I decided to get the Piano Wizard Music Academy instead of sending Gavin to Suzuki music classes. Initially, I put off Suzuki music classes because I was pregnant with my third baby and I knew I wouldn’t be able to commit to the classes. That was the real reason why I started looking for other options to teach Gavin music. Perhaps this is just me on retail therapy but I really do think this is the best option for us right now.
I did look at some other options as well, like Music for Little Mozarts, Classical Magic, and Soft Mozart. I chose Piano Wizard Music Academy in the end because it was a more practical and hands-on approach to music. It gets the children playing music almost immediately so they can get right into the fun part. Although Soft Mozart is pretty similar to Piano Wizard, Piano Wizard Music Academy gave me the option to pay with Paypal which I prefer. I also feel that the Piano Wizard Music Academy support is more comprehensive.
Why Piano Wizard Music Academy and not the Suzuki Method?
1. Time Commitment
I can teach Gavin music without having to leave the house. Saves me time on travelling and I don’t need to find someone to look after Gareth while I take Gavin to music classes.
The Piano Wizard Music Academy is more cost efficient. I can use the same program to teach Gareth music when he’s ready. The product plus shipping charges and the keyboard (which I am purchasing locally) will cost me about RM2100 approximately, depending on the exchange rate. This covers a two year music curriculum plus the option to download more music pieces.
The cheapest music classes I have seen so far is about RM20 per class (this is without deposit, books, etc.). The Suzuki Method can cost as much as RM100 per class depending on where you go. Two years worth of music classes at RM20 per class, once a week will cost RM2080 (this is not inclusive of books, registration and other miscellaneous fees). If I send two children, it will be RM4160 (assuming no inflation on music class fees).
So although the Piano Wizard Music Academy requires a heftier upfront payment, in the long run, it is the cheaper option. If the kids enjoy music enough to want to continue with classes, I can send them for professional music classes after they have completed the Piano Wizard Music Academy. By that time, they will have built the basic foundation in music and will be more motivated to learn. I will also know whether they are keen to continue with music lessons or if this endeavour is a waste of time.
3. Sight Reading
The reason I liked the Suzuki Method initially was because of the focus on training the ear and listening skills. I later read that Suzuki students have a harder time transitioning to reading music. Compared to students who learn using the traditional methods, Suzuki students have more trouble reading musical notation. It almost seems like learning music by ear first can be a bit of a handicapp. I don’t know if this is truly the case as I have no experience with the Suzuki Method. I hope parents whose children have been studying music through the Suzuki Method can shed some light on this matter.
Ordering the Piano Wizard Music Academy
The Piano Wizard Music Academy comes with two packages – with the keyboard and without. The keyboard costs an extra $100 which I reckon is a bargain. The only problem is getting it into the country. I’m sure that by the time I’ve gotten the keyboard through customs, it won’t be $100 any more.
You can use any electronic keyboard with the Piano Wizard Music Academy as long as it has a USB cabel to connect it to the computer. I took a look at some Casio and Yamaha keyboards but they were just ridiculously expensive (RM1500 for the Casio and RM4500 for the Yamaha). After enquiring, I was told that the keyboard that comes with the Piano Wizard Music Academy is the M-Audio KeyRig 49 (which has four octaves). I found a local supplier selling it for RM505. The supplier is Sinamex and they are located in Berjaya Times Square:
SMX Electronics Sdn Bhd
07-67&68, 7th Floor,
Berjaya Times Square,
55100 Kuala Lumpur
Tel: +603 2142 8657
Fax: +603 2142 6657
They are currently out of stock of the M-Audio KeyRig 49, but they recommended an alternative – the Alesis Q49 which costs RM545 and is currently in stock.
Stay tuned and I’ll let you know how we go with the Piano Wizard Music Academy.