Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Review: Kinderbach

My Schnickelfritz has always enjoyed the piano. He likes to listen to Chopin.  We used to plan trips to Target so he could play the light-up keyboard in the electronics department.  Two years ago we bought that keyboard as a Christmas present and Fritz spent hours learning to play Moonlight Sonata by following the lit up keys. Kinderbach was going to be our first real lesson in reading music.  We received a three month trial subscription.

I'm sorry to say that Kinderbach and Fritz didn't click.  Perhaps it is because our dial up service wouldn't allow us to enjoy the streaming videos (I would say people with dial up need to choose the dvd lessons). Perhaps after the "shortcut" method of following lighted keys he wasn't interested in learning the names of keys and where they appear on a staff.  Or perhaps it's just because he was at the high end of the recommended age range (3-7).  Fritz felt he was beyond the "is this note high or low?" stage, so I went on to view several other lessons without him.

Four each week there is a video lesson broken up into four sections. You will need to download the activity book for each level (covering 10 weeks of lessons). There may also be games and coloring pages to download with the weekly lesson.  

The students start by learning about Dody the Donkey who lives on the D key (the two black keys form his .

shed).  This altered course from my piano lesson days where we learned about middle C first, but perhaps the D is easier for young children to find. There are other cartoon characters like an eagle and a frog that correspond with other keys.  Students begin learning the notes and their values--a quarter note represents a walking pace, a half note is "standing."   

If you have a young student you want to gently expose to music theory--rhythms, notes, names of keys, etc.  then Kinderbach may be a fun way of doing so.  An online subscription costs $95.88 for the entire year or you may opt for the monthly subscription rate of $19.99.  You may sample two weeks worth of lessons for free by signing up here. If you have dial up service though, I think you'll be frustrated by the constant stalling of the video.  The program is also available on dvd/cd ($40.45 per level). 

You can see what my fellow crewmates think of Kinderbach by clicking here.

Disclaimer: I received a free three month subscription to Kinderbach's online lessons for the purpose of completing this review.  I received no other compensation.

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