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DVD Review: Introducing Trebellina

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“Teach Your Baby to Read Music with Trebellina,” proclaims the DVD cover of Introducing Trebellina from the Cristofori Baby Company. Tapping into the trend towards early education (teach your baby to read, teach your baby to sign, etc.) Trebellina provides a lighthearted, informal introduction to simple music theory for one to four-year-olds.

Trebellina is an exuberant, animated treble clef that leads young children through a simple, lively introduction to Da Notes of the treble staff (a gang of bright, animated notes that live on the staff) with the help of her friends Rock Bassey (a bass cleff) and Rhythmo (an abstract representation of rhythm), while providing simple music appreciation segments. Various musical instruments, familiar songs, live action dance sequences, and rhythm recognition are all incorporated into this fast-paced half-hour program for pre-schoolers.

The child approval rating for the disc runs high in our home. All of our children from age six down to our ten-month-old baby are fascinated by the bright, fun-filled antics of Trebellina. They are learning the names of a variety of instruments, singing note names along with Trebellina, dancing to the live action sequences, and clapping along with Rhythmo. I might be imagining things, but I believe I heard our wee baby sing “F” after I echoed Trebellina’s introduction to the note.

Personally, I don’t recommend pushing young children into early academics, and my little ones aren’t reading music yet. I am however, very interested in developing an affinity for music, rhythm and tonal recognition from a young age. Trebellina can be effectively used as a pre-primer to formal music lessons, as part of an informal music program for preschoolers, or even as a guilt-free babysitter for busy parents who can assure themselves that, “Well, they are learning something at least!”

Parents looking for a highly structured program to teach their child to read sheet music won’t find Trebellina the best program to use with their children. There are no formal lesson plans presented, and the pace of the video is so rapid that only a general familiarity with the concepts presented will be gained. By incorporating the parent-led teaching tips included with the DVD the learning experience can be taken deeper, and becomes more interactive rather than a passive DVD viewing experience.

Being independently produced, the music can at times be tinny or too loud, and the animation somewhat choppy but my children don’t mind. In fact, if I let them have their way we’d be dancing with Trebellina upwards of three times a day! My three-year-old is her biggest fan, and our baby loves to groove along as well. The disc can be run through in one go and has the option of watching only the animated portions or live action segments.

While I remain unconvinced of the disc’s ability to transform the average child into a virtuoso, this child-friendly DVD is a fun way to introduce the simplest concepts of music theory through play, bright visuals and fun tunes.

Introducing Trebellina has a 30-day money back guarantee and is a recipient of a wide array of product awards including a Dr. Toy award. Video excerpts, free coloring pages, connect the notes pages, and full-color posters are available for free at the Trebellina website, along with an online store. The second DVD in the series will feature Rock Bassey and explore the notes of the bass staff.

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About Jennifer Bogart