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Keys & Kingdoms Review by Amanda Hopkins

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Learning to play music has been a thing all my children want to do. However, I am not the best teacher when it comes to music. I enjoy listening to it but learning to play music was never something I did. The Keys & Kingdoms program allows my children to learn how to play the piano while playing a game. Keys and Kingdoms was a great way to introduce the art of playing the piano to them!

For this review, I received the Keys and Kingdoms keyboard. The keyboard comes with a USB cord, iOS adapter, and 3-month subscription to the Keys and Kingdom game. It is available for $59 for the keyboard, and the subscription is $19.99/month after the first three months. You can download the app on your computer or your iPad/iPhone, plug in the keyboard, and get started on the adventure to use this game. You can use this game on PC and Mac devices that are less than five years old, iOS 11 or later, iPhone 6s or better, iPads from 2015 or later. We used our desktop PC since our iPad was an older version.

There are over 100 hours of gameplay, all of which are adaptive to each child. These are not just lessons but gameplay. Through the children's adventures, students learn essential piano skills to bring to a piano.

Keys & Kingdoms recommend their program for ages 6+. I had two of my three children (ages 6 and 12) use this. The last one is just stubborn, as she is watching over everyone's shoulder when they play. We used this as a supplement to our homeschool day and aimed for 2-3 days a week. There is no previous piano experience needed when you first start. Everything you need to know, you are taught as you go on the adventures.

I love the idea of this way to learn to play the piano. My children have enjoyed going on adventures and learning to play the piano in the process. Once I downloaded the app on my computer, we only needed to plug in the keyboard and go. There is little required help from me once they get started.

I noticed that my older child would grasp the concepts and lessons a little quicker than my six-year-old. At the same time, he was a little frustrated with the graphics and lack of control, but he is also my computer geek. My six-year-old loves getting on the keyboard and playing the adventures. She does have a more challenging time remembering the hand placement and keys. We used a dry-erase marker to number the keys to help her out.

The adventures are simple. You and your travel companion are out to defeat the enemies. To beat the enemies, play the right music notes on the keyboard. Sometimes you have the numbers listed for you, sometimes the enemies hide the number, and you must guess what it is by the sound. Children learn to read music as the numbers they need to play scroll across the screen. The children need to hit the correct key on the keyboard during a specific frame to count.

My computer does not have built-in speakers, so my children tend to use headphones while playing. Because I was not listening to what they were learning, the headphones made it harder for me to help when needed. This was fine with my older son, but I found that when my six-year-old was using Keys & Kingdoms, I would need to use a speaker versus the headphones.

Every week, I get an email of each child's report card for the week. I see how much time they played overall each week, how much ear training, eye training, and creative training. The reports show what skill and keys my children are working on, and the report shows if they have mastered a new song yet.

My children do not feel like they are doing lessons with Keys and Kingdoms. To them, it is a fun game. I see them listening to the sounds the notes make and connecting them with the keys on the keyboard. Even my youngest is doing great, with only a little guidance from mom. After trying other ways to learn to play piano, this is the one-way things stick for my children.

If your children love playing games and want to learn how to play the piano, I highly recommend Keys and Kingdoms as a great start to their piano learning.

-Product review by Amanda Hopkins, The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine, LLC, May 2021