One thing I’ve never shared on any of my blogs is that I’m a Classically trained pianist. For seven years I took lessons from a sweet, soft spoken lady who met her husband at the prestigious New England Conservatory of Music. In the small town I lived, the Walters’s raised up at least a couple generations of cultured pianist. Training from them was highly regarded. When people found out you took lessons from them, you were expected to know something.
I haven’t really thought about those lessons for years until I received a request to review a music program from Adventus, a company that specializes in computer software designed to teach piano and music appreciation. The curriculum I received is MusIQ Homeschool. This included lesson plans for both an early learning program and a multi-level learning program.
MusIQ Homeschool is actually two separate programs. Children’s Music Journey is geared for younger students, ages 4-10, and is designed to be a 3 year program. Piano Suite is better suited for students aged 10 and over and covers 2 years, or your student can progress from Children’s Music Journey to Piano Suite. There are several purchase options for both programs, you can purchase a complete bundles, quick start sets, 1 year at a time, or a monthly subscription for $10.95. Looking at overall cost of this program, your child can take a 30-minute piano lesson for around $5–that’s a $1 less than my parents paid 30 years ago. I challenge you to find a quality piano lesson for that cost anywhere now.
As I stated above this program Adventus created isn’t just a way to teach kids how to play the piano. There is also an extensive study of the various periods of music, types of music, and composers. Beethoven and Scott Joplin and the two that come to mind right now.
Knowing my way around the piano, I wasn’t a bit intimidated to sit down and jump right in. For you parents who are not musically literate, or tone-deaf for that matter, you won’t have any problem managing this program. The MusIQ Homeschool lesson plans are laid out in outline form, and there is very little prep work. All you need to do is follow the plans. This program pretty much teaches itself. You are there for guidance. For younger students using Children’s Music Journey, you’ll need to read the lesson plans to them, but if you children are older and using Piano Suite, you can pretty much leave them on their own to do the lessons. Students are expected to practice around 30 minutes a day–typical expectations for any piano student. The MusIQ Homeschool lesson plans also include evaluation sheets that are self-explanatory, so you can tell if your student is progressing. As I said before, if your not musically inclined, don’t be intimidated. These are simple evaluations and you’ll be able to fill out the progress forms.
Even though Buttercup is older, I started her off in the Children’s Music Journey. I wanted her to have a firm foundation before tackling Piano Suite. She’s rapidly progressing through the animated lessons, and they are a bit babyish for her, but she’s having fun. She enjoys the simple games. I just let her work on the lessons until she’s ready to stop for the day. I will say that Buttercup could have handled the age appropriate Piano Suite. Generally, I have to remediate her lessons, but in this case it wasn’t necessary. So I do recommend following those guidelines and lesson plans closely to keep the student stimulated.
The only downside I’ve found with this program is setting it up. Be prepared to take an hour or so to get all of the software and manuals loaded and ready to go. Another problem I’ve encountered is with Windows 7. The cursor tends to lag and not move as it should. Buttercup becomes frustrated waiting for the mouse to catch up with the program. This could be just my computer because every system works differently.
This has been an extremely fun program. When your kids put their hands on this, they aren’t going to want to do any other school work. They will be begging for MusIQ Homeschool first thing in the morning. I can understand why, it’s definitely a program you can get lost in. I intend to continue to use this program and incorporate this into Buttercup’s curriculum plan for next year.