KinderBach is a company that has created an early childhood, piano lesson program. Designed for ages 3-7, this online program contains 6 levels of video based sessions, designed to last approximately 60 weeks. The KinderBach Online Piano Lesson Membership with Teacher Corner gives access to all of the videos, as well as teacher lesson plans, student books, MP3 files, certificates, and more that you can print right at home. And it is easy to begin. All you need to get started is an online membership, a piano or keyboard, a computer with an internet connection, a printer, basic craft supplies (crayons, scissors, etc), and rhythm instruments (they can make their own by recycling or repurposing materials or they can use instruments you already have like maracas or rhythm sticks). That is all and off you go.
We were excited about this program because KinderBach describes itself as an introduction to piano for young beginners and I really wanted my kiddos to begin piano instruction. I could have taught them piano but I wasn’t sure I would do a great job because I am a self-taught player.
How We Used KinderBach
We were given The Online Piano Lesson Membership with Teacher Corner to review. We would log into the program and I would decide which of the printable pages we would need and use that day. I would print those. I would also look through several of the videos to find what else we might need – rhythm instruments, piano, colors, pencils, etc. The kids would gather those items. Then we would be ready to begin the videos for the day.
The kids would sit at the computer and watch the videos. If it was a movement song, they would get up and stand behind the chairs to move. If it was an activity that required an instrument, they would play along. If it was a singing song, they would sing. If they needed the piano, they would pause the video and go over to the piano. If they needed to play the piano along with the video, I would play the video when they were ready and then pause it after the song finished. If it was a coloring activity or an activity that required written responses to the video, they each had a clip board that their paper was on so that they could write while at the computer.
Each video session is fairly short (in the first couple of levels they were not much more than 5 minutes and most were shorter; in the later levels, the videos often ran 10 minutes or a bit more). In the lower levels, we would often do several sessions at one sitting. As they progressed, and depending on how busy our day was, we would do fewer in each sitting.
On to the Review
Honestly, I don’t know where to start in reviewing KinderBach. I am somewhat conflicted as to what to tell you. Have you ever had something where you knew it had value but there were things about it that really, really bothered you? Well, that is where I am. KinderBach is an introduction to piano and music education. It is not more than an introduction, though, so don’t expect full piano instruction or music education with this program.
Our family has approached this particular program differently than most people probably would. We are music people. My husband and I both have music degrees, with mine specifically being music education with an emphasis in elementary and preschool music. Our children were all reading rhythms and some solfege and our oldest was reading treble clef staff notation prior to beginning this program. They were all playing recorders.
The kids enjoyed it but I don’t feel like they learned very much. I want to cover both of those statements. They enjoyed it – they like all of the types of activities that KinderBach uses to teach the icon music notation that is used throughout much of the program. They love to sing and dance and move and play piano and play instruments and play games. They like silly songs. They enjoyed all of these things with KinderBach. But, I don’t feel like they learned much. They weren’t excited about learning music by completing worksheets and watching videos. They wanted to “do” a lot more music and thus would play over the video or get up during the video. I had to do a lot of redirecting.
Which brings me to my opinion of this program – I have a hard time recommending this program yet I see the value in it. A parent who has no background in music or music education could use this program and their children would learn some things. This is one of the benefits of this program. When you purchase the KinderBach Online Piano Lesson Membership with Teacher Corner for $130 per year, you get everything you need for your entire family to begin music instruction. It is a click and go type of program. The subscription contains everything a parent could need, with the exception of a piano, to use this program with their children. One subscription covers your entire family.
In the Teacher Corner, you will find:
- Lesson plan books for Levels 1-5 and 7
- Teacher Aid book for Levels 1-5
- Teacher Guide for Levels 1-3
- MP3 files for Levels 1-5
- Student Books for Levels 1-5 and 7
- Goal Book for Level 1
- Certificates for Level 1
- Story Books
- Coloring Books
- Songbooks with MP3 files
As a parent with no music background, you could purchase this program and have everything you need for your student to begin music education. I do not feel that KinderBach sets a child up to be able to step out of this program and into another one that goes further, however.
Will they be able to play the piano at the end of the 60 sessions? No. Will they be able to play a few songs? Yes. Will they know all of the notes? No but they will know all the letter names for the pitches of a C major scale. Will they be able to read rhythms? Yes, some. Will the child be able to sight read (sing and play) a song? Probably not but they do cover some good ways to approach learning sight reading. They will know a little bit of solfege (do, re, mi, fa, sol, la, ti, do) and the handsigns to go along with some of the pitches.
Our family will not continue using this product beyond the review period. The main reason is that I find some pedagogical problems with the teaching. I will give you a couple of specific examples.
There is value in using a sound name for rhythm notes (for example quarter note and half note) so that you can read them out loud and be able to evaluate if the student knows the rhythm that is being read. So, for each sound you would make on an instrument playing that rhythm note, your sound name needs to have one sound as well. This program gives the half note, which is defined as one sound that lasts for two beats, the name “stand-ing”. That is a 2 syllable word being used for a one sound note. My middle child noticed that and questioned it. KinderBach does the same thing with the whole note, only this time they use four words/four syllables for a note that is one sound lasting for four beats.
Another couple of quick examples of some teaching that I don’t like: 1) the preparation beats and pitches for the student when they are supposed to read/perform something is inconsistent, sometimes non-existent, and therefore the student often performs it wrong; and 2) when approaching much of the melodic instruction, there is not a tonal center.
Overall, there is inherent value in participating in making music and learning more about that process. Making music is joyful and that creates a happier child. Learning music and learning to play instruments has so many benefits that they cannot all be listed in one place. I want every single child to get to create music and joy in his life. Would I prefer a different program to do it with? Yes. But this one could get your child started. Anytime a child gets to make music and learn about the process of making music, I appreciate it! At Home.
Want a different opinion about this program? Head over to The Schoolhouse Review Crew and find many others who also had a chance to use this program and see what they had to say about it.