Whether you’re a singer, a DJ, or a pianist, there’s an app out there designed to sharpen your music skills. But what about the aspiring musicians starting at square one? For young beginners, there’s Bandimal: a new music-making app that swaps out conventional instruments for cartoon animals.

As Co.Design reports, Bandimal is just the latest property in Yatatoy’s line of digital tools that promote creativity in kids. The design of the $4 iOS app is simple: Each character represents a different instrument, with larger animals like the ox and whale producing lower tones and smaller ones like the snake and turtle making higher ones. To make music, users select which animal they wish to “play” then drag the bars at the bottom of the screen to arrange the melody. Players can make the bars short or long depending on whether they want the notes to be low or high.

The concept may sound basic, but the app’s development wasn't so straightforward. It took the team at Yatatoy two years to finalize it. According to designer Lucas Zanotto the element that brought the whole project together was inspired by a real-life instrument played in Africa. Like the bars in Bandimal, the metal tabs on a Kalimba thumb piano come in varying lengths that correspond to their notes.

There’s another reason Bandimal is a great choice for novices: Every note fits into the key of C and the pentatonic scale, so it’s impossible to sound off-key. After orchestrating a few masterpieces, young musicians might be ready to move on to more kid-friendly apps that can teach them to read music as well as create it.

BANDIMAL from Lucas Zanotto on Vimeo.

[h/t Co.Design]