Monday, January 5

Music for littles

Honor's favorite song is The Spinning Song. She insists that she has to spin for it, even if it makes her want to throw up. She must spin if The Spinning Song is playing. I love it. I love listening to her laughing behind me as I play the piano, bumping into furniture and bonking heads with her sibs. Music is something they've all grown up with....even in utero, with my big belly pressed up to the piano, pounding away. They've learned to love everything from Mozart to Harry Connick to Weird Al.

Ethan has tried guitar, piano, and now trumpet. He loves music, but didn't click with the first two instruments. He has CLICKED with the trumpet. It is so neat to see their faces light up when they find IT. Joel found IT with his first piano lesson. There was no doubt. He was in love.

Honor is a bit young for an instrument, I prefer waiting until they understand notes and rhythm a little bit. Right now, she is using Kinderbach to sneak some formal music in on her while fanning the flames of her love of music.

Kinderbach is an online learning center that includes a printable activity book and videos, divided into weeks with 4 lessons per week. The lessons only average about 5 minutes apiece, and Honor prefers to do them all at once and is getting through them very quickly.

The videos are similar in style to the Signing Time movies, with a gal blue-screened into a cartoon page. They are fun and they keep the kids moving and participating. Earlier, the video told her to march around like a train. My very literal drama queen came chugga-chugging into the kitchen and said "Do you see what they're making me do????" (pretending to be so put out) which is actually her way of saying "I love this!"

The videos ask the kids questions and answer as if the child has responded....with the right answer. This bothers Honor. "I just said NO, but she thinks I said YES!" I can only shake my head. Even at 5, I knew good and well how silly the actors were because I KNEW they couldn't hear me. Of course, I was quite convinced there were little men that lived in the television and who could skip commercials and play my favorite shows if they saw me being very, very good through the glass. Anyone else? Anyone? No? I didn't think so.

See what I just did?

Oh! You caught it! Good for you!

See? We could keep doing this forever.
So Honor isn't so sure about the gal's observation skills, but she still loves the program. She can tell me what forte and piano mean, she can carry a tune and keep a rhythm, she's learning the fingering for the keys. And she's having fun.
In all honesty, I think the videos are kind of lame, the activity book boring, and the sound just so-so. The music is louder than the voice in some sections and the voice is somewhat blurred so I can't understand many of the words to the songs, like the Numba Rumba - a cute song that supposedly teaches the keyboard fingerings. Honor learned the fingerings through the activity video, but couldn't understand the song either. Still, Honor doesn't see anything remotely lame about it. She really loves it and so does Sarah Grace.

Our free membership runs out soon and we aren't finished. I'm considering continuing with it and actually paying (gasp, shock) since the girls like it so much. It wouldn't be for very long. They charge by the month and, like I said, the student can progress very quickly. However, the things Honor is learning could be learned after a week of piano lessons just a few years down the road. It's not a huge boost to her education. But it is a lot of fun and she is learning. As much as Honor is liking it, I wonder if she might be ready for piano lessons early if we continued on with it a bit. But do I really want to deal with piano lessons right now? (pausing to laugh at myself) That child couldn't sit still for piano lessons. No chance. Not without making her hate the piano. At least with the Kinderbach, she gets to move and have fun.

They offer two weeks free for sampling if you're curious about the program.

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