Music has been a part of my life for as long as I can remember. My parents tell me I asked to take lessons of all the typical girl interests: dance, gymnastics, horseback riding, and piano. They wisely asked me to choose one and I chose, much to their pleasure, piano. They of course told me they wanted me to do lessons for a year before deciding if I wanted to continue. It didn’t take long for me to fall in love with music and making music with the piano. I loved it so much, my parents would typically have to force me away to work on my homework. Believe me, this is not typical for music students. I should know this since I now teach piano.
|Grace “practicing” before she could even walk!|
Thanks to my parents providing me with lessons from the time I was 8, I now have 24 students in my home each week, two of whom are my own sweet girls! I love teaching, but I understand all too well the financial aspect of music lessons. There are often families who inquire after music lessons only to discover they are not financially able to move forward. Adventus has created and excellent, affordable alternative for students to begin piano lessons for families who cannot afford traditional instruction. MusicIQ Homeschool is perfect for use by anyone, even if you don’t have any musical background.
There are seven level options which include software, lesson plans, activity, and theory sheets. Parents can choose a monthly subscription for $10.95 which allows access to all levels of the entire curriculum. For families who would prefer to pay one-time the younger beginning three levels (ages 4-10) are priced at $89.95. The level used for ages 10 and up is priced at $109.95. Two separate level of ear training are only $59.95 each. To give you an idea of how this compares to traditional lessons, one month of private piano instruction provided by me, in my own home costs $60. You can easily see the price comparison!
Families do need to own a midi piano (which can be purchased directly from Adventus along with the curriculum in a package) since you must connect the piano to your computer in order to use the software. This would be an investment made for piano instruction anyway if the family did not already own a piano. I can assure you that anyone who learns to play on a keyboard can easily make the transition to a traditional piano. Over half of my students play on midi keyboards and have no difficulty playing on the grand piano at our church for their recital. There is a difference in key weight, but it will not cause any problems moving from one to the other.
For some, 4 years old may seem quite young to start learning music formally. I have successfully taught several 4-year-olds. Both Beth and Rose began lessons when they were 4. I hadn’t planned to start teaching Grace yet…she is only three after all! I have been “teaching” her a lesson every Friday along with her sisters, but it has been mostly to appease her pleas and hadn’t amounted to much…until I opened Year 1 on my computer and took a look. Much to my surprise the beginning lessons were similar to what I had been teaching her on my own (low and high notes).
Grace was quickly drawn into the program. I love the immediate immersion for students into classical music and composers. One of the things which is difficult to include in traditional 30 minute music lessons is information about composers and their music. Various composers introduce each lesson and music by the composer is played at the beginning and end. The music is also used during the practice sessions. Another fun aspect is that music composition is encouraged from the very first lesson!
The reason Grace was so quickly able to succeed with these lessons is that the concepts area taught without using traditional musical scores. High notes are called bird notes and low notes are called whale notes. When she was asked to play bird notes, she learned to play notes above middle C. When asked to play a whale note she knows to play below middle C. The program encourages students for correct answers and correct for wrong ones, giving them an opportunity to fix it during the practice sessions. Placing a sticker on middle C is a trick I’ve used with all my beginning students, especially the youngest ones. I used this technique with Grace as well because it is difficult for young students to recognize the pattern of the black and white keys.
Even though my older daughters have been taking lessons for a while (Beth – 2 years and Rose – 4 years) there was still opportunity for learning through this program. Beth completed several lessons from Volume 2. She very much enjoyed Ms. Melody in the practice room!
Rose has surpassed the lessons offered in all three levels of the Children’s Music Journey in what I have taught her already, but the music games were an excellent review for her. She frequently asked to play the games which were an excellent reward for after her daily practice. Everything from interval identification to ear training to note recognition is covered in the games.
I also used this with a few of my students to review. I found the music note review to be very helpful both for assessment and practice. When I tell my students they need to review their note names I often feel they don’t really understand the necessity of this skill. After playing through the cookie factory game my students recognized exactly where they stood. The only thing I didn’t like was that the correct note was not identified when they answered incorrectly. I feel this would have been beneficial so they would have had a better chance to answer correctly the next time.
This is an excellent program for families who are looking to begin music instruction but may not know how long their child will keep interest or have financial constraints. I also think this is a good resource for a traditional music teacher to have in their toolbox. My students who had the opportunity to use this program genuinely had fun and learned at the same time!
To see this program in action watch the video below of my sweet Grace. Keep in mind she is only 3 1/2 years old! I’ll admit this is younger than the program is intended for, but considering she is daily surrounded by music instruction it isn’t surprising she is doing so well!
Don’t forget to read more reviews from my Crewmates!