Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Review of Kinderbach

For the past several weeks, my six year-old twins have been learning how to play the piano with Kinderbach. I have heard of Kinderbach for years, ever since I started homeschooling, so I was delighted to have the opportunity to use their online piano lessons free in exchange for my review.

My two oldest children (9 and 7) take piano lessons, and my twins have been anxious to start.  As they are still a little too young, it was especially gratifying to be able to let them learn piano online! Kinderbach offers DVD packages, song CDs, and, the option I am reviewing, online classes.  Each of these elements can be used in isolation from the others, which allows for a great deal of flexibility and financial choice.

Kinderbach is designed for children as young as two, depending on an individual child's maturity and interest.  Because the classes are self-paced, your child really can determine how fast she advances.   Further, the Kinderbach curriculum is so visually and aurally interesting that young children are naturally drawn into it.

Characters who remain with the program throughout become like friends as they teach children the basic elements of music reading and playing.  Lessons can be replayed, paused, and skipped (not recommended!) as many times as necessary for optimal learning.  Further, worksheet and coloring pages serve as reinforcement when the lesson ends.

Best of all, a child need not be able to read in order to derive the full benefits of Kinderbach.  

The lessons themselves are presented as short videos that include animations, songs, and piano instruction.  You can work with either a piano or a keyboard; my twins used both. I found the most effective way to present Kinderbach was to place my laptop on top of the piano and then just let my twins do their lesson.  As each week is broken up into four lessons, there is no need to create lesson plans for Kinderbach -- it's already done for you!

 While my twins are not yet done with Kinderbach (the program, if followed as presented takes about a year to complete, with about 22 total hours of video instruction included), but they have learned so much in the time they have been using it! They can identify notes on the piano, can read quarter notes on a staff, and know how to play quite a few notes in the correct time (i.e., a quarter note is worth a count of one).

Although I had shied away from Kinderbach in the past because of its cost, it is only after using it that I realize just how economical the program is.  For just $95.88/year, every child in your family can access Kinderbach - the video lessons and all of the printed resources - for an entire year.  Whether you have one child or ten, the cost is the same.  Kinderbach is an excellent way to teach your children basic music theory, as well as teaching them the basics of playing the piano.  No piano teacher can match that price for *one* child, let alone more.  If you prefer, you can subscribe to Kinderbach on a monthly basis, paying $19.99 month, billed monthly.  Best of all, you can access the first two weeks of Kinderbach absolutely free in order to determine if it is right for your family.

Kinderbach has fit in well with our homeschooling life.  To see what other members of the Crew thought, you can, as always, check out the Crew blog! If you have further questions about Kinderbach, feel free to contact them.

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