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Learning a musical instrument can offer so many benefits to a child, from the academic to the spiritual. From an increase in comprehension and math skills, to improvements in confidence and stress reduction, even to critical character development in perseverance and discipline, the rewards are tremendous.
My husband and I both come from musical backgrounds. My husband learned to play the drums beginning at age 14, and spent years touring and playing venues all over the United States. I was heavily involved in choir for most of my school years, and even pursued a minor in vocal music in college. Despite years of practice and music theory, neither of us really know how to play the piano, so naturally this was the instrument our daughters wanted to start with.
After a brief search for local teachers, we quickly determined private lessons to be out of our budget. Not only was the price prohibitive, but adding another drive across town once a week to our already-busy schedule was the last thing I wanted to do. I knew there had to be an alternative, but had no idea where to start. I resolved to look for online lessons “sometime in the new year” and put the idea aside for the time being.
A Little Musical Magic…
Almost as if by magic, I received an email inviting me to review a program that teaches children to play piano, from the comfort of your own home. As excited as I was, I was a little skeptical of how effective an online program would be with children as young as mine (ages seven and five.) Most of the online lessons I had found were geared toward much older, and much more experienced, students. However, after spending just a few moments on the website, I was sold. I could tell that the subscription box program from Kids Learn Piano Live was perfect for our family, and couldn’t wait to get started!
A Warm Welcome from Kids Learn Piano Live
I didn’t have to wait long–we received our welcome kit right away. From the moment I opened the box, I knew my daughters were going to love this program! Our welcome kit included so many goodies:
- a personalized binder to hold our sheet music (including several songs to start with while we waited for our first monthly kit)
- cheat sheets of keys, notes, chords, and more to help us along the way
- a monthly sticker tracker (they send a new sticker with each month’s kit to add to the front of your binder)
- collectible postcards that feature famous composers (one of my favorite goodies!)
- a sheet to track daily practice sessions
- our membership card with our name and password to sign into our video lessons online
- stickers to put on our piano keys so the girls can learn the names of the keys
- an adorable stuffed penguin named Klopol
- fun activities for the girls to do, like bookmarks and finger puppets
- car magnet, lanyard, pins, and so much more!
Honestly, I was not expecting to get so many goodies in our welcome kit. The quality of the materials blew me away! And the personal touch meant so much to Blake and Brice–they felt so welcomed and excited. Once I’d sorted through everything, I hopped onto the membership site to get familiar with the online platform. There were tons of songs in the archives to look at while we waited for our first monthly kit to come. I started watching the video to learn “Hedwig’s Theme” from the Harry Potter movies and my daughters immediately ran into the kitchen to watch with me.
The online lessons are taught by Jamin Coller, the founder of Learn Piano Live, and he is absolutely delightful. These are not the dry, serious drills I was anticipating (remembering my own brief encounter with piano lessons as a child.) He really knows how to talk to, and teach, children. The lessons are fun, playful, and engaging. The songs are familiar to children and broken into multiple levels to guide learners of all ages and abilities. Not only that but the lessons, which are originally presented live (and then archived) include contests, games, and gift card raffles. This is not “just piano lessons”–this is an entire community that your children can be a part of, each and every week.
Weekly Live Lessons for All Levels
When I originally looked into the program, I’d assumed that our membership included one song per month that would be presented in our subscription box. Somehow I’d overlooked that the membership includes weekly live lessons, and one of those each month coordinates with the subscription box. For instance, December’s weekly live lessons include:
- “Hakuna Matata”
- “Deck The Halls”
- “Favorite Things “
- “You’re A Mean One Mr Grinch” (this one coordinates with our goodie box!)
Every weekly lesson includes a downloadable PDF and play-along MP3. The songs are taught in six different levels, so you can focus on the one most appropriate for your learner.
A Break-Down of the Six Levels:
- Level 1: Simple melody line for one hand, just the letter names (absolute beginner.) This level is perfect for my daughters right now.
- Level 2: Same notes as level one, but written on the staff.
- Level 3: Includes some left-hand notes for added interest.
- Level 4: More complex left-hand notes.
- Level 4b: Same as level 4, but in original key (if original was not in C.)
- Level 5: The “creative license” level, as I call it. The letters become numbers, so you can switch keys if you like.
Level one is just right for my girls now, which is the first level Jamin teaches after the fun and playful intro to the song, so we watch through that level then stop to practice.
Our First Monthly Subscription Box
Shortly after receiving our welcome kit, we got our first monthly subscription box in the mail. Once again, I fell in love with the playful approach of this program! Our featured song for the kit was the old pirate song “Blow the Man Down” and our kit included a pirate hat and vest to wear while we practice. My daughters love dressing up, so this little touch was huge for them–they were so excited to learn the song!
The monthly kits come with the printed music for all the levels of the song, a fun prop and / or costume piece, more fun activities and coloring sheets, a sticker to add to the binder, a bingo card for the live lesson broadcast, “top secret” music tips, and more! Some of the activities are a little advanced for my girls now–there are a lot of great games to help them learn music composition and theory–but these will be fantastic to pull out once they’re a little older and ready to dig in deeper.
That’s another great benefit of this program–it grows with your children. My girls will be able to come back to these songs again and again as they advance, taking on the harder levels and activities as they learn.
After we got into our costumes, the girls sat down to watch the lesson. We usually won’t be able to catch the live lesson, so we just pulled it up in the archive. The live lessons are great, though, and I would highly encourage anyone to jump into them if you can–there are lots of games, raffles for prizes, and interaction.
In this first lesson, Jamin talked about how the tune for “Blow the Man Down” inspired the Sponge Bob theme song, which was really fun. The girls both love his playful, energetic teaching style. We watched the video through the first level, then paused so we could play with the song a bit using our level one sheet music. Blake was able to work out the tune fairly easily. Brice had trouble moving from the page to the keys, so Blake volunteered to sit beside her and tell her the name of each note that came next so she could just look down. Lesson one was a huge success–both girls were able to work their way through the melody and left with big smiles on their faces!
As we settle into our new piano routine, we plan to practice at least three to four times per week. Our subscription includes tracking sheets, and Jamin talks in the lessons about how important “struggle time” is when it comes to learning music.
Excited for Month 2!
This past week, we finally caught a break in the midst of unpacking our new home and opened our second monthly kit. Oh my gosh, the excitement was through the roof–it’s “The Imperial March” from the Star Wars movies!
We can’t wait to jump into the lesson for this kit! So far, our experience with Kids Learn Piano Live has been one of delightful surprise after delightful surprise. Everything they’ve sent, every video we’ve watched, has exceeded my expectations. The lessons are engaging and great for young learners of all levels, and the materials are high-quality and carefully curated.
I honestly feel like I’ve barely scratched the surface of the online portal. For example, there’s an entire student zone available with daily challenges, bonus activities, and a student forum. You can also submit videos of your child playing for feedback. And there’s an entire online academy I haven’t even explored yet! It’s a formal, standards-based piano certification program for kids and adults. You can click here to check it out–level 1 is free!
Be sure to keep an eye on the blog for follow-up feedback as we work our way through this awesome program. I am so grateful that Kids Learn Piano Live came into our lives when it did–it is exactly what I was wanting for my girls (and so much more!) If you’re looking for a great gift for your kids for the holidays, this would be my recommendation!
Learn more about Kids Learn Piano Live Subscription Boxes by clicking here!
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Disclosure: I received a monthly subscription to Kids Learn Piano Live in exchange for my honest review.
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