The Old Schoolhouse® Product & Curriculum Reviews

With so many products available we often need a little help in making our curriculum choices. The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine family understands because we are in the same boat! Do you need more information on a product before you buy? With over 5,500 products listed in 52 easy-to-use categories, much of the information you need to know is only a click away! Let our reviewer-families help yours.
Do you want to get the word out about your product or service to the homeschool community? Email Jenny Higgins and share a little about what you´d like showcased, and we can help with that!

I Can Do It! Piano Book & Explorer's Guide Review by Melissa Batai

Christine Bemko Kril
Kapok Press LLC
P.O. Box 1861
Fredericksburg, VA 22402

Kapok Press’ I Can Do It! Piano Book is a fun and easy introduction for young children to learn to play piano. This program includes two separate books: the I Can Do It! Piano Book: First Book of Favorite Songs including the accompanying CD and the I Can Do It! Piano Book: Explorer’s Guide. The former book and CD retail for $24.95; the latter book retails for $6.95. (Piano teachers, you can receive a 30% discount on your orders!) This program is perfect for children 4 years and older as well as students with special needs. The First Book of Favorite Songs includes 32 songs most students will be familiar with such as “Mary Had a Little Lamb” and “Hot Cross Buns.” In addition, it includes several warm up exercises. In the course of this book, students don’t actually see musical notes on music sheets. Instead, they learn the names of the keys, and each song is written numerically such as “EDC EDC CCCC DDDD EDC” for “Hot Cross Buns. The Explorer’s Guide book contains 20 lessons that are best used with younger children, perhaps between the ages of 4 to 7. Activities include coloring letters inside balloons and then drawing a string to the finger that plays that particular note, or coloring a rainbow and then writing the letter that matches that color on the rainbow bar. (Each of the notes on the piano is given a different color throughout the books to help facilitate learning.) Students also use the CD during these lessons.

These lessons are meant to be short, perhaps to accommodate a young learner’s attention span. The book recommends that lessons are no longer than 5 to 15 minutes per day. When following the Explorer’s Guide book, there is material here for 20 lessons, which is 20 weeks. The initial lesson is given, and then the child can continue to practice that week’s song for the rest of the week. This program is filled with colorful illustrations and has many hands on activities like cutting out bears and putting the ones that are reaching up (representing the high notes) on the right hand side of the keyboard and the ones that are reaching down on the left hand side. This program will likely appeal to a wide range of learners for this reason. Further, this program can be used by homeschoolers and children who go to traditional schools alike.

I wanted to use this program for my daughter, who is 7.5 and seems to have an ear for music. She loved the program, but I was also surprised to see my 12 year old take an interest in the book. Although the illustrations are a bit babyish for him, he didn’t mind. He was just happy to be able to pick up the songs and play them on the piano. I loved that this program didn’t require much parental preparation. I also loved the many tools given in the book such as a finger chart that shows which fingers play what keys and a chart that showed what letters correspond to what keys.

All of my children loved this program, and I did, too. There is really not much that I would like to see improved upon. What I would like to see are other books in this series for older learners, such as my 12 year old, who may be learning to play the piano for the first time.

If your child would like to play the piano but you don’t want to commit to lessons or you can’t currently afford lessons, the I Can Do It! piano program is a great way to teach your child the basics in a relaxed, easy, fun way.

-Product review by Melissa Batai, The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine, LLC, October, 2016