Wednesday, April 6, 2011

TOS Review: Kinderbach

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When Lauren spent so long in the hospital a few years ago, one of the highlights of her week was music time. When she was healthy enough, she joined music group in the playroom a couple of mornings a week. She also had at least one or two private music therapy sessions each week. When we came home, I never found any music activities for her to participate in. In fact, I had almost forgotten how much she loved music until we were chosen to do a review for KinderBach.

KinderBach is a music introduction program for 3 to 7 year olds that combines video instruction with hands-on piano activities. It is organized into 60 weeks of lessons with four short video segments for each week. The lessons are accompanied by printable activity books which contain games, puzzles, coloring pages, and printable music.

In some of the first lessons, Lauren practiced identifying high and low notes while listening to a piece. Based on the sounds played on the video, she would either reach up high or stoop down low. She enjoyed this activity so much that we watched that video segment over and over again. The corresponding printable page had her color the apples on the tree for high notes or color the ones on the ground for low notes.

She also really enjoyed the videos that encouraged her to use a rhythm instrument and play along. There wasn't a need to find anything fancy; she was happy to have wooden spoons to tap together or an empty container to use as a drum.

In this picture, Lauren was working on week 5 of the program. After watching the video on the computer, we walked into the living room and found the new keys. This lesson introduced the groups of three black keys, which were referred to as train stations. We returned to the computer and watched a song introduced in the next video session. She returned to the piano to play the new song. (Before you get too excited about playing a song so quickly, the song was just the train station keys played in a quarter note pattern. I sang along.)


I am very impressed with the amount of music knowledge a preschooler would acquire working through the KinderBach program. According to their website, "Kids will enjoy playing simple songs, identifying music direction, learning new rhythm notes and their beat value. 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." Even though Lauren has only started the program, I watched videos from all the levels to see what was covered. This isn't just a piano playing program; a child will acquire a large music vocabulary and lots of music theory. In one video from Level 6, I watched the instructor talk a student through a new piece of music -- she talked about the time signature, the fact that it was to be played loudly (forte), and more. In level 6, the student will be playing simple songs like London Bridge or Old MacDonald's Farm.

As part of my review, I was able to preview the Level 7 materials that should be released in August 2011, and I continue to be impressed. These lessons will cover chords, solfege for singing, playing songs by ear, and more.

KinderBach is available as a one-year subscription for $95.88 or as a monthly subscription for $19.99 per month.

Honestly, I wasn't sure what I thought about KinderBach when we started. As we continued to use it, I've really been impressed. Lauren loves watching the videos, and I've noticed her stopping by the piano occasionally to play a few notes. I remember how much Lauren loved her music opportunities in the past, and I think that KinderBach is a perfect way to allow her to pursue those interests at home. I've already decided on a lot of the academic curriculum she'll use next year, and I'm strongly considering adding KinderBach to her schedule. It can be her special subject to pursue -- one that's perhaps not essential for a Kindergarten curriculum, but perfect for her.

If you'd like to read what other homeschool families thought about their time spent using KinderBach with their children, please visit The Old Schoolhouse Review Crew blog here.

I received a three month membership to KinderBach for free as a member of the 2010 TOS Homeschool Review Crew, and I received no other compensation. In return, I agreed to give an honest review of the materials and how they worked for my homeschool family.


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