Today’s review is of KinderBach, which gives online piano lessons for preschoolers (approximately ages 3-7). My 3-year-old, 5-year-old, and I have spent the last 6 weeks using KinderBach, specifically The KinderBach Online Piano Lesson Membership with Teacher Corner. We were able to complete Level 1 of the 6 levels. Each level has 10 weeks of lessons, with 4 lessons per week.
The Teacher Corner for Level 1 contains (and we received):
Level 1 Lesson Plan Book (25 pgs)
Level 1 Teacher Aid Book (73 pgs)
Levels 1 to 3 Teacher Guide (24 pgs)
Level 1 Audio MP3s (30 MP3 tracks)
Level 1 Student Book (49 pgs)
Level 1 Goal Book (35 pgs)
Level 1 Certificates
My children found KinderBach very engaging. We rarely did only one lesson at a time–they wanted to keep on going and going! And often they wanted to repeat a previous lesson from the time before. Miss Karri who teaches the lessons really connects to the kids well. She is fun and funny. :)
There is also a wide variety between the lessons. One lesson might have a song for them to listen to (with photos or graphics to watch), the next could have them play along with a rhythm instrument or the piano, the next a coloring sheet to go along with a new musical concept, the next a game to learn a new concept, and the next might be a cut-and-paste activity. I printed out the PDF file of the Level 1 activites and put them in a notebook for each child.
For the mom (homeschool teacher) who will be facilitating the lessons:
All the lessons are found online, so you just need a computer with sound to watch them. Each week’s lessons begin with a short introduction, where the teacher tells you what to expect to learn that week and what materials will be needed (usually a piano or keyboard, crayons, scissors, glue, and a rhythm instrument.) You don’t have to worry about having any special rhythm instruments. She often uses things she finds in the kitchen such as a cereal bowl and a spoon! You also don’t need to know anything about music or how to play the piano to help your kids with this program. You’ll learn everything along with them! The lessons are only about 5-10 minutes each, so don’t worry about being overwhelmed with another curriculum. You can do as much or as little as you can at each teaching session.
My unique perspective as a fellow early childhood music teacher:
I could see what the teacher was trying to teach to the kids–which are some of the hurdles for early music learners. I’m glad she decided to tackle these really early on since they are so basic. The concepts are
- recognizing the pattern of the piano keyboard (2 black keys vs. 3 black keys)
- steady beat
- knowing the finger numbers (labeling your fingers 1-5)
- quarter notes vs. half notes
- that half notes have 2 beats, but only one note plays for it
- strong and weak beats
- high and low pitches
- stepping up notes vs. staying the same
One of the greatest things about the program is that she uses really fun ways to get these concepts into the young kids’ hands, ears, and minds. There is a cute donkey named Dodi who lives at the 2 black keys of the piano. The Train Station is where the 3 black keys are. A boy named Frisco represents “walk” which is the way the kids learn about quarter notes. And the Beat Bugs are lots of fun for helping kids understand stong and weak beats.
Sitting at the computer to watch the lesson:
A Game to Learn Loud vs. Quiet:
On screen is the “music” they are learning. Frisco represents quarter notes:
Playing steady beat with a plastic container and wooden spoon:
Finding Dodi’s house (the two black keys) on the piano keyboard. This is basic for the kids being able to find the notes later on:
Sometimes, even my one-year-old joined in!
There were a few things that could be improved upon. The video of the lesson wasn’t always very clear, but was blurry. We got used to it though. Other times the sound wasn’t balanced. The background music was too loud and we couldn’t understand the words the teacher was singing. The DVD of the lessons is also available. It says on the website that it’s much higher quality since it’s not streaming over the internet. I didn’t review it though. The biggest disappointment for my 5-year-old daughter was that there wasn’t very much actual piano playing in this first set of lessons. I know why there wasn’t; the kids have to learn all the basics first. I’m sure there will be more piano playing in future lessons. I’m going to continue them with my 3-year-old son, who is in fact begging me to go to the next lesson as I write this!
Overall, I found KinderBach a good beginning music program for young children. I like how it gives the kids a good music foundation and is fun at the same time. I also loved the activity book that is included with the lessons. It was fun for them to have a new sheet to look at each day, with something to color or do or even play on the piano! I’m glad to have more lessons included in my subscription so I can continue with my son and see how much he can learn!
* Access to all web lessons (over 240 sessions!) by computer, iPad, Android Tablet, Kindle Fire or Nook.
* Accompanying downloaded PDF activity pages
* Access to all Teacher Corner materials for Levels 1 to 6 PDFs and Audio MP3s
* Download all story books, coloring pages and song books!
Facebook for Teachers: www.facebook.com/classroomkinderbach
YouTube: KinderBach Preschool Piano