Thursday, February 2, 2012

TOS Crew: Kinderbach

KinderBach is an early-education music program aimed to teach young children (about age 3-7) music and keyboard fundamentals in a fun, relaxed way. The lessons are available through a web-based subscription or on DVD. All you need is a computer, keyboard, and printer, along with a high speed Internet connection or a DVD player. Lessons are currently being re-formatted to work on iPad, iTouch and iPhone devices. (I actually watched several lessons on an Android smart phone when I was going through the material.) You'll also use craft materials in some of the lessons, for coloring and cutting out, and maybe laminating for durability.

This is the third time we've reviewed KinderBach. Sad to say, Youngest has outgrown the program. I could not get her to sit down and watch the videos with me this time. At the ripe old age of 13, she moaned and complained that the videos (that she'd pronounced "cute" our last time around) were painful to watch. I think it's a teen thing. She liked the videos when she was younger. You can find our previous reviews here and here. (I'm not too happy with WordPress, my former blog host, at the moment. At one of the links there was an advertisement featuring scantily clad women. I didn't put it there. I apologize if there's objectionable advertising at any of the links provided in this post.)

Lessons are very short. Many that I watched were less than ten minutes, and involve all sorts of different modalities: listening, singing, coloring, clapping, standing up straight when you hear high notes, crouching down low when you hear low notes, banging out rhythms, and eventually playing on a keyboard. A parent doesn't need musical training to use KinderBach with a child. Some parental preparation (like printing out worksheets or making manipulatives for lessons, as well as watching the lessons and playing at music with the child (yes, I said "playing at" and not just "playing" -- this curriculum feels more like a game than a lesson.)

The teacher, Miss Karri, is bright and cheerful. Her helpers are cartoon characters who help illustrate concepts. For example, a donkey named "Dodi" has his house nestled on the "D" key. It's a simple way to be able to find the "D" key anywhere along the length of a keyboard.

Lessons are slow-paced; think about early education television shows you might have seen. Perhaps boring for a ten-year-old, but just perfect for a preschooler. Miss Karri talks directly to the viewer and even waits for responses or offers a word of encouragement or praise. Your young musician might want to watch a video segment over and over, and that's fine. The program is designed to progress at your child's pace.

Workbook pages are included with the lessons, available in PDF format for printing. Here's an example of a workbook page:
This is one of the more advanced lessons. Earlier lessons will have your child coloring Dodi, or coloring beats in a measure, or illustrating other simple concepts.

Currently, 240 online lessons (60 weeks, with four lessons per week) are available, in six levels. A seventh level is under development.

Additional materials are available at the KinderBach website, including coloring books, music books, free resources, and teacher helps.

Pricing and availability

A KinderBach online subscription starts as low as $7.99 a month for a one-year subscription (with a $95.88 payment), or $19.99 a month if you pay on a monthly basis. You can also get a day pass for $5.95, which gives you access to all the levels for a day. Subscriptions come with a 30-day money back guarantee.

A coupon code is currently available that will get you a 30% discount off any order, and it's good for a year. Just use coupon code TOScrew2012 when you order.

But don't just take my word for it! You can try the first few KinderBach lessons for free at this link.

Read more TOS Crew reviews of KinderBach here.

Disclaimer: Our family received a free three-month subscription to KinderBach for review purposes. No additional compensation was involved.

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