Reviewed by Grace and Mary
Classroom KinderBach: School Version by Zephyr Games is an app based on the KinderBach program for teaching piano and music theory to young children. Karri Gregor developed the KinderBach program ﬁrst teaching it in person at her piano studio, then via DVD/ CD, then online video streaming and now in an app form. The app contains the first three levels of the program with 10 lessons in each level, plus six mini-games. Each lesson is further broken down into ﬁve short videos. For each lesson there are also printable handouts which you can print directly from the app using an AirPrint-enabled printer, or download a PDF from the KinderBach website (for a nominal fee).
The lessons include videos of Miss Karri introducing music concepts and ‘The Piano Pals” a series of characters who live on the piano, they include Dodi the Donkey, Carla the Caterpillar and Gracie the Gorilla. The children are taught that Dodi’s house lives over the two black keys and that the Train Station lives over the three black keys. They are gradually taught the keys C-G by learning about the Piano Pals, and where they live in relation to Dodi’s house, the Train Station and the other characters. They also learn about simple note patterns, half and quarter notes, correct ﬁnger positions, recognizing hi and low notes and other aspects of music theory, as well as learning to play simple songs. The handouts include activities to go with each lesson that reinforce the concepts and often include coloring, cutting and glueing. The app includes a built-in keyboard which children can use to practice their lessons, or you can expand the videos to full screen and use it with a piano or keyboard.
This is really more of a music course than just an app, it is designed to be used over the course of thirty weeks but because it is broken down into 150 videos you can adjust the pace to suit the child. You can watch the videos in a lesson back to back or spread them out over several days and repeat them as necessary, we like that is is a very ﬂexible way to teach. We really like Miss Karri’s enthusiasm, and the videos look like they could have been shot in Bears Big Blue House or a similar location. The Piano Pals are a great idea to get young children’s attention and to help them remember. The activities and mini-games are also fun and great for reinforcement. We have three things that we would like to see:-
1) add a written homework suggestion list after each lesson for easy reference. There are suggestions in the videos but not in writing. We would also like to have a guide as to how much time the children should spend practicing each week.
2) clearer images in the videos as the picture quality is currently a little fuzzy (on the iPad 3).
3) better utilization of the iPad capabilities e.g. being able to color the activity sheets directly on the iPad instead of coloring a printout. These adaptation will surely make the whole learning experience more interactive and integrated.
We find that the program is so fun and easy to implement that we believe any parent, with or without music background, would be able to teach the program confidently at home. Skills are introduced in small incremental steps and reinforced through a variety of age appropriate games and activities. You just need to stay ahead of your child in his musical journey and if you need, you can refer to the many resources available on KinderBach’s website.
Overall, we think this is an excellent way to introduce preschool and early elementary school students to the piano and music theory. It is a fun and engaging program which you can use at home or in your music studio. The app is aimed at 3-7 year olds, a range which we think is reasonable depending on the attention span and interest level of the child. If you are interested in introducing your child to piano, we would highly recommend downloading the FREE KinderBach: Simply Discover Piano where you can check out the ﬁrst two lessons and the first mini-game for free and if you like what you see you can buy the other lessons via in-app purchase ($0.99 for a lesson or $8.99 for a level of 10 lessons) or buy Classroom KinderBach: School Version to have all the lessons included. Check out the trailer for the Free app below as you are downloading it!
You would have to pay a lot more if you are buying the same content on DVDs and online lessons, so getting this app is definitely a good deal if you have an iPad/iPhone. Now that there is a further 50% discount at $12.99, every family should start downloading it!
Classroom KinderBach: School Version
by Zephyr Games
Category: Education, Games, Music, Family
Requirements: Compatible with all
Size: 123 MB
KinderBach: Simply Discover Piano
by Zephyr Games
Category: Education, Games, Family, Music
Requirements: Compatible with all
Size: 123.25 MB
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A fee was received to expedite this review to the top of our waiting list but this payment has not influenced the objectivity of the review and all opinions have been offered honestly.
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