Review ~ Adventus MusIQ homeschool

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Music is one of the joys of my life and that is something I certainly wish to pass onto my children.  I was so blessed to come from a family that loves music ( I even have a sister studying harp at the Conservatorium). My parents were firm believers in the importance of a good music education and so I received 10 years of piano tuition throughout my growing years ( as did my sisters).    I have children who are naturally musically inclined and living here I have been greatly frustrated by my inability to find affordable, quality music lessons. You can imagine my delight when I was asked to review the MusIQ homeschool music program from Adventus.

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The Music IQ homeschool program is a full instructional music & piano program for kindergarten right through to the twelfth grade.  It includes the following parts:

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Each of these parts are written to compliment the other, yet they are also designed for varying maturities catering  for the different age groups.  We chose to use the Children's Music Journey (we used Volume One).  This is a full music program which includes keyboard lessons for the 4-10 age group.   It is a three year program with the varying volumes intended for each consecutive year.    For older students (10+), the Piano Suite Premier is recommended for the first year followed by the Ear training coach programs in the next two years and finally the MusIQ challenger game for the fourth year.  

The requirements for use of these programs are a MIDI piano keyboard (which is also available for purchase through Adventus) & a computer that is linked to the internet.  I was blessed enough to be given my parent's extra keyboard a year ago ( I love playing the piano & have had so much joy sitting down & playing here at home) and thankfully it has a MIDI connection port.  I did have to purchase a MIDI cord though (it was only $8) and this was readily available through ebay.  Adventus provided  full program access for our use.  

I printed off the lesson plans and put them in a two ring binder for ease of use!

Children’s Music Journey Volume 1  includes both the downloadable lesson plans and access to the interactive music software program which contains the bulk of the instructions for the program.  A parent is not required to have music knowledge prior to instructing the child through the program as everything is written very clearly & simply in the lesson plans.  The Children’s Music Journey Volume One lesson plans contains 20 individual lessons. Lesson plans are designed to assist the children in reviewing what they have learnt & preparing them for the upcoming teaching that is to be provided via the software. There is a music history component which compliments the history that is presented throughout the software ( I thoroughly enjoyed this & eagerly listened for this part).  The lessons also contain a theory component which is simple & reinforces what is taught in class.   Each lesson takes approximately 45 mins to 1 hours & Adventus recommends that the child complete 1 to 2 lessons per week with daily practice & use of the other components of the program.  The lesson plans also contains various activity sheets of variable difficulties to reinforce the student's knowledge of the particular subject.   There are assessments available at intervals & a record section is provided for ease of record keeping.

The Children's Music Journey interactive software is downloadable, but still requires internet connection. Each child has their own login thus making it easier for multiple students at different levels to use.  Upon login the student will arrive at the 'menu' where they get to choose which 'room' to visit.  There are 5 rooms to choose from and students are encouraged to visit them all at various intervals throughout either the lesson or their practice times.  Each room is carefully composed to compliment each other to assist in an overall understanding of the musical concept by the student.  Individual students will prefer different areas depending upon their preferred learning style although participation in each room is greatly encouraged.

The rooms are:
The Lesson Room ~ this is where they main lessons are taught.  A well known composer is introduced with a piece of their own composition and then they will give a brief introduction to themselves before instructing the student in the lesson of the day.  The lessons are short & engaging and they build upon each other in a logical way.  They commence with very basic concepts and then build upon them to have the student very quickly playing pieces of music.  

The Practice Room ~ Practice is so very important and yet how many piano student's 'forget' to practice during the week in between lessons?  Well Adventus have thought of that and practice is required before the next lesson is unlocked :)  Miss Melody who runs the practice room makes practice so much fun that my children have eagerly gone to this room straight after their lesson.  In this room they relearn the music skill they learnt in the lesson and have multiple chances of practicing their new songs.  It is very interactive and gives the child immediate feedback about their performance.  It is also very encouraging to the young student (no grumpy music teachers suffering from PMS in here). 

The Games Room ~ So much fun and definitely a favourite off all the young budding musicians here at Sunnyside!! The games room contains various musical games that again reinforce what the student has learnt as well as adding an additional element.  The games are slowly unlocked as the child progresses through the Children's Music Journey program.  This way they are able to build upon their new skills.  My children also enjoyed going back and replaying  previous games.  

The Library ~ Various options are presented in this room including listening to some well known classical songs, revisiting previous lessons, learning new songs and playing back your own improvised songs (that you  previously composed in the improvisation room).  My children particularly loved to sit & listen to the songs and I was pleasantly surprised to hear a fair few I learnt during my own piano studies.  

The Improvisation Room ~ this is a fun room that provides the young musician with the chance to come up with their own compositions.  It also gives them various instrument options to change the sounds within their musical piece!   

Ellie doing lessons!
We began by using this program as recommended by Adventus  following along with the lesson plans, but I quickly found that I have students of varying interest & skill levels ( & it had nothing to do with age).  Because I have given rudimentary piano instructions to different students, those children quickly climbed through the beginning lessons.  I found that our daughter in particular was able to complete up to 4 lessons in one day up until the point where she was no longer reviewing previous skills.  Even the boys enjoyed the program, although Zai at 10 found it a little young for him.  I intend to introduce him to the older children's program, Piano Suite Premier next term.  Even Eli & Jud were able to complete the lessons with very little supervision which I was so thankful for as it is something I was able to leave them to do while I did my morning jobs.  Adventus MusIQ Homeschool was very popular amongst my children and when I asked their opinion of it they quickly said it was "fun" and "very helpful"!  I am so excited that they have this chance to learn music and that I have this option of being able to pass on my love of music with an affordable & quality program that we can use right here at home & each child can complete at their own pace!

Adventus MusIQ homeschool  is available in various packages depending upon which part of the program you would prefer to use and whether you would like to purchase a keyboard in addition to the software and lessons.  The whole program including the majority of the components listed above and a MIDI piano keyboard currently  retails for $489.95 or you can choose to purchase just the Children's Music Journey software and lesson program for the one-off payment of  $89.95/ volume,  the Piano Suite Premier & lessons for $109.95 or the Ear training coach ( either 1&2 or 3&4) for $59.95 each. The Music IQ Challenger game is available for $69.95.  You may also choose to pay for monthly access to the full software program at $10.95/ month (lesson plans may be purchased separately).  For further options please visit their website.  

Jud completing one of the activity sheets
Adventus MusIQ Homeschool is a fun and engaging program for any student that provides them with a quality music education.  To be given the gift of being able to play an instrument is something the child will cherish for their whole life.  I know personally I am very thankful for the sacrifices my parents made so we were able to have music lessons.  Adventus MusIQ Homeschool not only enables the child to play the keyboard ( which is a wonderful base instrument to start music instruction upon so they can learn how to properly read music before branching into other musical instruments if the child wishes), but it also gives them the gift of music appreciation & the knowledge of music history which really does provide an insight into the history of the world.  As a musician myself, I highly recommend this course and look forward in continuing it's use with my children.   I have been very impressed with the quality of the teaching and the ease in which my children were able to use and understand the program and it's contents.



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