I love music. Always have. Probably helps that my dad and brother are extremely gifted in that area. (Give them an hour with any instrument and they'll be playing it like they've been taking lessons for years.) I, however, did not inherit that gift. I got other great gifts... like allergies, and weak teeth. :) I took piano lessons for about a year, guitar for about a year... and didn't find the real desire (contrasted with the work required) to continue either. I know just enough to peck (or pluck) a few things out on either instrument, which comes in handy now and then. Like recently when helping Hallie learn her part in the ensemble for the play she's rehearsing and separate her notes out from the rest. She insisted I teach her to play a few lines, too.
I would love for my children to learn to play the piano, and possibly move on to other instruments in the future. Sam took piano lessons from my mom for nearly a year (and made good progress... though he quickly got bored with the book and preferred to write his own songs, and when given his practice schedule, would try to negotiate down how many times he had to play each piece! It's likely some of the children will continue on with her when we can find a good schedule.) Malaika took piano lessons briefly while living with her great aunt for that few months. She reports she learned "that B and C are the two middle keys."
I was excited for my children to try out Kinderbach, an internet (or DVD) based piano instruction program intended for children age 3-7. Each week is divided into 4 lessons, each with a video they can watch online and a few activity or coloring pages that can be printed from the PDF lesson books. And I loved that it was mostly independent.
There are 2 sample lessons on their site that you can try for free.
"KinderBach uses playful characters to teach note reading, rhythm, singing, and composition."
The website describes the program as follows:
Music Theory Games
Traditional piano lessons can add up. Between the transportation to and from, as well as childcare for the other siblings the high cost of the lessons themselves can be astounding. Families find the cost of KinderBach 75% less than what they would spend on regular music lessons – and that’s just for one child. A single KinderBach membership services ALL the children in your family even if they are on different levels, learning at their individual pace. The larger your family, the more you save!
The online version costs $19.99 per month when billed monthly. (MUCH less than private lessons.) And only $7.99 a month when billed annually at $95.88. Again, that's for the whole family! My impression of the program is that it's VERY thorough. They are covering music theory from the very beginning, clapping out rhythms and learning to keep time. The names and locations of keys are taught in a clever manner (Dodie the Donkey - the D key - lives in his house... between the two black keys.) It certainly makes these things easy to memorize. For very young children (say, ages 3-5), it seems like it would be a great introduction to music and piano. However for my children (even the younger ones that are technically in the proper age range), it moved WAY too slow.
I must point out that my girls are 7 (at the high end of the age range) and my boys are 9, so slightly above. This proved to be an issue in their enjoyment of the program. At first, they all seemed to like it (each child worked through the first 9 weeks of lessons). The characters were fun, they liked the coloring pages, and the lessons were easy. But they quickly tired of it. I thought perhaps I could inspire them by jumping ahead to show them how close they were getting to playing an actual song, on the staff... and I couldn't find one until WEEK 51!! Almost a full year into the program, and that's if we took no breaks!
So, while I do think the program could work great for very young children, if you were so inclined to start them so young... I'll need to find something that moves much quicker for my crew.
(Disclaimer: This product was made available to us for the review period in exchange for my honest review. I have not been compensated in any other way.)