I choose to give this product 2 1/2 out of 5 Gold Teacher’s Stars!
When I first found out we were going to review Kinderbach, I was really excited. I believe that music should be an integral part of a child’s education. I rarely talk about my music background. However, in this case, I feel I must give it so that you will understand why I am choosing to review this product the way that I am. In my former life, before I was a wife and mother, I was a music major in college. I pursued a major in both vocal and instrumental. I focused on performance as well as music education. I have been giving my own son piano lessons and I teach music to children in our church, from ages 18 months to 12 years of age. I also taught preschool before I brought my son home for school. I just mention all of this so that you will perhaps understand where I am coming from when I say what I need to say.
But first, a little about the program…
Kinderbach is a preschool music program that was developed for children between the ages of 2 and 7. The lessons are administered online or on DVD and one must have access to a piano or an inexpensive keyboard. There are 60 lessons in the program with 4 segments per lesson. The computer must be able to be moved to the piano if you take the online lessons, or you need to bring a piano keyboard to the computer. The online lessons are $85.95 for one annual payment, or $14.95 per month if you prefer to bill monthly. The DVD’s are more expensive and come in value packages with the first one being $53.95 for the first 5 lessons. You can try out the first two lessons online for free.
There are 4 lessons each week and the segments are from 1 to 10 minutes in length. Many of the lessons have printables to accompany them and reinforce the concepts being presented. The teacher, Kari Gregor is enthusiastic and fun for the children to watch. She engages them into her world of music. There are lots of songs that include singing and dancing. The set of the videos and the way they are presented are reminiscent of Blues Clues. Kari introduces some great musical concepts to the children, but not in any depth. Sounds pretty good, huh?
After watching the first 30 weeks of lessons, I have to say that I was disappointed in the program. While there are some great aspects to the Kinderbach program, I do have some concerns. First of all, the audio portion of the program was not always the best. Often it was difficult to hear Kari singing over the music. I didn’t like that at all and I tried several adjustments to try to fix this on my computer, none of which helped at all.
I felt that some key elements of teaching piano were missing. Proper posture was never mentioned. Fingerings were often done incorrectly. Rhythms and counting were not consistant. I also had issue with the way that notes were presented and called by different names. For instance, a quarter note was taught as a “walk”, and a half note was taught as a “standing”. She did mention briefly the proper names, but passed them off as the grown-up way to say them and then continued to teach them as “walk” and “standing”.
I feel that this is a poor set-up for future piano lessons. There were some bad habits that could be acquired through use of this program that may be difficult to un-do later on.
I think perhaps this program could be beneficial for preschoolers if it is presented as a music and movement type of program. I think if you just wanted a basic music program for your young children, then it would be fine. However, if you have visions of having a musician in the family and a little maestro, then you may want to skip Kinderbach and find something else. Otherwise, be prepared for some grueling corrections and frustrations in later years when they are taking formal one-on-one piano lessons.