You want to expose your little ones to some music basics, but you can’t manage lessons for one or more reasons (money, time, logistics, just for a few). What options do you have if you don’t know much about music yourself? There are online music programs, as well as computer games and computer-based music instruction.
Kinderbach is one option. This 60-week online music course is aimed at little ones ages 2-7. There are four 15-minute sessions per lesson (one lesson per week), which involve videos, animations, and worksheets. There are also supposed to be interactive games as well (“coming soon!”) and e-songbooks with music in PDF and mp3 files to support your efforts, but these were not available to the Homeschool Crew during our free evaluation period.
The cheery, energetic teacher appears in a virtual classroom, with help from a host of colorful cartoon characters, each one representing a letter of the musical alphabet. (I have to comment here that our youngest, although a little old at ten for this program, enjoyed watching the videos, and could easily find D-for-Dodie at every point on our piano keyboard after learning the first Kinderbach memory trick. There are lots of memory tricks.)
The Kinderbach lessons remind me a little of the early music education classes I took with our younger two, when they were little, except that the child is interacting with the computer, rather than a classroom full of moms and preschoolers. I’d add that this is not something you park your child in front of. I think you’ll get the most benefit out of the program if you sit down together during your four weekly sessions.
I also have to mention, before I go into more detail on the program, that I’m not a big fan of the idea of children under the age of 4 using computer-based instruction. I really think they need to be doing more hands-on learning and exploration. However, I can tell that a lot of time and thought has gone into putting Kinderbach together.
Your child works along with the videos, filling out PDF worksheets that you can download as applicable to the lesson. The worksheets are colorful on the computer screen (see image on left); your child adds the color to what you print out (see another image on the right). To get the most out of the program, you also need a keyboard; even an inexpensive one will do.
The upbeat music varies, sometimes jazzy, sometimes reminiscent of rock or bluegrass, but always cheerful. Silly voices alternate with the cheerful, always encouraging teacher.
I don’t think your child will be a piano virtuoso at the end of this program, but it can be a fun introduction to basics such as pitch and rhythm.
You can try two weeks of lessons for free and see what you think of the program. A month’s access costs $14.95, or you can subscribe for a full year for $85.95.
If you’re on a slow dialup connection, you can also purchase the course on DVD, along with the e-songbooks mentioned above.
More TOS reviews of Kinderbach are available at this link. You’ll find a range of opinions, which is part of the beauty of the TOS Homeschool Crew program!