Monday, March 25, 2013

AdVentus MusIQ HomeSchool : A TOS Crew Review

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MusIQ HomeSchool  by Adventus


From their website:

" Recommended by music educators and parents, MusIQ HomeSchool programs are delivered in an innovative and motivational style that is easily integrated into a home-study routine. Year-by-year lesson plans enable parents to regularly monitor progress."

Beginner to Intermediate. - ages 4-18 - Children's Music Journey Volumes 1-2-3

Multi-level Curriculum Software and Lesson Plans for ages 10+ -  Piano Suite Premier



 photo musiqhomeschool-software_zps4cb3ceea.jpg The seven-year curriculum includes 20+ levels for beginner to advanced intermediate piano students. The Lesson Plans include detailed lesson objectives, activity sheets, quizzes and assessments plus hundreds of helpful tips from experienced educators.
                      
You may download the software (Monthly Subscription - $10.95/month ) Great option for families with children in multiple levels (includes all software)

or

Purchase the software  (see options here).  Either way, you will need a MIDI piano keyboard.  Try a free trial to see for yourself.


Bentz Test Laboratory was SO excited for this!  We have several testers, at different levels, that tried out the MusIQ HomeSchool .

Testers 1 & 2 are fairly new piano students.  They could not wait to get started with Children's Music Journey Volume 1.  Volume one has 25 lessons (Volumes 2 and 3 each have 35 lessons).  The lessons begin with a well-known composer teaching the lesson.  (Check out their blog that covers some info on the composers discussed on the Children’s Music Journey).  They loved the characters, and how interactive this program was.  With the amazing technology of a midi keyboard (we had one already - but, they sell an affordable keyboard too!) & the interactive software - they were able to play along with the program independently.

 It quickly became addictive to them... they beg for piano practice!  We have taken years of traditional piano practice - and I've never had a child so enthralled as to beg to practice!  This is not only fun - but, quickly moves into more challenging music instruction.  "Tell them this is AWESOME", said one of the Testers.

The downloadable Lesson Plans gave us everything we needed to round out an excellent music curriculum. Every step is clearly outlined for you, and the interactive software is very easy to use!  Each session is broken down into about an hour. 
  • Theory - the composer teaches the lesson
  • History - learn more about the life and music of the composter
  • Software - the lesson, time in the Practice Room, and time in the Games Room, a visit to The Library to listen to more music
  • Theory - using Musical Alphabet cards that you can print out
  • Game - reinforce the lesson
  • Improvisation in the Improv Room to experiment and listen
  • Printable Activity sheets to color and complete
Normally, I have to promise, beg, and threaten to get an hour of piano practice from these testers.  Not with Children's Music Journey - they were promising, begging and threatening me for more time!

My next tester is a bit more experienced pianist.  So, he started with the Piano Suite Premier

Once again, the program was very intuitive, and he picked it up independently.

 It  has 5 different skill levels from beginning to intermediate.  There are hundreds of narrated lessons on notation, music theory, sight reading and playing.

The Learn to Play Library contains 500 different songs from a wide variety of music styles ranging from Levels 1-5. There is a detailed section on Music History and also a variety of interactive games.

 Piano Suite gives instant audio and visual feedback plus detailed reporting for you to monitor progress.  Your student will be able to compose, edit, save, and print their own music!

He was quickly drawn into it and was begging for more.  After a short while however, he found it to be frustrating to master the lesson to move forward, and lost interest quickly.  

My third tester is our most accomplished pianist.  He truly has a musical gift, and has taken private lessons for years.  He jumped ahead in the lessons, but found them very frustrating.  He felt it moved far too fast for the average player to keep up with (and he's not an average player).  The games were not well explained, and the music pieces rather complicated to pick up quickly.  He did enjoy music history section, and was impressed by the amount of information available.







All in all - this was a very effective music instruction program for my younger children.  They loved it, and were learning along with it.

My older children (who have had years of piano instruction with a traditional teacher) found it a bit difficult to work with. Maybe it was just too "different" from having a live teacher.

This is a very well done introduction to piano - certainly worth the price  - compare it to the cost private lessons and I'm sure you'll agree!


Click to read more reviews from the Schoolhouse Review Crew


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1 comment:

  1. For the older children using Piano Suite, they may be used to playing pieces that are a higher level, using various strategies (normally taking traditional lessons, they would master a piece partly by reading, partly by memory, partly by ear) playing a piece until it's mastered.

    Piano Suite helps develop strong sight reading, fluent reading, which is a key skill. But to get there may take going through a few pieces that seem beneath their playing level, but are not beyond their reading level.

    Try focusing on assessing the pieces that they can read and learn to play a bit more easily, and make sure they use the learning methods as intended, score well in wait for note before moving to notes and timing, and slow the metronome down in notes and timing to get an 85% or higher, gradually moving the metronome up as they score better. They will come up to their 'self-determined' level of skill gradually, and they will be strong sight readers.

    This difference (with traditional lessons) between what a student can prepare and perform, versus what they can read, is normal, most students even at grade 8 conservatory level are not strong sight readers (ever) unless they read a lot of new literature.

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