I have a child who loves music. She goes around the house dancing and making up songs throughout our days together. In fact, at one point, I was driving her 45 minutes each way to go to a preschool music class that was perfect for her age group. It became too much of a hassle and expense to take her, so when I got the chance to review KinderBach for the Schoolhouse Review Crew, I jumped at it.
I received a six month membership to The KinderBach Online Piano Lesson Membership with Teacher Corner. This membership includes sixty weeks of online lessons, all the associated activity books, extra song books, coloring books, mp3 downloads, classroom teacher guides, classroom teaching aides and even a pdf storybook to download. Everything you’re going to need for instruction will be found online.
There are a few things that you’re going to need to be able to use this program:
- A computer for viewing the lessons online and printing out the activity sheets for the lessons
- A internet connection (faster than dial-up) for streaming the lesson videos
- A keyboard. You don’t need a full sized piano, but you will need a keyboard with 3-4 octaves for completing the lesson activities
- Basic art and craft supplies. Crayons, scissors, etc.
- Many lessons call for use of a rhythm instrument. This can be as upscale as a pair of maracas or a toy drum or as simple as a wooden spoon on a pot. Karri shows several ways to make your own homemade rhythm instruments as the videos progress.
This product is geared toward children who are 3-7 years old. As you’re about to see, I used it with all four of my children. They are 8, 7, 4, and 2.
I was initially skeptical of the program. The characters are cartoony, and the videos are simple. The entire lesson is contained on the video. Often your child will need to play the keyboard along with Karri on the video or play a rhythm instrument along. Sometimes there is a coloring sheet that needs to be filled in as you listen. Other times there’s something that you need to pause the video to do and then come back to it.
Here are a few shots that I took of the lesson introducing the three black keys, which she calls the train station. This is about the point where I realized how much my four year old was enjoying and learning from the program. He was able to correctly find the two black key groups and the three black key groups and loved talking about “Dodi’s house” and the “train station.”
It was at that point that we went online and downloaded the “Train Stations” pdf book and the train station and Dodi’s house coloring books for him to color. He wanted to talk about Dodi and the train stations. He wanted to use the little cards that we made as a craft to label these spaces on the keyboard. He was excited and I was starting to believe that the instruction was working.
She also has many hands-on ways for you to learn the ideas taught other than just on the piano. One of those ways is through the worksheets that are associated with most lessons. The children loved being able to color coloring pages of their favorite characters, and I think that helped them make the connections with the keys.
Many of these activities are meant to be done while you’re watching the video as a way to hold their interest and have them interact with the screen. For example, there are several worksheets where you listen to sounds and categorize them as “high or low” and “piano or loud.” This allows them to think and answer before they hear the correct answer on the screen.
Another thing that Karri likes to have them do is to make hands-on games to practice their skills. For example, you can see in the top left corner of the collage below a finger number game. These cards are colored exactly alike, and then are used to match together the finger number (indicated on the hand with a colored in fingernail) with the number on the bottom of the card. This is great practice for visual discrimination and for learning the numbers 1-5.
As you can also see from the collage below, Monkey insisted on cutting his own cards out. Cutting boxes is a great preschool practice activity, and I was glad to be able to give him and Owlet the practice on something that they thought was really fun to do!
The children often wanted to do more than one lesson at a time, and since the lessons are short and the skills are easy, I let them. Don’t worry about letting them do that. There’s a lot of review built into the lessons, and since you’re streaming this online, you can always go back and redo a lesson if they completely miss the concept. I had to go back and redo the first lesson on “standing”/half notes for Rose because she didn’t get the concept.
This is a product that every one has benefited from. Even my eight year old, who has had piano lessons, has benefited from all the work with the rhythm instruments. He suddenly understands about holding things on a rhythm pattern and keeping the pattern.
It was a little over the head of my two year old, but she did learn about Dodi’s houses and Train stations and really enjoy herself. I think that if I had slowed down just for her that she would have gotten a little more out of it, but when I say it’s time for KinderBach, she yells “Yay!” and runs to the computer.
I know that most of my pictures featured my four year old. This is because he’s at the perfect age that KinderBach is targeted for both in KinderBach instruction and in the extra preschool skills that so many of the activities are designed for. All four of my children loved and asked daily for time to learn KinderBach. It’s also as easy as can be to use KinderBach. All you have to do is open up the computer and print out whatever worksheet you might be using that day. The worksheet is even at the bottom of the screen for easy reference when you open up a specific lesson.
Another thing that comes with the online membership is the teacher corner. Teacher corner is meant to adapt KinderBach to the classroom It sometimes enriches the lessons and comes with teacher helps and lesson plans for using KinderBach. I think it would be great fun to use some of these to as a part of co-op for the preschool aged children.
As of today, they are offering a year’s membership for $95.88. This works out to $7.99 per month. I do not know how long this price is available, but regular price is only $130, and this is one price for the whole family. As you saw in the review, I had four children using this product at once. Even with one child using it, the deal is very good. If you will have multiple children using the curriculum, this is a phenomenal deal for music theory and introductory piano.