Raise your hands if you come from a musical family...okay, I see a few of you out there, hey, that's super. I, do not. I always wished that my parents had provided some kind of musical education, but well, it didn't happen.
My husband, on the other hand, comes from a very musical family. Everyone played an instrument, and they actually traveled somewhat extensively across the United States, and I think Canada as well, playing at various church venues.
Bringing us back to the subject at hand now, when our children approached school age, we (my husband and I) agreed that they should learn to play an instrument. We also agreed that we wanted to start them out on the piano.
A little time passed, and I began thinking more and more of adding this to our studies.
Enter TOS Homeschool Crew. I was given the wonderful opportunity to review an online musical program over the course of a few months.
KinderBach is a program designed to be used with children aged approximately 3-7 years old. Lessons are divided up into various levels, with about 12 weeks per level. Right now, there are 6 levels to work through, but there is a 7th one in the works. Within each week are 4 sessions. You choose how often you would like to use the sessions throughout the week. They are not very long, and we would frequently do several at a time. Let me tell you what you'll find in each lesson...
Allow me to introduce you to Miss Karri- aka Karri MacGregor, the founder and creator of KinderBach. With a background in musical education and visual arts, among other things, Karri does a really nice job presenting each session. She has a very natural way of communicating with children, speaking to them on their level, but not condescending to them. Miss Karri introduces us to some fun characters who assist the kids in learning their way around the keyboard. We meet Dodi, a sweet little donkey, who also lives on the 2 black keys of the piano, and Frisco, who is a nice little boy who shows us how to "walk" with a musical note. Then there are the beat bugs, who, naturally, teach us about the beats in the music. My favorite is Gracie the gorilla. There are many more, but I don't want to give everything away ;)
At this point, I want to mention that at first, I was expecting KinderBach to be a "Teach your child to play the piano in __ lessons" kind of program. Yes, they will learn, but it's more than that. KinderBach also provides a general musical foundation for children. Your children will learn ear training, aural discrimination, finger position, rhythm, and more! In addition to the songs and games that are a part of each session, there are printable worksheets that accompany many of them. These include song sheets that allow the child to follow along a bit better, matching and activity games, and crafts that go with the lesson.
This would be an appropriate time to stop and mention that KinderBach offers additional songbooks to purchase and use anytime throughout your music lessons. They are priced at $23.95. Some more extras to mention...
You'll love the coloring storybooks availailable on pdf for downloading. Each one features a character and reinforces a specific music concept. There are also several crafts and activity books you may purchase and download. You can even download a Dodi poster for free! Prices vary for the others, so you can check the website.
One of the best features of this program is that it accommodates many different learning styles. Rather than the student merely sitting in front of the computer or television and listening, Karri engages the children and encourages their active participation. So, whether you have a kinesthetic learner, a visual learner, a traditional worksheet loving kind of kid, you will find that KinderBach probably has something here for them.
Also good to mention is the research that has been put into this program. Apparently, young students achieve much more when they have studied music, particularly piano. To borrow a phrase from their website, playing the piano makes their brains smarter.
So, our family gave this a trial run online, and it worked out pretty well. We liked the convenience and portability of the computer, and it was easy to print out the accompanying worksheets. If this seems like an appealing option for your family, here is your pricing information. You can make a one time payment of $95.88, or you can opt for the monthly subscription which costs $19.95 per month.
Maybe you have an issue with slower internet. That's okay, there is another option. KinderBach also offers this program on DVD or Cd's! Buy one level at a time for $40.45, or check out their website for prices on bundles.
Let's talk about customer service for a moment. KinderBach wants you to be a happy customer, whether you choose the online or the DVD method. They are so confident in their product that they offer the first 2 weeks of lessons free for online users. They don't stop there though. All of their products have a 30 day money back guarantee if you aren't satisfied. Additionally, KinderBach has a lifetime replacement deal if the DVDs or Cd's get broken or damaged for any reason. Are you convinced yet?
Why don't I tell you how our children felt about it?
You know, initially, for some unknown reason, they were a little unsure about piano lessons in general. I couldn't tell you why. But... from the first lesson they were on board. Karri has that 'je ne sais quoi' kind of quality that just appeals to kids. They love the rhythm activities, the crafts, the characters, and of course, fiddling around on the keyboard. One of the characters in particular is a surfer dude kind of guy, and really just brings my girls to giggles every time. KinderBach has been a great resource that has them requesting it every day of the week. It's been a valuable addition, and I encourage you to try it out for yourself :)
** I received a free subscription to KinderBach in exchange for my honest opinion of it, with no additional compensation.
Ages: 3-7 years
Prices: Online subscription- one time payment of $95.88, or monthly subscription of $19.95 per month. DVDs, Cd's available beginning at $40.45