Sunday, August 25, 2013

MacPhail Center for Music: A TOS Crew Review

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MacPhail Center for Music

From their website:
"At MacPhail Center for Music, we are enthusiastic about offering students of all backgrounds and abilities access to exceptional music learning. MacPhail Online helps you accomplish your unique musical goals, giving you new access to our extraordinary faculty and innovative programs through live Online Lessons (for individuals).

 Lessons are available for Piano, Guitar, Violin, Viola, Cello, Harp, Flute, Clarinet, Saxophone, Trumpet, Trombone, or Percussion, at Beginning, Intermediate, or Advanced levels."


Special Introductory Pricing - Individual Instruction - Four Online Lessons for $111
Receive four 30-minute individual online lessons from an outstanding teaching artist, from the convenience of your home. All K–12 homeschool students are eligible to participate in this package, a 25% discount from standard tuition rates.

Daytime Flex Packs for Live Online Lessons offer flexibility to accommodate your busy schedule and help you achieve your unique musical goals. Simply schedule 8 Live Online Lessons during the 18 week semester on any weekday from 9 am – 3 pm CST. Unexpected scheduling conflict? Our cancellation policy gives you the option of canceling your lesson up to 48-hours in advance, without forfeiting the lesson. Whether you travel for work or leisure, juggle kids' extracurricular activities, or live in an area where options for studying your instrument are limited, MacPhail's Daytime Flex Pack can help you experience the joy of music-making. Standard pricing will apply after introductory lessons at $37 per 30-minute lesson. 


The Bentz Test Laboratory has a new favorite...MacPhail Center for Music!  Several of my testers play instruments, and were excited for the opportunity to do some live, on-line music lessons with a long-time family friend,  MacPhail Center for Music.  

While located in Minnesota (our home state)  MacPhail offers worldwide instruction.  "How?"...  With the use of technology, your music teacher can come to your house.  Using SKYPE (free program you can download), your computer & a webcam - your music teacher is right in your home. No more packing up everyone to head to lessons, or waiting during the lesson. I can't even begin to tell you what a huge benefit this is to a busy homeschool mom. We don't have to interrupt everyone else's school lessons, pack up, drive, etc.  We can head to the piano room, turn on the computer and the lesson can begin.  This is one of the best time-saving tips I can offer you - online music lessons!

But, this convenience is just one of the benefits to this style of instruction.  Your instructor will see your student in their own environment, with their own instrument.  This is very crucial information.  We have done online lessons with another child of ours for the past four years.  Right away, his instructor was able to see that our piano bench was far too low for proper hand position - and was able to correct that early on.  When you take your child to another environment to learn - your instructor will have no idea of your home set-up where your child spends most of their time playing and practicing.

For this review,  I choose a different tester than the first one I mentioned (he has had tons of online piano lessons, loves his teacher - Kristin Shoemaker, and would never want to take lessons any other way!).  Noah, my tester for this review, has taken 2 years of private piano lessons before this review.

In his first few moments online with Timothy DePrey, our MacPhail instructor, my tester was hooked!  Timothy really connected with Noah.  He asked some questions about what he has been working on to access his level, and then...  he asked Noah, "What do you want to learn?"  (OK, he had me here too... it's so much more fun to practice when it's something you WANT to play!)

Noah surprised us both with his answer...  "Phantom of the Opera".  Ok... he's had a couple of years of lessons, he's moving along, but he's still a beginner!  Not phased by this request, Timothy grinned, and told him - "I'll find you some music, you need to work on finding the mask and cape for your performance."  Noah loved his sense of humor.

 Timothy promised to find something at his level that they could begin working on.  He really impressed me, within a couple of days - he had sent over the music Noah could begin working on, and had collaborated with colleagues at MacPhail to simplify it more to Noah's level.

Lesson 2 - Timothy jumps right in teaching the right hand part of this piece.  Once again, I was impressed, he quickly he connected with Noah, it couldn't have been more personal if he had been actually sitting next to him in our piano room.  He taught him the right hand portion,  and could see that Noah really wanted to be able to play both hands together (even though is was WAY above Noah's ability level).  So, he spent the time teaching and encouraging Noah on this score.

Timothy was incorporating music theory throughout the lesson, working on note names and values while working on proper fingering and melody.  I was impressed by how much was going on, in such a short time.

Here's the best part,  these lessons lit the fire in Noah to practice!  He wanted very badly to impress his instructor, and practiced diligently - without any reminders from me.  Noah was determined to master this piece in time for his final lesson.  Remember - Noah has only had 3 lessons with his MacPhail Instructor...

 This is a video of the beginning of his final lesson (he designed his costume himself...) :

I can honestly say, I didn't think "Phantom of the Opera" would be something Noah could play in just a few lessons, he really hasn't played piano for very long.  The credit goes to a PHENOMENAL instructor!  We have done music lessons for a very long time and I can tell you - a great teacher makes all the difference. We will most certainly be doing more instruction with MacPhail Center of Music.

MacPhail Center for Music is filled with great instructors waiting to light up your student's musical talent!

Click to read more reviews from the Schoolhouse Review Crew


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