Learn music at home


This was our family’s second opportunity to review Kinderbach, an amazing way to learn Piano at home.

We really just have a great time learning piano this way.  Our primary reviewer was Jeremiah, he is Four and a perfect fit for Kinderbach’s target market of 2-7 year olds.

This is the most gradual learning product I have ever seen marketed.  It is broken down in easy to understand video lessons that are great at keeping the attention of young ones.  It slowly builds on the previous lessons until there is mastery of the notes and the different rhythms of each type of note. It does more than teach piano, it teaches music.

We enjoyed the multi-sensory approach to Kinderbach’s teaching.  Jeremiah sees the lessons, hears the lessons, can write or draw in the Lesson Books,


and he uses his body to clap, stretch, stomp, and wiggle to the different rhythms of the notes.  My older son also finds the names of the Notes being taught as characters, help him remember where they are, as he practices his more traditional piano lessons.

The one thing we found hard to do was, play along on the piano with the lesson.  Our family computer is a desk top and the piano is in the next room.  Last year we had a laptop, and it was easier to just hook that up wirelessly in the next room.

I think that this program would be a great investment for a homeschool co-op. It would be a wonderful way to create a class for all the younger siblings to attend while their brothers and sisters learn other subjects.

I am excited to tell you that Kinderbach is making their product available on multiple mobile devices.  Lesson one is fully compatible with the iPad.  It makes me wish I had an iPad so I could have used it!

Kinderbach is very affordably priced at $20.00 a month for all 7 levels of their music curriculum.  Visit their website to learn more about their DVD product and their yearly pricing for home use and for school use.

You may access a 30% discount when you purchase Kinderbach at Home.  Use the Product Code:  TOScrew2012  This discount is good until 2/2/2013

Make sure you check out the other reviews at the TOS Homeschool Crew Blog and see how other families used and enjoyed this product.


Moving on to Mendelssohn

We finished this years installment of Beethoven… and we are moving over to the German Romantic side of things.  We will hang around listening to Jakob Ludwig Felix Mendelssohn Bartholdy; whom English speaking countries refer to as Felix Mendelssohn.  Much easier to say… sort of.

File:Mendelssohn Bartholdy.jpg

Smart looking chap isn’t he? He is curly headed like my eldest son.  I have a soft spot for curly haired musical types. More information than you needed to know about me, I’m sure.

A selected listening item for this composer (see Ambleside Online for more details) was: The Hebrides (Fingal’s Cave) – Overture

Moving, Stirring, Rousing, and in places LOUD… are words that come to mind.  I suggest listening to it at a low volume otherwise the portions written in ff  will blow out your eardrums and send to diving for the volume dial mid-overture…. not that I did that or anything, ….just sayin’.

Most of our discussion this week was around the specific dynamics that pieces are written in. They range from soft to loud, to SUPER loud.  We discussed how music tells a story with the ebb and flow of it’s volume just as much as each instrument does within an orchestra. 

Did I mention that Hunter got a drum set for Christmas?  I think we lost our minds for a moment or two….  But he is really pretty good, especially for a 9 year old, whose mother knows nothing about the drums…and is clearly biased.


Beethoven helps us be thankful

Happy Thursday!  Thursdays sort of sneak up on me.  I realize there is one in every week, but we have such full days on Tuesday’s and Wednesday’s, Thursday’s are a calm after the storm sort of day. One of those days I would love to stay in bed for longer…..  But alas….that never seems to happen.

I guess I should stop blathering, and get back to what we have been doing in our study of Beethoven.  We are beginning to leave the tragedy of his early years and progress on to a time in his life where he began to perform out side of the home.  At the ripe old age of 10 he was composing.  He was writing music his hands were too small to play, yet he knew he would grow and play them later. 

He was beginning to astound people with his ability to read and play the most difficult of musical scores at first sight. At 14 his father’s voice, the chief source of income for the family was gone.  The responsibility now fell to Beethoven to earn a living for his family. 

At 14?  Times are so different now, any given 14 year old now, in affluent western culture, would be hard pressed to earn a living for their family.  As we studied this week we compared and contrasted Beethoven’s childhood with Hunters.  Very few similarities seemed to be found.  It gave Hunter an opportunity to list a few differences that he was thankful for.

This picture is courtesy of the SJSU website, Beethoven is preforming for his friends in an intimate setting.  Everyone looks so pensive and thoughtful.  Listen to this:  Violin Concerto in D Major Opus 61 by Beethoven.  See if you think it “feels” pensive and thoughtful. As if you could sit on the edge of the ocean, staring into the horizon as the sun sets, and review the tides of emotion in your day, your month, your year, perhaps even your life.



We are back to classical composers this week.  Starting off fresh with good old Ludwig.  Which leads me to a question….  Why do we pronounce his name  Bay-toe-ven….  when it is spelled Beet-hoven?  Ok, those are some of the random thoughts that plague me from time to time.  Aren’t you glad I shared?

A few weeks ago our library had a book sale and like any good homeschooling family we trolled the place for stuff we could use.  We found a great little book by Pam Brown on Ludwig van Beethoven was just the type of thing we were looking for.  So we snapped it up for the bargain basement price of $0.25. 

This week we learned that Beethoven, like Mozart, was from a family of musicians.  In fact, Johann his father, wanted to parade Ludwig around Europe as the next great Mozart. He played his lessons for hours each day.  People often saw him weeping from weariness as he played.  He was taken from school when he didn’t perform very well and was made to concentrate on music all the more.

His mother was a sickly woman and had trouble caring for her family as she should have.  Ludwig often wore shabby clothes as a child and probably didn’t have too many baths.  His father was known to drown his sorrows and perceived failures in a bottle of drink.

Despite all of the difficulties Ludwig was learning to love music.

Hopefully next week’s reading will be slightly less…. tragic.


sick week

Well it has been a sick week here.

No piano lessons, no reading about our composers, no math (yay!)…..  just lots of rest, plenty of clear liquids, and a nagging cough that I think is turning into bronchitis.

SO…. we have listened to some music on the radio as we have done some quiet reading, but really no formal school when he can’t talk without nearly hacking up a lung.

I would love to hear how your week went, though…. how did you weave music into your days?


I gave up…..

Not in teaching Music….. just on fighting the day we were trying to do it on!

My goodness it was pulling teeth to do Music on Wednesday.  Since Piano is on Monday, I decided to quit fighting it and just declare Music Monday.

This week we did just that.  We read more in Mr. Pipes and Hymns of the Reformation, and we read Psalm 47: 1-7, Psalm 100, 98, and 150 which all talk about music. We are also beginning a 150 word report for his Masters Club badge.  It will cover the purpose of music (Eph 5:18-20), talk about the first two musical instruments in the Bible (Genesis 4:21), why God created music (Col 3:17), and some thoughts on our favorite hymn.

On Monday we talked about music, and since we are currently studying hymns, we listened to our Selah, Favorite Hymns CD. Practiced our Piano one last time before we went to our lesson at 2:30.  It really made for a nice relaxed study day.

I think I am going to incorporate some Art in on Monday’s too.  I have been very interested in the things I have found from Harmony Art Mom.  I think I will start with the Grade 2 curriculum, since I have to pick somewhere to start and it might as well be in an area of History that we are currently studying.  There are composer study’s built right in…  I really think it will help make Mondays more interesting.

How about you, how’s it going?  Adding new things?  Switching days?  Are you learning new things and getting new ideas by reading what other families are studying?  I am.  You guys are such a great inspiration.


Going with the flow

This week has been full of the unplanned.  Driving trucks without dashboards, trucks dying… replacing the battery, but it is still not 100%…..  Now I am caring for one that is sick.  YUK!  Poor Guy.  He gets a couch day today.

Since my formal teaching lessons have been set aside for the day, I have plenty of time to tell you about what we are doing for Music this week. We are still learning about Martin Luther, from the Composer standpoint, not so much the historical one, even though they are quite tied together.

We continued to read in our Mr. Pipes, Hymns of the Reformation book. (when the car breaks, you suddenly have time to read while you wait for the Daddy rescue vehicle to arrive)

We participate in a church club called Master Clubs.  Kids earn badges and such for learning scripture and completing other sections.  It is sort of like Scouting, and Awana rolled into one.  Anyway, one of the badges that you can earn is one about Music.  We will need to write a 100 word report about a composer of some Hymns and we will use Martin Luther to do it.  I think it is a nice way to help motivate him to write a little….  since if I just asked him to do it for a school assignment, you would have seen him chew off his arm to avoid it.  Give him a badge to earn and he is suddenly Jack London.

I am enjoying this easy study of music intertwined with our lessons. I doesn’t feel strained or overwhelming.

Grab the Button…. Join in!


To read or not to read

Four weeks in and I am really beginning to look forward to Thursdays and these posts to see what you all are doing in your own school’s.

If you are new to Study of the Composers, feel free to grab the button over there on the right, post it onto your blog, and join right in!

Now is the portion of the program where I tell you what we did this week.

I would love to tell you that we did some wonderful thing……  Truth is we didn’t do any work with Mozart this week.  ….. yet.  Yesterday it was on our schedule to do right after piano practice.

Problem was, that about 3 songs into practicing, Hunter grew a wild hair.  He decided to get up from the bench and show me this “cool trick” he had been working on.  It involved old couch cushions stacked up, running, jumping and flipping.  I uttered the standard mom caution, and stated that if it had to do with jumping and flipping I didn’t want to see it.  He, caught up in the uber coolness of his own amazingness, proceeded to show the trick…. without the running, and attempted a standing flip.

He landed smack on the back of his head and jarred his neck so completely I was tempted to take him to have it X-rayed.  I very safely got him to my bed where he could lay flat and undisturbed, and had him lay on some ice off and on….  He cooled his heels, staring at the ceiling for about an hour and a half until, Big Daddy, our military medic, came home from work and gave him the once over and declared him “ok”, but told him he was not to wrestle or jump around for the next few days.


some days…….. just don’t go like you plan……..

Well now that I have been completely transparent about how we DIDN’T do Mozart (yet) this week…

How is it going with you?


Mozart travels, and so do we

it is Thursday again.  Link up day!  Somehow Thursday snuck up on me this week, did that happen to anyone else?

This week we continued our Study of Mozart, primarily through reading, Mozart: The Boy Who Changed the World With His Music by Marcus Weeks.

We learned how Mozart traveled all over Europe as a child, what his daily life would have been like.  We explored how their dress was much different than ours is today, and how long it took to travel anywhere.  Hunter decided that the car was a great invention.

We began to enter into the years where Mozart began to work as a Konzertmeister.  Hunter didn’t like the fact that the Prince Archbishop ‘owned’ Mozart and wouldn’t let him travel to work on his music. I was amused by how strongly Hunter felt that someone shouldn’t ‘own’ you if you work for them.  I just chuckled under my breath, “Wait until you get your first job….”

All of our reading this week was done in the car.  We had lots of waiting to do for big sister at the end of last week and on Monday this week, as she finished the things she needed to have in to start college.  So while she was in various buildings, in various towns, we read.  Another reason I love homeschooling, learning can happen anywhere!

I have no pictures to share today, at least right now…  maybe if we have time to work on a little project today I can post a few pictures later this afternoon.


Melodious Music

I have decided to branch out.  Pick up a few extra reviews….  expand…. So from time to time you might see CD’s or videos, maybe even movies reviewed this year.  Most of them will come with a chance to win the item I am reviewing….. so stay tuned, follow the blog through twitter, GFC, Networked blogs…. sign up for email RSS feed posts…. and stay tuned.


Today I am pleased to tell you about a new CD from Ginny Owens.  It will be available in stores September 13, 2011.

Get In Cover

Is this the point that I tell you, that until this CD came in the mail.  I had NEVER heard of Ginny Owens?  Just in case you are like me…..  here is a snippet from the bio on her website  ginnyowensmusic.com

Born and raised in Jackson, Miss., Owens was discovering melodies on the piano almost before she could complete a sentence. Songs began to emerge from her fingers as the vision began to leave her eyes and by the age of three.  A degenerative eye condition left Owens completely blind.  Despite her physical challenge, Owens pursued a music career.  Songs provide a window into a world Owens can’t see and an outlet for her to express her thoughts and dreams. Owens’ unique musical style and inspirational lyrics continue to appeal to Christian and mainstream audiences alike.

I really have enjoyed listening.  The tracks range from upbeat R&B, soulful jazz, retro big band style, and sweet introspective instrumental ballads.

When I first listened to the CD it was in the computer, playing while the kids were running around, I was trying to prepare dinner, the phone was ringing, chaos reigned.  The second time I listened was a quiet Saturday morning, with my favorite coffee cup filled to the rim….. I was able to close my eyes and just feel the different songs as they filled the air and really experience the range of emotions each song evoked within me.  It was great.

It is a blend of music that I envision playing often as we sit in a warm room reading our school books this winter.  I wouldn’t mind loading it onto my 9 year old’s  MP3 player, to help him balance out the Disney soundtrack he is currently addicted to.  (ugh!!)

If you would like a copy of Ginny Owens new CD  “Get in I’m Driving”, make sure you follow this blog and let me know how you follow.  Then, leave a comment at the bottom of this post.  I will draw a winner on Friday, September 16, 2011.

Happy listening,

name gif

Note: I received the CD mentioned above for free in the hope that I would mention it on my blog. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255:

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