’s music it is fitting that he decided to expand his talents into an app. Hence, in 2013 “Dan Zanes Wonder Wheel” was released onto the iTunes store. The app features bright drawings and a colorful keyboard at the bottom of the page. Children can click the keyboard keys to experiment with sounds. Tabs on the left and the right side of the page also give children the opportunity to play around with different sounds and create musical beats. Additionally, the app plays Dan Zanes music which is accompanied by lyrics and pictures that match the tunes’ topic. Children who like music will be especially drawn to this app for its highly engaging level of activity, fun visuals, and catchy musical rhythms.

The app sells on iTunes for 99 cents:
https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/dan-zanes-wonder-wheel/id813711606?mt=8

To learn more about Dan Zanes’ Brooklyn-based music classes see here:
http://www.bqcm.org/danzanes.htm