Review of KinderBach: Early Music Lessons for Young Children

I played the piano as an elementary aged child into my high school years. I never particularly loved it- especially as I got into the stage where I had extended practice every day. But even after I stopped taking lessons, I’ve always enjoyed music. And I always have wanted to teach my children basics about music theory so that if they did decide to pursue playing an instrument, they would have some foundation. Last year we purchased a keyboard. Kathryne did some online piano lessons and worked on teaching herself to play with some beginner books, but her interest dwindled away. Rachel has actually had an interest in the keyboard all along. So when I heard about KinderBach, I wanted to give it a try for her.

KinderBach offers music instruction for young children in a home setting or offers resources for teachers of groups. They also have ipad and iphone apps for learning music. I received a six month subscription to The KinderBach Online Piano Lesson Membership With Teacher Corner. A One Year Online Subscription is $95.88. The membership gives access to six levels of instruction as well as downloadable color/activity books. Kinderbach is targeted to 3 to 7 years olds. Rachel is 8, but she typically doesn’t mind working below her age level, and she has very little music knowledge. After researching the site, I still thought this would be a good fit.

One of the nicest things about this program when we were first setting up is that, although they will use the keyboard in some places, the keyboard doesn’t hook up to the computer in any way. With older kids who were self paced, having the keyboard hooked up would probably be a good thing to test progress. But KinderBach is designed to be interactive with the parent/teacher involved. So you can use any keyboard, and it doesn’t have to be compatible with your computer.

After logging in, you can have access to six levels of instruction. Each level has 10 weeks of instruction with four lessons per week. A younger child would use this about four times a week in the schedule they have set. Rachel was able to do a few lessons each time because she is older and her attention span is longer. She likes to keep doing lessons until I tell her we need to stop for the day. Each level also has an activity book to print out and a map showing the parent/teacher what the child will learn each week and which pages of the activity book correspond with which lesson. It is very well explained and laid out.

Once you are logged in, you can also access the Teacher’s Corner. In addition to the student work book, the Teacher’s Corner provides many other resources. Some, such as the lesson plan book and teacher’s aid book, can be used when using KinderBach in a classroom situation. Others, such as mp3 songs, color sheets, a student goal book, and award certificates, can be used even with a single student in a homeschool.

I haven’t been using many of the lesson plans or teacher’s aid resources because I only have one student working in the program. I do print the activity books, and we put those in a notebook for her.

Usually I set Rachel up with the computer and keyboard and printed activity book, and I stay near her- not actually participating in the lesson but watching her work and making sure she understands and is completing the activities correctly. There have been a few times that we did make some of the different recommended learning aids- such as flash cards. But usually she just completes the activity book.

This program has been very young for Rachel. I think it may be too young for some 7 year olds I know. For us, it has been fine because Rachel doesn’t mind the very young child focus. She’s had fun coloring the pictures, finding Dodi’s house on the keyboard (the method they use for finding “c”), clapping rhythms and singing the songs. The lessons are very basic, beginning with concepts such as finding the two black notes with a white one in the middle- Dodi’s house-, clapping rhythm, identifying high and low. It isn’t until later lessons that the concept of notes is introduced. But Rachel seems to enjoy learning the basics- even if some of it she already knows.

As we used this program, I have seen that there is great potential here to use it in a classroom setting. Although I’m sure younger children who are doing it at home, as Rachel is, are enjoying it, there are so many great classroom resources that I think it would be great for a homeschool co-op or a preschool music classroom. The concepts are presented in such a fun way and in a way that young children will easily understand. And there are so many things that would be fun to do in a group of preschoolers.

My summary:
What is it? A six month membership to The KinderBach Online Piano Lesson Membership with Teacher Corner

Where can you learn more?

How much does it cost? $95.88 for a one year subscription for all six levels and the teacher’s resources

What do you need to use it?
1-A computer with a pretty good internet speed
2-A keyboard- It doesn’t have to be anything fancy.
3-Basic writing and craft supplies- pencils, scissors, glue, crayons
4-A printer for printing out the activity books

What do I think? It’s a great program for early music instruction. The concepts are explained in a simple and fun way. It would be really fun for a group of preschoolers.

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