Monday, January 30, 2012

Kinderbach~ Music at home for the younger crowd!

Long-time readers of my blog may recall that I have written reviews of KinderBach at Home before, in 2009, and in 2010. They might wonder what has changed in the past couple of years.... what else could I possibly have to say....

I could say that there are now 4 e-songbooks with simple songs to help your child feel successful at the keyboard. There are also some "piano pals" coloring books. In addition, I understand that there is an ipad app in the works (and levels 1-3 videos can stream to mobile devices now)! Pretty cool stuff!

However, one of the biggest things that has changed is that I finally have a child who is really in the target age to use this program (youngest is 4.5)!
I'll quickly back-track just a second to fill in some of my newer readers on the KinderBach basics. KinderBach at Home is an online (Or DVD) class that helps younger children become comfortable with, and even play, music. Children learn music vocabulary, note reading, rhythm, physical technique, ‘do, re mi’ singing, listening skills and music composition, as well as just plain "music-making.
Here is one of the earliest lessons we encountered, just to give you a taste~

There are currently 6 levels, with a 7th underway. Each level contains 10 "weeks" of video activity/instruction with 4 lessons /week. Each level also has an activity book which can be printed from a single downloadable pdf file, or printed as needed from the appropriate lesson page.

 What can I tell you about our experience this time around? There are a few things that can be added to my previous reviews~
  • This is a fun and engaging program for the right ages. I still stand by my 3-5 or 6 year old recommendation, although the listed ages are 2-7.
  • Youngest at 4.5 years old likes to speed up his lessons and do a whole weeks-worth in one sitting! This means that we only do it one day/week, or we get 2 weeks done/week. (Hey, we homeschool~ We're flexible that way. :) )
  • We print the pages in the activity booklets as we get to them in the lessons. When there is a little "print" icon sitting on the screen, little fingers want a person to PRINT! :D Oh, and we have a clipboard that seems to be just for KinderBach pages(I need to move him into a folder for storage purposes, I think).
  • Youngest is enjoying his "music-time" with mom, and sometimes goes off and does his own thing, spurred on by the lesson(s) of the day (Banging on pots and pans, or singing a song he just learned).
  • However, he doesn't always like to follow directions in the activities ~ Some days we start by modifying MY expectations, but by the end of the lesson, he generally shows interest in taking part in the activity(ie. crouching LOW or stretching up HIGH). Karrie Gregor is very personable.
  • I haven't actually had Youngest use the coloring pages/books (free-$3.95) (Because the activity sheets with each lesson are generally enough coloring for him), but they are a nice addition for those whose children have coloring tendencies.  
  • As far as "cons" go, one mentioned in my 2010 review remains.  There are definitely videos where the music drowns out the words being sung. This is just a little irritation to me, but it may not bother you. :) 
  • One other possible con for the online videos is that they aren't necessarily "Clear" when we enlarge the screen. However, that doesn't seem to bother my son, so I'm not really letting it bother me either.
 So, now you know much of the nitty-gritty. Here's the rest~
Media~ online subscription $7.99/month, billed in a one time annual payment of $95.88 (Save 60%) OR $19.99 monthly subscription billed monthly for a year.
          ~ DVD packages (Rates vary from $56-ish to $223-ish

If you aren't sure about it, you can always sign up to try the first two weeks of lessons for free, which will give you an even greater feel for whether this will work for your family or not (but you will miss the sale). In that case, you might want to keep your eyes on KinderBach's facebook page for future sales.
As always, I hope that this review was useful to you as you determine where to best spend your homeschool budget. Please stop by the Crew Blog to read other reviews of the Kinderbach program.
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this/these item(s)/service for free as part of the TOS Crew Review Program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."


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