Wednesday, October 10, 2012

KinderBach Review - Simply Discover Piano


KinderBach is a program that teaches children ages 3-7 how to play the piano. Karri Gregor who is the creator and teacher of KinderBach has decades of teaching experience and has taught thousands of students. Through a simple, fun and unique method she teaches piano, note reading, rhythm and more using fun songs, colorful videos, games and printable worksheets. You don't even need a piano just a keyboard will do. And NO music knowledge is necessary!

From the KinderBach website "T
he best time to learn a language or to begin playing a musical instrument is 3 - 6 years of age. Research clearly shows Piano is the best instrument with the most benefits to brain development. Starting early with Music and Piano for Children is the best thing you can do for your child's brain development."

A moms review: 
I mentioned it before music is NOT my strongest area. But it is an area I feel is very important for children to learn and explore. Gwyn my 6 yr old really, really, really wants to either take music lessons or singing lessons. Neither are something we can afford right now. So when we got accepted for the KinderBach review I was very excited that she could finally learn piano and from the comfort of our own home. The first time we logged both kids were super excited and hooked after the first video.  

We reviewed the online version of Kinderbach and have made it a little over halfway through level 2. There are 6 levels all together. Each level contains 10 weeks and each week has 4 videos for a total of about 22 hrs of video and interactive worksheets. Level 1 to 6 covers proper hand and finger position for the music scale, as well as staff note reading by pattern for voice, and keyboard. Before each video you will be given brief instructions and told what supplies will be needed for the 4 lessons that week. This is a great help for us busy moms. We used a kids keyboard we got at Goodwill for $4 for the lessons and took turns. I did have Rowyn try out a keyboard App on my phone which worked okay as well but not as good as the actual keyboard. The online program is easy to navigate and my 5 and 6 yr old had no problem moving through the videos all by themselves...even though with this program I was normally right there beside them so I could learn as well. Once in a lesson all they needed to do to move on was click the green arrow.

With in each level there is a GREAT 
printable activity eBook to go along with the lessons. This is a great way reinforce the learning making it concrete and tactile. There are games, puzzles, puppets and music. Since the eBooks are quite lengthy I only printed one copy and had the children share and take turns (yet another valuable lesson learned). Utilizing the eBook is very important because the pages are done during the videos along with Ms. Gregor. The eBook is also a great way to keep track of what lesson you ended on since this is not able to be tracked within the program.

I printed the entire eBook for each level prior to starting so it was all done in advance. I liked that this option was available using the print book icon at the bottom of the level screen (see picture above of level 1).

Or if you choose to you can also print the pages up before each video lesson utilizing by clicking the print icon and link.

Print Keyboard landscape, identifying 2 black key groups

When we watched the first video Gwyn stated "Mommy she is just like a nice Grandma." And I couldn't agree more. Ms. Gregor has a sweet, soft spoken, patient tone that makes children feel happy and at ease. It was like taking piano lessons with your Grandma. The video backgrounds are done in a cartoon style and of different places around a home. Ms. Gregor is sometimes in a kitchen, living room, hallway etc. The video style really appealed to my children (I think it reminded them of Blues Clues). Ms. Gregor directs her questions and actions to the children engaging and involving them in the learning. Often when she would present a question my children would answer as though she was sitting right in front of us (heck I cannot even get them to do that to me). I also liked that many of the songs in KinderBach were songs that the kids were familiar with like Twinkle Twinkle Little Star, Take Me Out To The Ball Game, Happy Birthday, etc.

The lessons are engaging and are generally only take about 5 minutes or less to complete. They are perfect for short attention spans and there is lots of flexibility as to how quickly or slowly you want to proceed through them. My kids were very eager each time we log on so they almost always completed 2 weeks (or 8 lessons) in a sitting. We utilized KinderBach about 2 times a week. Each week there is also a little review from the previous week and the lessons build upon one another so I would recommend starting at the beginning and not skipping lessons. The program is great for all learning styles.

I was thrilled that the program not only teaches how to play the piano but that it also teaches notes.  I was grinning ear to ear the first time I heard the kids walking around the house clapping and saying thats one quarter note, that's two quarter notes. KinderBach does not color, sticker, or number keys or turn the keyboard sideways. Instead they just teach children where the notes are using ANY piano without ANY additions. There are some props and characters that are used for keyboard games to help reinforce where the notes and groups of keys are.

Throughout the program kids are introduced to some fun, adorable characters called the "Piano Pals" that help them remember keys, notes, sounds, etc through games, stories and songs. These characters really grabbed my children's attention and helped them utilize their wonderful imaginations (another added BONUS for KinderBach). Many of these fun characters live on he piano where they make their homes. Let me introduce you to a few of our families favorites.

Our families favorite is Dodi. Dodi helps us remember where the "D key" is by explaining that he lives between the two black keys. But because it is cramped between the two black keys he needs to come out to play. There are really cute printables in the eBook that can be colored and added to the keyboard to help children remember where Dodi lives. Right now Dodi is having a fun contest on his webpage.

Our families second favorite characters so far are the Beat Bugs...SOUND OFF! These adorable guys are the military organization for music and help children remember strong, medium and weak beats. They are super cute and have funny voices.

There is also Miss Diddle, Bruno, Frisco, Carla the Caterpillar, Felicity the Frog, the Football fingers and many more.

Materials needed for online lessons:
The materials you need for the online lessons are very inexpensive and many of them you probably have laying around the house.

-Computer and internet access (of course) - many times we just did our lesson right on the laptop. A few times we connected the laptop to the TV via an HDMI cable and watched them that way
-Keyboard - we picked ours up Goodwill for only $4
-Rhythm instrument - if you don't already have a rhythm instrument you can easily make one using a container filled with rice or beans
-Crayons, colored penciles or markers
-Writing utensil
-Scissors and glue
-Binder - for the workbook

If you have any musical knowledge you can also easily add onto the lessons that are taught in KinderBach. I don't know much but after we did the "introduction of the first pre-staff note reading pattern" lesson I couldn't resist teaching my children the "Do, Re, Mi" song and demonstrating how the song starts out low and ends up higher because the notes are stepping up. 

I did try KinderBach on my Android phone and it worked fine so this would be a good program to use on a long car ride. It should also work on an Android Tablet (ours getting repaired so I couldn't try it), Kindle Fire and Nook.

The program is also available in DVD format as well. And if you have an iPhone or iPhone there is even an App program which several crew members have reviewed as well (click banner or link below). The App has the keyboard on the screen. 

FREE stuff:
KinderBach offers lots of fun Freebies be sure to check them out and try out KinderBach for yourself.

-Sheet music sample books

-Coloring pages
-Patriotic song sheet music page and audio
-Test out a FREE online lesson for yourself here
-And you can also try out two weeks free by signing up here

Wrap up:
We love KinderBach and will be completing all 60 weeks in this program. The specified age range is right on target. Considering what piano lessons cost these days the cost of the program is very reasonable especially if you have multiple children involved in the lessons. KinderBach is a great way to bring the family together. Have fun and simply discover piano with KinderBach!

Gwyns review (6 yrs old):

I like the music program because it is amazing and fun and you learn a lot. I learned music is important. I learned about quarter notes, clapping notes, high and low sounds and lots of other stuff.

Rowyn review (5 yrs old):
I like to learn about quarter notes and its super duper fun (sorry he isn't as opinionated as my daughter).

Links to follow:
-KinderBach Website
-KinderBach Facebook
-KinderBach YouTube

Where to buy:
KinderBach's online program is $19.99 billed monthly for a year or $95.88 billed in a one time annual payment (making it only $7.99 a month). NO RISK 30 Day Money Back Guarantee!

Click here for more KinderBach reviews from the The Schoolhouse Review Crew.

*Disclaimer - As part of the TOS Review Crew I received a 6 month membership to KinderBach in return for my honest review. Please note that prices indicated in the post are subject to change. I was not compensated for my review and all opinions are our own! Many of the links found on my side bars and in my blog posts are affiliate links. As a result, I might get paid money and I will most likely spend the money on homeschool supplies.

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