I think everyone has probably heard of Kinderbach. If you haven't, Kinderbach is a video-based program designed to teach children ages 3-7 to play piano and read music. Kinderbach claims that you need no musical background to teach this program so with my limited musical background, I was very interested. However, I don't have regular access to a piano or full size keyboard. Then I found out, there's an app for that!
What does the Kinderbach App offer? The app offers Levels 1-3 of instruction that includes videos, interactive coloring pages, games and an in-app keyboard! Each level has 10 individual lessons, which comes out to 150 videos. That's a whole year's worth of music education! Yes, please!
When you start the app, you choose your level and lesson. We of course started with Level 1, Lesson 1, which is described as an "introduction to the keyboard landscape, separation and number of finger digits." Within each lesson there is an introduction video that tells you what you will be learning, what activities you will be doing, and what materials you will need. Then there are the actual instructional videos with a friendly teacher and fun cartoon characters. Accompanying worksheets appear on the screen during the lesson, or you can print them out so your child can color along with the video.
The games within the app are leveled to increase with difficulty along with the lessons. However, your child can access all of them up front, so some frustration may occur with little ones, who may not understand the game until certain concepts have been introduced. To me, it would make sense to "unlock" the games once certain lessons have been completed.
What Did We Think?
My boys enjoy listening to music, but really had no experience reading or creating music on an instrument. Offering them the opportunity to try Kinderbach has really been interesting. Not only am I getting a great refresher for myself, but the boys are really enjoying it on so many different levels! This has been a great introduction to music theory and application. They have particularly enjoyed the games and activities. In one activity you bounce up for high notes and crouch low for low notes. In another, you tap different parts of your body to the beat as you sing a familiar song. It's a great way to introduce musical concepts in an interactive way. Great for my kinesthetic learner!
While both of my boys fall in the suggested age range (3-7), I think it definitely depends on the child. Hulk is 3 years old and enjoys tagging along, but he is not ready for this program yet. Iron Man is almost 6, and the lessons are much more appropriate for him.
That being said, there are times during their "free play" on the iPad that I hear the keyboard, because Hulk sometimes opens the app just to experiment with the keyboard. I also noticed Iron Man taking an interest in a small toy keyboard someone gave us awhile back that was sitting in a box. When a program sparks an interest in both of my boys to pursue it on their own, I consider it a success!
|Hulk "playing the piano" during his free time|
I like that you can review lessons as many times as you want, or work through them as quickly as your child desires. We don't do a lot of worksheets or coloring, but if your child enjoys this type of work, the worksheets add even more depth to the program.
The program is designed to teach, but it's also designed to be child-friendly and go at an appropriate pace. The videos are short, which is very appropriate for this age. This is what I look for in a program for young children.
Because it's on a mobile device, music lessons can go anywhere! This makes it great for continuing lessons during travel. However, I will note that you download each video individually as you open it for the first time, so make sure you have 3G or are connected to a wireless network at the exact moment you want to open the lesson, or download the lessons ahead of time so there's no waiting.
Interested? My Thoughts!
If you are interested in a well-rounded preschool/early elementary piano and music program, Kinderbach is fun and engaging! You can try the first game and two lessons for free on the app, with the option to purchase lessons individually. I reviewed the full classroom version of the app, which is only $26.99 for all of the lessons up front. In my opinion, the up front cost may very well be worth it if you have a serious student. You can take music lessons anywhere, any time, and all your children can enjoy it at their own pace. I think it would even be beneficial for beginning students to use as a supplement if they are taking piano lessons outside the home. Kinderbach also offers DVDs and online subscriptions, if those options would be more suitable to your needs, and you would still have many of the same benefits as the app!
Special Pricing Update!
On Friday, October 19th, 2012, the app will be deeply discounted at only $12.99! This is a one-day only sale! No code is needed, just download the Classroom Kinderbach app from the app store.
If you're interested in some of the other products, Kinderbach is offering readers a special 30% discount code on any order!
Coupon Code: TOS_crew2012
Expiration Date: 12/31/2012
Disclaimer: I received the Kinderbach iPad app in exchange for an honest review. All opinions expressed are my own and are based on my family's experience with the product.