Review: Minimusic

Minimusic banner logo

Back in 2003 when I went to my very first MTNA conference (SLC, UT) I discovered MiniMusic. At the time, Paula Manwaring, creator of Minimusic was selling the program on her own. I was really impressed with what I saw and decided to invest in the program. What I liked best about Minimusic (besides the program itself) was that it was something I could purchase and use it how I saw fit. I didn’t need to certify to use it, I didn’t have to give a percentage of my income to anyone and I can add other activities to it if I wanted to.

Minimusic is now available through Kjos. Since Kjos has picked up MiniMusic it has been given an updated look! I reviewed Minimusic briefly back in 2011 but wanted to review it again in more detail.

First, Minimusic is a children’s music theory course which teaches pre-reading music theory for young children. The Minimusic website suggests children 5-7, but I have used it with children 4 years old with no problems. Minimusic is designed to teach in small groups. I have used it with as little as 2 students. It can also be adapted for a larger class setting.



IMG_3035There are 32 lesson plans all laid out for you. Lessons include hands on activities, (some crafts), worksheets, fun interactive stories, and games. A lesson typically lasts an hour but I like to have “extra” activities in place just in case we go through a lesson too quickly. You can also get away with doing a 45 min. lesson if you have a small class (2-3) unless you have students in your class that REALLY enjoy coloring. One of my students this year loves to color so anytime we go to the workbook it’s hard to get her to move on from it.

Minimusic-18-19 Minimusic-Find-the-Keys Minimusic-Get-Up-Move

Concepts taught in Minimusic are:

  • Note and Rest Values
  • Counting and Rhythm
  • Basic Music Symbols
  • Music Alphabet
  • Direction of Reading
  • Basic Pitch Recognition
  • Black Piano Key Groups
  • White Piano Key Names
  • Intervals up to a 5th
  • Recognition of 23 Instruments and Their Family

When students finish the Minimusic program, they are ready to start any instrument of their choosing! They are off to a great start because their basic theory knowledge is already there.

The Teacher Kit is pretty amazing. When Kjos started selling it they improved the quality of all the products. The program is totally the same, everything – the workbooks, cards, etc… are just nicer quality. A couple conferences ago, I was able to see firsthand in the Kjos booth the updated Minimusic kit with the new look. I loved the updated look so much so that I decided to purchase another set. I knew that I would get good use out of it regardless if I had Minimusic classes or not. That is one of the great things about the teacher kit is it comes with everything you can use with your regular students too! I can’t tell you how many times I have used the items in this kit during private lessons, group lessons and camps. It has come in very handy! Matter of fact, I have even held pre-piano camps using the Minimusic program. It works out VERY well!

The teacher kit includes: A Student Workbook, Cloth Keyboard and Transparencies; Flash Cards (instrument, note value, rhythm, musical alphabet, intervals, keys); Music Symbol and Instrument Bingo Games; Bingo Chips; Pitch Puppets; CD with songs and instrument sounds.

You can see more samples of the kit here.

Minimusic Kit

My picture is missing the CD, puppets and transparencies that are included in the teachers kit.

Minimusic has a couple Facebook pages that you may be interested in joining. First the Minimusic facebook page and then the Minimusic Teacher Support page.

If you are looking for a solid program you can use with beginners before they begin lessons, I highly encourage you to take a look at Minimusic! You can purchase the teachers kit here.

Now for some amazing news! Kjos is giving away a Minimusic teacher kit to a VERY lucky teacher. The teacher kit values at $200.00. If you would like to enter to win a Minimusic teachers kit, comment below what you currently do with young children and your favorite activity or game you like to use with them. (Whether in a group or private setting). Deadline to enter is Sunday, February 15, 2015; 10:00pm (AZ MST) GIVEAWAY HAS EXPIRED.

44 thoughts on “Review: Minimusic

  1. depending on the age, we do a lot of singing, game playing, pattern matches, listening for loud and soft, high and low, short and long. I would love the opportunity to use minimusic. It sounds like an awesome program to work with young children on their musical beginning.

  2. I would love to win the set. I currently teach children 4-5 and 5-7 in group classes using Musikgarten curriculum. We do a lot of tonal and rhythm pattern echoes, following along on a musical score and finding patterns we know in it; and I use my floor staff for working on lines and spaces — various games, beanbags, etc.

  3. Currently I am only doing private lessons and occasional group classes with young children. I would love to win this and give it a try!

  4. I have been looking into the MiniMusic curriculum for awhile now after hearing some great reviews. Looks like fun!

    I currently use several activities from Music Mind Games by Michiko Yurko with my students. Students especially love the “Blue Jello” terminology used for teaching rhythm and the manipulatives that we use for the games.

  5. I have been looking for a good theory resource for my younger students for quite a while. At the moment I use a combination of Faber My first Piano Adventures and my own worksheets. I have had a look at the Mini Music samples and will probably buy a set. They seem to be just wheat I am looking for.

  6. I have just spent the last 3 hours planning the next 2 months of my preschool class. Spring semester will have a lot of lessons about nature. For example, a whole unit on bears. Bear songs, books, and activities. One of my absolute favorite things to do with all children is to incorporate literature into the music room. Using orff methods we have a lot of fun playing rhythms and singing pitch patterns to books with repetitive rhyming. (Old Black Fly, Click clack moo, Rumble in the Jungle)
    It would be lovely to add this resource to my arsenal!!

  7. I use various theory cards and some games etc. I have acquired over the years. I always have to go in search of materials when I have my group lessons. This sounds like a great resource to have. It would be nice to already have it laid out for you. Would love to win!

  8. I teach preschool music to 2-5 year olds, and one of the choirs I direct is 4k-1st grade. Over the last couple of weeks, I’ve introduced a visual representation of a couple of our vocal warmups. One side has five hearts going up and then down. The children start on the left side and point as we sing the solfege up and down. The flip side has three larger hearts going and down with space in between each. This is for our do-mi-sol warmup. They have really caught on quickly to this! I copied these on cardstock so they would last more than one rehearsal.

  9. I use Music for Little Mozart’s. I have a little ponies and little race cars that students use to find groups of 2 or 3 black keys. I also have a little drum and other little instruments that is enjoyed by that age for rhythm activities.

  10. I have been teaching preschool and kindergraten level for 10 yrs with Music for Little Mozarts. I am presently trying to reach out to more 3 and 4 yr olds as there is such a market for them in my area. I find it hard to find good games and worksheets for young children, without purchasing an expensive program. I currently use a little of this and that from several programs, but my favorite thing to do with them is march, sing, and clap. They love aking music with rhythm instruments!!!!

  11. Sometimes I feel like I’m spinning my wheels with the younger ones. This just may be the answer! I currently use My First Piano Adventures.

  12. I currently use My First Piano Adventures with young students, but I feel I could teach even younger students with MiniMusic. It sounds like a great background for students who want to take piano lessons. I use rhythm instruments and games that teach music theory.

  13. Wow – choosing my favorite activity to use with little ones is hard! I use a wipe-off staff, we do a lot of flashcards and flashcards games, clapping and taping rhythms, etc. But there’s always more we could do – would love to win the set.

  14. For young children, I’ve tried adapting the old Music Mind Games materials. There are some activities that work well, but more that don’t. This looks like a great system that is perfectly age-appropriate!

  15. This look like fun. My favorite with little ones is using simple rhythm instruments and then building an ensemble. Very simple parts, (like one group eighths, one quarter and a talented group half notes) all taught by rote and layer on. Really an early experience creating actual music.

  16. With my 3 to 5 year olds we sing and then we play some type of a game identifying treble clef notes and usually end up coloring some music worksheet.

  17. I would love this set! I currently use Piano Adventures and use lots of other bits and pieces that I have made or bought over the years. My alphabet cards get a good workout as do the alphabet erasers I found that are perfect for placing on the keys.

  18. I generally don’t work with students that young but have looked at teaching a course like this…I am like you, I have been stopped in the past because I don’t want to certify, etc.

  19. I currently use My First Piano Adventure with K5-1st graders; mostly private lessons, but we have a also group class about 3 times each semester. The students always love keyboard race and Music Candyland.
    I’ve been looking for a way to add a class or lessons for 4-year-olds. Maybe MiniMusic would be a good fit. Thanks for the review.

  20. I would love to teach younger students. Never taught that young, other than my own children, but it is something I have seriously considered. This kit would be a great resource!

  21. I LOVE to teach little ones- have had quite a few 3-year olds, and not a one has quit piano yet! One has been taking for six years now. I use a combination of books with them and tons of games and manipulatives that I have either gotten from other teachers’ sites or made myself, some from scratch, some by turning purchased games (thrift stores have great cheap board games:) into music games. One of my latest purchases that has been a total hit is a big bag of animal finger puppets. We use them to work on finger numbers, but then our tiger one goes along with the tiger songs in MFPA, plus you never know what the little animals are going to do to help teach students….kids love animals!

  22. My wife does the little ones and she is always telling me that “There has to be something out there that works better than what I can find.”

  23. I am doing this program with my grandchildren. They love music and love the fun things that we do with this. My daughter who is a band teacher bought the program in salt lake city at the music convention years ago so it is the original book and supplies. It would be wonderful to get all the new and updated supplies that it comes with now.
    With my little grandgirls always singing this is a great way to be introducing them to the world of music!

  24. My favorite activity with young children is anything using manipulatives like glass gems or animal erasers on the piano keys or on a worksheet – they love the colors and tactile nature of it!

  25. Been doing adults only but wanting to add 3 to 5 year olds because think I could add income to the studio but never found anything that seemed to be worth the investment. This looks like it is what I have been looking for.

  26. This isn’t really a game, but I have found recently that instead of just making a list for practicing each week that my students seem to be more motivated (and realize that practicing doesn’t have to be a huge time commitment each day) if I give them a checklist that they can mark off each day. It helps it be more doable for them.

  27. This has been so fun reading everyone’s ideas and musical activities for younger students! A very big thank you goes to Jennifer Foxx for reviewing the Minimusic program. Thank you!
    I will continue to enjoy the comments… Sunday is coming quickly!

  28. All the early beginners in my studio go straight for my box of rhythm instruments- they just love them. I use MFPA for the little ones, but supplement with a combination of other books, plus have compiled a simple one of my own for a group class I do for 3-5 year olds. We play tons of games and lots of off-the-bench activities, too.

  29. I currently use My First Piano Adventures books fort young beginners. My favorite game is an exercise in the book with play dough & placing pretend chocolate chips in the dough with correct piano finger placement. I incorporate that game with all my beginning students; as it is a fun helpful tool!

  30. Commenting because I know Paula and find everything she does is quality! I have some ensembles from the Minimusic collection – fun. My students love ensembles, and I try to involved them from the beginning of lessons, playing their first ensembles at Christmas! We laugh a lot, but catch the vision of ensembles, and begin to realize that the success of any performance is partly due to their individual preparations – a huge boost to first year learning and accomplishment!

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