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Thursday, August 22, 2013

FreePianoLessons4Kids, a review

Earlier this summer our family was invited to have dinner with some friends…and as soon as the kids got there, they spotted THE PIANO.

And plopped themselves down on the bench and started playing.  Not playing around, but actually playing some music.


Imagine my friend’s surprise when I told her they were taking free piano lessons online.

Even the 4-year-old can play “Hot Cross Buns.”

A couple of months ago, I received an email asking me if I’d be interested in reviewing FreePianoLessons4Kids and trying out the optional Complete Materials (the pdf for lessons 1-41 sells for $23.95 and includes an accompanying “listening album” on mp3).

I was intrigued by the concept.  It seemed like a perfect solution for those of us who’d really like to try some somewhat formal music instruction, but can’t pony up $20 for a 1/2-hour lesson per kid (which seems to be the going rate in my area).

It also seemed like a very flexible way to learn (no set lesson time) and an opportunity to see how serious the kids might be.  I’m not big on dragging my kids through optional extras---they learn so much better and my life is a lot easier when they “buy into” something and actually want to do it.

What better way to find out if you like something than by doing it?  For free?  Let’s try it!

FreePianoLessons4Kids review at Homeschooling Hearts & Minds

freepianolessonsforkidsheadshotThe lessons at FreePianoLessons4Kids are presented as short YouTube videos by Instructor Joseph Hoffman, M.M.  You can read Joseph’s blog, where he shares tips with parents, here.

Joseph recommends that you have your child work on a new lesson every few days and spend at least 20 minutes a day practicing what she has learned. 

He actually at talks about this in-depth in the Complete Materials---he makes a strong case for the importance of frequent, regular practice of any skill you are trying to master.

While you can get by with the just the free video lessons, Joseph also offers:

The activities help to reinforce what your kids learn from the videos and even add some additional information.  There’s a mix of things from worksheets to hands-on activities.

FreePianoLessons4Kids review at Homeschooling Hearts & Minds

What do we think?

We’re genuinely impressed with FreePianoLessons4Kids, and it’s not just because of the price (which, honestly, can’t be beat)! 

Joseph is an engaging teacher and it’s obvious he loves what he teaches.  He incorporates plenty of easy, game-like activities and stories into the lessons and they are appealing to all ages (I mentioned even my 4-year-old is learning something).

Older children may be able to progress through the first few lessons pretty quickly, but I like the gentle progression---it makes it possible to use this program with a wide variety of ages and abilities.

I can put on the video and let Joseph teach my kids, no prior knowledge necessary on my part (which is good, because while I was involved in Chorus as a child, and some of it stuck, my musical training is definitely lacking).   The kids are learning the notes, proper posture, everything, just as if they had a real live teacher in their home.

If we need to review something, we can just skip back a few lessons and review.  If we need to go out of town, we can take our piano teacher with us!  In fact, that picture at the beginning of this review was taken at my husband’s Grammie’s when we were visiting her for a week this summer.  We don’t have a for real piano at hour house (just a keyboard), so that was a special treat.

What I love most is my kids’ willingness to practice.  It’s a game to them, not a chore to them.  It’s not uncommon to see one of them carrying a battery operated keyboard around the house and another one following her around not so very patiently waiting his turn.

Overall, I highly recommend FreePianoLessons4Kids as a good place to start if you want to add some music instruction into your home or homeschool. 

I also highly recommend purchasing the Complete Materials for lessons 1-41 to go with the video lessons.  You can view samples at the link.

We’re very happy with this program.

Get in touch with FreePianoLessons4Kids on Facebook.

Disclosure:  I received a free download of the Complete Materials from FreePianoLessons4Kids in order to facilitate this review.  I received no other compensation.  All opinions expressed here are my own.  I am disclosing this in accordance with FCC regulations.

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