Monday, October 15, 2012

Learning to Play Piano and More - A New TOS Review!!

My children love music, so I want to build on that to make sure they understand the basics of music both singing and reading and even writing their own musical scores - if that's what they want to do. The last Crew year I had the opportunity to review Kinderbach by the creator, Karri Gregor, and my girls LOVED it! So when we had the opportunity to review the program again I signed up as soon as I could.
The Program:
This music program is designed for children ages 3 through 7, which brings one of my children 'out of the age range. However, I think it depends on each child, because she still LOVES the program and I will find her going around the house doing her daily chores or schoolwork while singing or humming tunes from the program.  But before I get going on how we used it this time let me tell you a little more about the program.

The program currently has 6 levels that have 10 lessons in each.  Each lesson is divided into 4 sub-lessons which can be done on the same day or separated throughout the week. Although they are intended to be done 4 lessons per week.  Each sub-lesson is short, about 5 minutes, so you can learn music in small increments and review throughout the rest of the day.  If you have younger children, say in the 2-4 age range, these shorter segments are just long enough to keep their FULL attention before they are ready to go on to their next adventure.
The BEAT Bugs
On the other hand, you can watch several sub-lessons per 'class' if you have older students who just don't want to stop the learning. ;)  I tended to do this for my girls if we were doing class while Seanan was napping or doing some other activity.  My girls, being on the edge of the older range (7 and 9) still enjoy the program, but can handle doing an entire lesson or even a few.

Each lesson is packed with fun characters - like Dodi and Frisco (among many others) - catchy tunes and childhood songs that you will recognize (like Hot Cross Buns).  She also has worksheets/lesson packets, games and cute videos all designed to build interest and teach beginning piano instruction at a very early age.

One of the best things about the program is that it can be used by ANYONE with or without a musical background. You will also need a keyboard of some sort, an Internet connection (since the lessons are online), and then other items from around the house that can be used as rhythm instruments (such as an old juice or milk container). The program is designed to teach introductory music theory, note identification, music reading, ear training, hand positions on the keyboard and of course rhythm!  It is a complete package ready to go - check out their detailed syllabus!

This year Kinderbach also introduced their App which is available currently for the first 3 levels giving you a year's worth of instruction at your fingertips.  Other members of the Crew were able to check out the School Version of the iPad App so make sure you check below and read their reviews too! Online access costs $95.88 for a year's access or you can pay $19.99 monthly.  The NEW iPad App is $26.99 for the full app, but is available to try as a download for  FREE!

Don't forget to check out the FREE lessons, some FREE song downloads, sample of one of the books, coloring pages and even the fun loving characters that your children will fall in love with in the very first lesson! And you can try it all with a 30 day guarantee!

Our Experience:
As I started to share earlier all my children LOVE this program.  This time through Seanan has been able to participate more.  One of his favorite episodes was when Miss Karri suggested to use a juice container as a drum.  He was ALL about that and made sure we saved the last orange juice container so he could use it for his lessons! That's great!!
Due to an issue with my printer not wanting to communicate any longer with my computer (still trying to figure that out) at the beginning of our review program I wasn't able to use the worksheets as much as I would have liked.  Instead I had my children pretend they were coloring them or act out something instead of the coloring.

For instance one of the lessons is High/Low and you are to color apples on a page with a tree. The "high" sounds get colored on the tree and the "low" sound is when you color the apple on the ground.  So instead of coloring I had them jump up and stand for the high sounds and squat for the low sounds.  They liked that just as much. Thankfully I was able to start printing the level books once I was able to use hubby's computer, but this goes to show that you can still capitalize on the lesson even if they don't have the worksheet to go along with it.

I am so pleased that my girls have also been able to progress on their own lessons. Since they remembered some of what we did last time, we went a little quicker through the beginning lessons.  I'm actually using the program at two different levels so that Seanan can learn at a pace that is more appropriate for his age (3.5) while not holding my older two girls back any.  I've also been able to use Kinderbach when I'm babysitting a few other kiddos that are on the younger age range (also 3.5 and a 2yo).  They love it just as much!

My Thoughts:
I am amazed at how much Seanan has learned in such a short time.  He already knows that a walk is a quarter note and that it has a specific rhythm beat in songs. That's just awesome, especially when he comes from some musical parents! And I would have had no idea where to start teaching those concepts and probably wouldn't have until he was much older.
I was also happy to learn that Miss Karri is working on Level 7 which will start right where Level 6 stops.  And now with the App there are so many ways to help your child learn music theory and how to play the piano that there is no reason not to start.

 I'd highly encourage you to take some time and read how other Crew members used Kinderbach in their family either as an online program or as an iPad App.  If you'd like you can find them on Facebook.  You can email Miss Karri if you have any further questions.


*** I am a member of The Old Schoolhouse 2011-2012 Crew and receive free products and services in exchange for a thorough and honest review. Though I am compensated with free products, I am not compensated in the form of money for any of my reviews. My reviews will always reflect my honest opinions, findings, beliefs and experiences with the products and services that I receive.***

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