For the past 6 weeks, we've been singing, dancing, listening to stories, coloring, playing rhythm instruments and more to learn to "play the piano."
We've been learning music concepts and theory, with KinderBach, using fun activities and characters, like Dodi, a donkey who lives on the two black keys.
KinderBach provides online piano lessons for children ages 3-7. I reviewed The KinderBach Online Piano Lesson Membership with Teacher Corner with my two children, Bo and Elli, who are at both ends of the target age.
Some supplies are needed for this program:
- Computer – for viewing web video lessons and/or printing activity pages
- Hi Speed Internet
- Rhythm instruments (wooden spoons, plastic bowls and pots and pans work just fine)
- Craft materials – Scissors, printer paper, crayons, markers, craft paper or card stock, and glue.
How it works:
KinderBach lessons are divided into levels and each level has ten weeks of content. Three levels could easily be done in one school year.
Students are not required to 'sit at the piano' to learn!
In fact, movement is incorporated in the program so that your child is up singing songs and down to color, listen and play rhythm instruments.
- Up: Opening Song: "Hello Friend"
- Down: Play: "Twinkle" with rhythm instruments and music pages.
- Up: Play "Hot Cross Buns" with actions and body movement.
- Down: Review "Walk" symbol (quarter note) and clap symbols.
The lesson plans follow this format including preparation for crafts from the videos, and then you watch the videos and close out the session with the closing song, "Music Time is Over."
This particular day (Week 4, Day 2), we colored and cut out "D house cards" (the 2 black keys) and found them on the keyboard and on a paper keyboard. (This is Week 4, sessions 3 and 4).
Following the lesson plans in this way, we can do one weeks worth of lessons in two 50 minute sessions, or four 25 minute sessions. (It doesn't take us quite that long, but the videos themselves are rather short, so this stretches the lessons out).
- $7.99 a month – Billed in a 1-time annual payment of $95.88 per year
- Online Membership with access to 240 lessons
- Downloadable MP3s
- Teacher's Book PDF
- Lesson Plans
- Teacher Aids (includes full color versions of activities in the Student Activity Books and more)
- Student Activity Books
- Story Books, Song Books, and Coloring Books
You can try the first two weeks for free.
KinderBach Levels 1 to 3 are also available in iPad/iPhone apps along with 6 iPad games. The first two weeks are free and then you can purchase each additional lesson one at a time, with no subscription required. In other words, once you buy it, it's yours to use for as long as you want. The first game is included with the first two weeks, and additional games are unlocked as you purchase more lessons. The app also includes a keyboard.
I particularly liked the Teacher Aids. I used them to review (and have fun with!) music theory concepts with Bo.
(Just so you know, my printer won't print black ink right now, so the quality is much better than what I was able to print).
This activity is to review aural discrimination between loud and quiet sounds. I make a loud or a quiet sound, and Bo puts a button on the correct gum ball machine.
This is an aural discrimination review of high and low sounds. I used Bo's xylophone to play a high or low sound. If the sound is high, he places an apple in the tree. If the sound is low, he places an apple on the ground.
Bo enjoyed playing and also having me play! He played the sound and then told me if it was "low" or "high."
Finger Numbering System
In this game, Bo is learning the finger numbering system. This is important to know which finger plays which key on the piano. He is matching up the fingers with their corresponding number using star stickers.
Dodi's House and the Train Station
KinderBach uses character cards to help students remember keys on the piano. "Dodi's House" is always the set of two black keys, and the "Train Station" is always the set of three black keys.
Practicing finger placement also strengthens his muscles in his hands and fine motor control. (The keys are black in the printable, but my printer wasn't printing correctly).
KinderBach has Seven Areas of Music Development:
- Ear or Listening Skills (high-low, loud-quiet)
- Sight or Note Reading (recognizing 2 black and 3 black key groups)
- Rhythm (understanding the beat value and rhythm of quarter notes and half notes)
- Hand Position or Technique (playing the piano - learning the finger numbering system, strengthen fine motor control)
- Singing (using Solfege intervals of la, so, me, ray, and do, and echo sing different patterns).
- Composition (understanding that music is created by people, including children!)
- Performance (play or sing songs for others using rhythm, voice, and keyboard)
The examples above are from Level 1, and the concepts advance through each level. Students who finish all 6 levels are ready to start private piano lessons.
Online piano lessons with KinderBach can be a wonderful alternative to expensive private lessons and can easily be taught at home without prior experience. I like that the lessons prepare children for The Three "R's" and enhance reading readiness, math, and language skills. In fact, making music uses both sides of the brain, and can be helpful in left/right brain integration and tracking.
We started out with lots of interest and excitement over the program, but both my 3 year old and 7 year old lost interest in the program before the end of Level 1. Elli, my 7 year old, grew bored - it was a little too slow and repetitive for her and she lost her enthusiasm for the program. Bo adores his sister and feeds off of her enthusiasm, so he was keen to catch on to her lack of interest. So, 7 might be a little too old for the program.
The videos are designed to teach your child, but if you follow the teacher lesson plans, the program involves some teacher prep: accessing files, reading the lesson plans, gathering supplies, printing worksheets and activities, and setting up the keyboard and the computer to watch the video. The lesson plans seemed like more work for me and made the lessons a bit too long for us.
I appreciate that movement is incorporated into the lessons, but following the program as suggested (4-25 minute sessons or 2-50 minute sessons) makes the lessons too long. Shorter lessons - no more than 10 minutes, would be easier.
I also think it would be much easier if all of the information, including the lesson plans and music files were all accessible from the lesson page, and not just in separate files. Currently, you can access the worksheet from the Student Activity Book and the video only from the lesson page. It is nice that the printable is right there, but the other files, including the music and song files (or even links to the files) on the same page would be helpful.
Finally, I would love to see a remake of the videos so they are of better quality. The program has good, meaningful content, but the videos are of poor quality. If we put them in full screen, the video is blurry.
I think KinderBach is a great concept. I like that the program uses fun characters and activities and that it has wonderful teacher resources and quality printables. I like the variety of activities and that we were singing, dancing, listening to stories, coloring, playing rhythm instruments and more to learn to "play the piano." But, I liked the theory part of the class more than the learning to play the piano part. In fact, I would love to see just a "music" class for those of us who are not musically inclined, and want to explore more areas of music.
If the above link isn't working, you can access my Crew mates reviews here!
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