This is a review of the KinderBach program for children. I received the KinderBach online piano lesson membership with teacher corner to review. The teacher's corner is for those who teach in a group setting (like a classroom). The regular price is $130 for the year, but they are currently having a special limited time price of $95.88 for the whole year! That makes it about $7.99 a month. You can also try the program for free before you buy! That's a great way to introduce your children to the piano lessons to see if they like it before investing in the program. My particular package is completely online, so it does not need any additional purchases. The DVD's and CD's can be bought separately. The workbooks (for teachers and students) are PDF's that are downloadable and printable.
My daughter was more interested in the activity pages and my son loved the videos of the songs and the activities to go along with them. My son had almost no interest in the activity pages, although he did draw on a couple of them. He would still sit beside my daughter while she completed the pages and I went over the lesson and explained what was on the page. He seemed to be keeping up as quickly as she was.
The very first lesson is still Munchkin's favourite lesson and we start out every music lesson playing it. He enjoys toddler yoga and creative dancing, so he loved watching the screen and following Frisco's directions to move to the sound of the piano playing. He follows the on-screen directions much more clearly than my daughter. She has a sight problem (hence why she wears glasses!) so sometimes she can't focus on a screen that has fast moving images on it. Which is why I also participate in the singing and dancing. She watches what I do and mimics me. This has actually become an incredibly fun routine for us!
I like the way the lessons are set up. The lessons flow together smoothly (an easy pace for preschoolers) and it never feels like we are rushing into something and then have to stop suddenly. We watch the videos and participate in the activity, which is sometimes either singing or moving to the sound of the piano playing or completing activity pages that go with the video. Singing and dancing is fun, but my son hates when it stops. We usually play the videos multiple times if that's what they want to do. And since the lessons are about 4 per week we usually complete 2 of the videos and activities on one of those days.
This program is not difficult at all. It has been a really fun way to introduce my children to the world of music and instruments. They love playing on the piano now more than they did before. My kids even work together to help each other remember the notes and positions of keys on the keyboard and they assist each other with the activity pages. The activity pages and videos just become more exciting and they look forward to what they will be learning next.
This is what you would call a solid curriculum. Everything you need is online or you can purchase the DVD's or CD's. They include lesson plans for the teacher and student activity pages that go along with the lesson videos. They even have an iPad-iPod App and a storybook, which my kids love! Traditional piano lessons are something that I don't think my kids would enjoy (sit still for 20 minutes? I don't think so...), so we really love this in-home piano program! We use a piano keyboard to go along with the lessons as well as a few other instruments (like rhythm sticks). The keyboard we use is large, so my kids sit side-by-side at it. I use a dry erase marker on the keys to label the notes. They enjoy practicing playing it most days (and still freestyle play it!) but now I notice that they pay attention to the sound of each key and they can tell which notes are high and which notes are low.
The videos are set up to be watched one at a time and underneath the video is the printable worksheet to go along with the activity (if there is one). When we first started with the program I printed out the pages one at a time. But as we progressed further I started to print off a couple in advance. The activity pages were the hook that drew my daughter into the activity, so I needed to have them ready to show her so she would get excited and want to participate. This isn't to say she does not enjoy the program or have fun, she is just a child who prefers other activities more (science, math, that sort of thing). My son is really the one who adores this program! And recently he has started to want to participate in the activity pages, so I have been printing off two copies so they each have a chance to do them. I have laminated a few of their favourite activity pages and some of the others we use in a dry-erase sleeve, so they can work on them multiple times. The ones that are coloured and completed are stored in a folder so they can go back and look at their progress!
I would like to point out that there are currently five full levels available and a sixth that is coming soon! The PDF student printables range in 49-60 pages! That is a lot of activity pages! We have completed five weeks of the lessons and are currently working on the sixth week. We especially love how many ways you can learn with this program! Not only is this a music program to learn the piano, but it is one that gets you singing and dancing and gives you activity pages to better visualize and understand the process they are explaining in the video. I cannot complain about a program that uses both gross motor and fine motor skill development for learning!
One thing that I feel would be more useful would be the option (either paid separately or as part of the package) to select a physical copy of the activity book. We are fortunate to have a printer, but not every family can afford a printer because ink can be very expensive (especially when there are hundreds of pages to print over the course of the year). Having a physical copy of the activity books would have been a preference for me. This way all the pages are kept in order, the kids can bookmark where they left off and we wouldn't have so many loose pages everywhere. Although we do keep them in a manila folder, there have been a few times when the kids excitedly grabbed it off the desk and sent the pages everywhere. And then there's the fun part of trying to put them in order again. But since they do offer a DVD for the lesson videos, I feel it would be a great addition to also provide (or at least have the option for) a physical copy of the activity book.
There is only one (very small) issue I noticed and that is the picture quality of the videos is very fuzzy. When the video is minimized it is not such an issue, but as soon as we expand the video it is considerably more fuzzy. My children would prefer to watch the video at full screen, but that's hard to do when we can't select a higher resolution for the video. I'm not too tech-savvy, so I could only suggest either a higher resolution or providing an HD option. Since we are using the online lesson videos I cannot compare them to the DVD's and I expect the DVD's have a much clearer picture.
Overall we really like the KinderBach approach to teaching children about the piano! We will continue to use this program 3 days a week and I look forward to seeing how much Munchkin and Bean learn from it! I would definitely recommend this program for other homeschooling families with young children and I bet this would be a great program to use in a classroom. It's an engaging program that has kids moving and learning quickly which makes it a great option!
If you would like to find out more about KinderBach, here are their social media links!
Facebook for teachers: www.facebook.com/classroomkinderbach
YouTube: KinderBach Preschool Piano
You can also learn more about the KinderBach program by reading other reviews by the TOS Crew!