One of my most anticipated reviews this year was this one from Adventus. We received access to both their Children's Music Journey and Piano Suite programs using MusIQ homeschool. We also received access to the lesson plans which are sold separately from the subscription program. My children are all interested in music and have taken lessons for years. This program is much different from their regular lessons and was not used as a replacement rather as a supplement.
What Adventus offers was a completely new concept to me. Through a midi hook-up, the keyboard actually communicates with the computer. Getting it set up wasn't a simple process, but thankfully I had help. Before installing the program, I viewed a demonstration video about the website. That helped me tremendously with set-up, though I still ended up calling the company for support. The help over the phone was exceptional, and we were able to access each version of the program after a few settings changes. We ordered a midi cable for less than $5.00, but ended up not needing it. Our old keyboard worked with it, but the new one (with more keys as their music teacher had recommended) used the same cord as our printer to connect to the computer.
One of the first things that grabbed my attention about the program is the ear training suite. Our music teacher's mom shared recently about observing a group of young children performing and how she could pick out the musicians who had ear training by the way they played. It made me want that opportunity for my children. My youngest child was the primary one to use the MusIQ homeschool program and the ear training is only incorporated into the higher level program, so I am planning to try it with the girls and possibly Joseph, too, this summer. Another component of the program is music theory which my children have all received in bits and pieces but not followed a consistent plan.
My eight year old began with the Children's Music Journey program which is designed for children age 4-10. Though he may have thrived at a higher level since he already completed several years of piano lessons, I started him off at volume 1 to allow him to work through the lessons easily as well as pick up improve in areas he may have missed before. He shared that he liked the intro music as he started a new selection of each lesson a different selection was played by the featured composer. The lesson plans include a guide as well as worksheets and coloring sheets of each composer. Joseph said that the lessons were easy for him, but he was never bored with the program.
When you do each lesson in the Adventus program, first you watch a lesson on your computer screen taught by Beethoven (and later by other composers.) The composers teach you different notes to play and then short music selections to go with those notes. After the initial part of each lesson, the student has choices. The practice room provides an opportunity to practice the notes taught in the lesson. Games are unlocked as the child progresses through the levels and coordinate with the lessons. In the music room, children can make a recording of their own song. My son spent a lot of time in the music room which allowed more freedom with composing than he had before. He enjoyed playing his recordings for us. Another "room" incorporated into the program is the library where the child can try out various songs at their current level.
Music lessons are a big expense, and when you add in flashcards, sheet music, and repairs to instruments, the costs can quickly grow. Adventus offers an economical (by comparison) at home option, only missing the interaction with a live teacher. A monthly subscription is available for $10.95 or each level can be purchased individually. The interactive keyboard program is a good alternative or addition to limited live lessons. The download is authorized for one computer. It would be more convenient to have the program on more than one computer. The company does offer a CD rom which would allow the program to be accessed from multiple computers.
One disadvantage was due to our space and not to the actual program. The program works with both the laptop and the computer, so a better arrangement might allow the laptop to be positioned behind the keyboard. For us we alternated between a chair and a folding TV tray for the laptop and had to turn slightly away from the keyboard to view the screen.
Additional material for parents and teachers is shared by Adventus here. Watch an overview here: