This post is now available on the Right Brain Child:
I originally wanted to send Gavin for Suzuki Music lessons but due to some unexpected commitments, I no longer have the time to commit to it. I still consider Suzuki my gold standard for music lessons, but right now there is a need to be practical about what I can and can’t commit to. I still want Gavin to do music, so I decided to look at the alternatives…
One alternative would be to postpone music lessons until I have the time for them. Another alternative which I came across fairly recently is called Piano Wizard Music Academy. In a nutshell, it is basically a computer program with an electronic keyboard hooked up to a computer. The program is like a game where children are taught to play the keyboard by matching the colour coded keypad to the colour coded notes on the screen. Through game play, they learn how to recognise notes on a music score and eventually learn how to play the piano reading traditional music.
The following video is a demo of the game in action:
It is apparently so easy to learn how to play the piano this way that they have successfully taught a mentally disabled boy to play piano using the Piano Wizard program.
What does it come with?
- Quickstart DVD
- The software program
- Easy mode – 100 song curriculum
- Premier mode – 100 more songs
- Colour-coded keyboard stickers which are washable and removable
- Star sticker rewards
- Professional full size 4 Octave keyboard (with USB cable)
- 50 video lessons on 10 DVDs
- 5 song books with 10 songs on each book
The 200 song curriculum is equivalent to a 2 year music curriculum for children. The program also comes with the facility for you to download more songs. The program is intended for parents, music teachers and non-music educators alike so virtually anyone with or without music background can use it.
The package comes with some other bonuses, but I was only really interested in the 50 piece fingerwork fluency song pack which is designed to make scales, arpeggios and drill work fun, fast and simple to learn – I’d like to see that! I remember scales were the most unenjoyable part of music lessons.
How much does it cost? $497 with the keyboard, $397 without. They also have an option to purchase the program on a $99/month installment plan for individuals that qualify.
It certainly isn’t the Suzuki Method, and I do question products that promise to achieve something in as little as 10 minutes. I also wonder about the long-term implications of learning music through a program like this. However, if all this program succeeds in achieving is to teach the basics in music, create an interest and a further desire to learn music, then perhaps it has achieved it’s fundamental goal. Additionally, I have seen how crazy Gavin can get with the Nintendo Wii so I can imagine him learning music quite easily using a program like the Piano Wizard Music Academy. And I really want him to learn music for all the benefits that music can teach – so I’m considering it.