Inspiration

We're a group of older tech managers who want to keep their programming skills healthy and have always been drawn to music trivia since we built an Android game, Juke Box Hero, in 2011. Since then, the music licensing has become ultra-tight killing that app's viability. Instead, being we all have children and grandchildren now, we decided to help keep traditional nursery rhymes alive and well by gamifying those songs as well more modern midi-inspired songs and personal recordings.

Finally, having Echo devices ourselves, we've been frustrated by this BE-QUIET nature to Alexa game interactions and wanted to accommodate chatter and interaction while playing. You will see that your natural inclination to sing along with, and talk about your quesses and answers, is built right into this skill.

What it does

Kids age 5-9 and parents alike will be challenged to a game of name-that-song. The music has no lyrics but is adjusted or performed to play only the most familiar part. You will still be challenged since the music is comprised of countless nursery rhymes, ageless movie and play themes, and holiday-appropriate music (until the holidays are over) along with a couple twists.

How I built it

Java all the way baby. Uniquely, this skill is designed to tolerate the natural inclination to sing-along and the inevitable post-guess discussion that ensues once someone answers.

Challenges I ran into

I realized watching kids play this skill that there needs to be a variety of song name options, some of which change culturally. Hence I needed to build flexibility into matching utterances. Accommodating unexpected and out-of-order responses and chatter.

Accomplishments that I'm proud of

Getting it done by Christmas. Pure license-free-ness of the midi-borne music plus convincing my 16-year-old to play some of the music on the piano.

What I learned

Java is 10000% better than Python but only 5% better than Javascript. Alexa mp3 playback requirements are funny how low quality they are. Music needs to be level-normalized and cut to the most familiar parts.

What's next for Kids Kazamo

Expanding the song choices and I have another idea to make this even more engaging which is likely to come in another submission in a couple weeks.

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Updates

Eric Roubal posted an update

Finally all done now. Been working on this since September. Music in this skill is quite extensive (>120 songs). I favor a collection which are more familiar to kids and mix in old-school nursery rhymes which can be used to teach kids those timeless songs that have lived through the ages and help us define who we are. I'm proud of the production quality and edge cases I cover.

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Eric Roubal posted an update

Watching the logs at first, I found an error which happened when someone guessed a song (or Alexa interpreted it as such) after they already guessed. I then replaced their score with 0 points instead! whoops

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