Sunday, August 25, 2013

MacPhail Center Online Music Lessons Review

We have been taking music lessons for a couple years now.  Like most of you, I spend many afternoons shuffling between sports events and music lessons.  I am fortunate enough to have one child who has a teacher that comes to our home, and that is worth every penny!!

We recently had to opportunity to try out online music lessons from MacPhail Center for Music.

The benefits of students learning to play musical instruments are really innumerable.  It helps to teach responsibility, encourages creativity and opens them up socially.  But we all know, there is still only so much time in the day left for us to drive our kids everywhere.

Lydia met weekly with her piano teacher, and best of all it was in our kitchen.  

Each week we would connect up with our Skype account.  So a microphone and camera are necessary for this product.  You will also need high-speed internet access.  We would line up my laptop so that her teacher would see the keyboard so that she could watch Lydia's hand placement.  

She also worked with Lydia on reading music, and they worked on worksheets together....all over the computer using the laptop camera to see each other.

We did purchase one book for Lydia to use, but very reasonable at only $6.00 for it.  And we can continue to use this same book.  

You can take a look here to see how lessons work.....

I was very concerned how the teacher would be able to correct behaviors and teach from the computer.  Lydia is highly distractible and likes to do things her way.  I was very impressed how her instructor was able to keep her on track, even when a kitten ran across her keyboard or her sister tried to jump into the screen time.  The instructor could hear if she struck the wrong key....WOW!!  I was blown away by how smoothly this whole process went!!!

MacPhail offers a flexible schedule with day-time options for homeschool families.  This was the most appealing to me.  It is harder to find day-time instructors in our area, and evening lessons conflicts with sports schedules. 

There are also a wide variety of instrument choices, piano, guitar, violin, viola, cello, harp, flute, clarinet, trumpet, low brass, saxophone and percussion.  And lessons are given for beginners through advanced.

Special Introductory Pricing - Individual Instruction - Four Online Lessons for $111
Receive four 30-minute individual online lessons from an outstanding teaching artist, from the convenience of your home. All K–12 homeschool students are eligible to participate in this package, a 25% discount from standard tuition rates.

Daytime Flex Packs for Live Online Lessons offer flexibility to accommodate your busy schedule and help you achieve your unique musical goals. Simply schedule 8 Live Online Lessons during the 18 week semester on any weekday from 9 am – 3 pm CST. Unexpected scheduling conflict? Our cancellation policy gives you the option of canceling your lesson up to 48-hours in advance, without forfeiting the lesson. Whether you travel for work or leisure, juggle kids' extracurricular activities, or live in an area where options for studying your instrument are limited, MacPhail's Daytime Flex Pack can help you experience the joy of music-making. Standard pricing will apply after introductory lessons at $37 per 30-minute lesson.

This does seem a little steep, but if you add up cost of gas and your time traveling to music actually is very reasonable. 

I really love the MacPhail Online Music Lesson set-up!!  Her teacher was super nice and worked so well with Lydia, even when Lydia was in a highly distractable frame of mind.  Her instructor was very patient and did a great job reeling her back into her lesson.  The ease of use was wonderful!  We never had a technical issue during our review period!  I count that as a huge bonus!

There were a few things I want to point out.  It seems a little higher in price.  We would like to continue, but multiple children would like the price might become an issue for us quickly.  Also, if you do have multiple children, I spent a lot of time keeping them away from the "teaching" area during Lydia's classes.  Background noise can quickly become a big issue.  Technology does fail at times, we fortunately did not experience any issues, but we do have lags in our internet speed...not sure how this would affect the class time.  I do have to say though, we did have an issue where we missed a class due to unexpected hang-up and they worked very well with us.  They are so very nice!!!  So I rate the technology worry very low on the scale.

If MacPhail Center Online Music Classes seem like something you would like to try, please visit their site and fill out a Student Interest form or contact Kristin Shoemaker, MacPhail Online Manager, to begin the process of being matched with a teacher to suit your needs and interests.

Several members of the Schoolhouse Review Crew were given the opportunity to try out MacPhail Center Online Music Classes in their homes.  Please take some time to read how this program worked in their homes.


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