As a member of TOS HomeschoolCrew, I was given the opportunity to use KinderBach online preschool piano program with my children. I need to state up front that my girls have been involved in a terrific early childhood music program since they were toddlers. Lulu is currently in a group piano class, and Louise will soon be graduating from a general music and movement class with an emphasis on piano and rhythm to the level one piano class. We have been tremendously pleased with their progress in the classes and really couldn’t be happier with the program they’re involved in. However, when reviewing KinderBach, I attempted to look at it as an alternative to a real, live class and not compare the two.
KinderBach is a six-level program, sixty week program (four lessons per week) that teaches keyboard skills (i.e. note location, etc.), rhythm (note values), some musical terminology, some solfege, treble and bass clefs, and much more. Students access teaching videos online. The lessons are taught by a woman with a pleasing and engaging demeanor. The lessons, at least in the beginning, involve songs , finger plays, and several engaging cartoon characters. There are also printable worksheets to accompany each lesson. This seems to be a solid music program, although it is one that would probably best be started at the beginning so that the students catch on to all the little tricks and shortcuts to remembering things (like note location, etc.) that are used.
There are a few things about the program that I find frustrating. The first one is more personal than anything, but someone else might be in a similar situation. We do not own a keyboard, but we do own a piano. However, our computer is on one end of our house and the piano is on another, and never the twain shall meet. This caused problems for us, but an obvious solution to this would be to use a keyboard. Another issue I had with the program is the size of the screen which plays the actual lessons. It takes up only the center portion of our large monitor, and there is plenty of white space all around. I could never find a way to make this box larger, so we were stuck, and I found it rather distracting. This was especially true when the worksheets were displayed: it was very difficult to see some of the items on the worksheets. Of course, the idea is to print out the worksheets and use them alongside the video. My girls, however, expected the program to be interactive, and it is not. Essentially, it boils down to watching a DVD on a small screen and completing related worksheets. (Actually, the whole program is also available on DVD, which might eliminate this problem altogether.)
I value music education very highly, and I personally see the value in “outsourcing” it, especially if you have no musical knowledge yourself. I think KinderBach would be an excellent choice for preschool and early elementary music instruction. It is available for as little as $95.88 for a year’s worth of access to the website and all of the lessons; this is a great bargain and much, much cheaper than an in-person music class.
Would you like to read more reviews of KinderBach? Visit the HomeschoolCrew blog!
I accessed this product free of charge for review purposes.
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