Adventus has developed computer-based teaching materials to make music instruction easily accessible for all student. Their MusIQ HomeSchool program is geared to preschoolers through high schoolers, with a collection of materials to fit every student in a family.
The Children's Music Journey software is appropriate for ages 4-10. Each of the three levels contains 25-35 weekly lessons, computerized practice sessions, games to reinforce the lesson content, and up to 50 new pieces for the student to learn to play on a keyboard.
Older students (age 10 and up) will use three programs -- Piano Suite Premier for keyboarding instruction, Ear Training Coach, and MusIQ Challenger Game for music theory. The Piano Suite Premier portion of the program has over 500 pieces to learn, both classical music selections and modern works that include jazz, country, and rock.
For the past several months, I've been using the Children's Music Journey part of the program with Lauren. We already had a portable keyboard, and I was able to purchase an inexpensive cable to use the MIDI outputs on it to connect it to our computer. (Adventus also sells affordable keyboards if you need to purchase one.) She has been exposed to some music but not any piano or keyboarding instruction so she started at the very beginning.
We found the Children's Music Journey program to be very easy to use. Each lesson started with an introduction from a famous composer. Lauren's first lessons were led by Beethoven, and in addition to teaching music concepts he also talked a bit about some of his most famous works. By looking ahead through the materials, I know that other composers are featured throughout the three levels of the program.
After listening to Beethoven teach the short lesson, Lauren moved on to either the practice room, the games room, or the improv room. I'll admit that I was a bit skeptical about learning improvisational skills this early in a music program, but I found enough help in the lesson materials to help me feel more confident. So far, Lauren practices improv by experimenting to see which notes sound best with the piece that that the computer is playing.
In addition to the computer activities, MusIQ HomeSchool included Lesson Plans for each level. I appreciated the way that the lessons gave us additional practice ideas that could be used away from the keyboard. For instance, in lesson three, Lauren learned about short and long notes. We made up some of our own phrases to practice clapping the rhythms. I also found a few fun printable activity sheets in the lesson plan materials to reinforce the music concepts from the lessons.
I'm quite impressed with all that is taught in the Children's Music Journey program, and I'm also pleased with the way it is presented to the children in an age-appropriate manner. The description of "bird notes" and "whale notes" really seemed to click with Lauren, and we're still working together to master the idea of long notes and short notes when clapping (or playing) a rhythm.
Our biggest complaint about the MusIQ program is that only the younger levels will work on our Mac computers. Addison loves music and really wished that she could try the upper levels. Honestly, after seeing the written materials and working through the lower levels with Lauren, I'm tempted to install Parallels/Windows on one of our Mac computers so that she can use the program too.
MusIQ HomeSchool is available as a subscription that costs $10.95 per month and gives you access to all levels of the program. If you'd like to purchase the Children's Music Journey programs instead of subscribing, they are available for $89.95 each. The lesson plans that I used with Children's Music Journey are included in the $89.95 price but are not included in the online MusIQ Homeschool subscription. If you'd like to purchase them separately, they cost $29.95 for each level. All of the programs require a portable keyboard with MIDI capabilities.