About a month ago, I was selected as part of the Old Schoolhouse Review Crew to review the Adventus piano software. Adventus has MusicIQ, software specifically designed for the homeschooler, from ages 4-18. I received their software download Children’s Music Journey. I received Volume 1, 2, and 3 to review. For ages 4-10, at first I set up the lessons for Liberty (9) and Eden (8). They’ve talked about music lessons for years, but we’ve never had the ability to enroll them. The excitement in the house when I told them we were going to do the Adventus program was fantastic. (Okay, I was a little excited too. I woke them up at 6:00 am when I got the email.) Since then, I’ve added Ruby and Sterling as well. Since they were crowded around the table when anyone was practicing, I threw them all in there.
They LOVE it.
“Can I do another lesson? Play another game?” Is the oft-heard question when they are finished. They argue about who gets to play first. There are lessons, practice rooms, games, printables, and all sorts of fun to be had with the Children’s Music Journey. Lesson plans can be purchased separately if you so desire. It begins simple, discussing the higher octaves as “high bird notes” and lower notes as “low whale notes” and middle c as a man in the middle of the sea. Even Ruby (4) and Sterling (5) “got” it. It is progressing into teaching music notes for Liberty and Eden – Sterling and Ruby are still just a couple weeks in. Each of my kids practice in the practice room each day and lessons are set up to do one per week. The early ones had my older kids doing a bit more, until they were being challenged a bit more. They spend about 30 minutes playing before I make them switch students. (And it’s really MAKE them. They don’t switch without being told it’s time.)
The curriculum is highly interactive with the student. If a lesson isn’t completely finished, it cues up to do that lesson again next time. The images are colorful and fun and one part of the program “knows” how much practice has been done in other areas. I’ve been highly impressed with how well it communicates within the program and how easy it was to jump in and begin. It does have to be online (the downloaded program does) to verify your product key each time you log in.
My children have had no prior music instruction but they are lining up for their piano lessons. Having taken years of lessons as a child myself, I know this is NOT normal! It’s been so much fun to watch them learn, to enjoy their time, and beg for more. I can’t wait to see how far this takes them! Taking them to lessons isn’t feasible right now, but I’m not certain it’s even necessary at the rate they are going! The thought of them learning to play at home, having fun and without tears, is awesome. The program notices their rhythm and warns them “Careful!” when they don’t get it right or hit the wrong note. It’s really cool! I hope their enthusiasm continues with this – and I have no reason to think it won’t. It’s colorful and fun and challenging and interesting. Even Charlotte (age 2) hovers to watch and asks if she’s allowed to have a turn. It would be a bit above her head, I’m afraid, but she’s always watching.
See what I mean?!
Adventus offers programs for older students as well. Piano Suite Premier is for ages older than 10 and offers beginner to intermediate instruction on a multitude of topics. With only young students, we didn’t try that program, but more information can be found about it here.
Composers “teach” the lessons on the Children’s Music Journey software. Volume one has 25 lessons, and Volumes 2 and 3 each have 35 lessons. The student hears famous works by the composer that teaches the lesson. It’s pretty fun to hear names like Beethoven, Joplin, and Bach become household words! Information on the composer isn’t discussed, but they offer a blog that covers some info on the composers discussed on the Children’s Music Journey’s software that is located at http://mcresource.wordpress.com/. For this homeschooling mom who likes to make everything into a study… I really appreciate that!
The Children’s Music Journey program is compatible with almost all computers made after 2000 and needs a MIDI Keyboard (a digital keyboard that connects to your computer via a USB cable). Adventus has one they recommend on their website if you don’t own one already, and they offer it for purchase with their programs if you’d like to purchase it that way.
You can use the program for $10.95 a month (all levels included – great when you have a variety of age groups using it). There are many different options for purchasing the Adventus program, detailed here. The lesson plans are not included in the monthly subscription price, but are priced separately. Read here for more information.
Read more reviews on the Children’s Music Journey and hear from others who tried the other levels offered by Adventus at the Schoolhouse Review Crew Blog.