We recently received the opportunity to review live, online, lessons from the MacPhail Center for Music. My 12 year old daughter M was so excited for the chance to have beginning piano lessons!
Let me tell you a little bit about my daughter first, so you will have an idea of how MacPhail has helped her. She is 12 years old and LOVES music. For several years now she has been singing a cappella with her brothers and sisters in different churches. She has desired to learn to play piano, but being on the road as we have been the last 10 years made it very difficult for her to take any lessons. She would pick up a little bit here and there from people we knew around the country, but as you may know, individuals often play a little differently, so she was often frustrated by this. Her older sisters play violin by ear and have helped her a couple of times to pick out a song or two. So, as I said before she was really looking forward to these lessons and she was definitely a beginner.
For the lessons you do need a computer with a webcam and microphone. You also need a high speed internet connection and of course Skype. For the piano lessons they highly recommend a piano, but were able to work with M with our keyboard. She used headphones, to block out excess noise, but they are not required. They will run a test with you prior to your first class to verify you meet the necessary requirements. We were able to arrange the lessons to fit in with our schedule.
So, M received 4 lessons and in that time was able to learn 4 new songs! I personally was amazed at how quickly she was able to pick these up. Her teacher Kristen did a superb job. Not only did she teach the lessons, but she made M feel comfortable and have fun while learning. There was interaction between them. I appreciate that she had M answer questions and give feedback on how she felt she was doing. kristin was energetic and encouraging. Her enthusiasm and love of music was visible in the lessons.
The first lesson, I had M all set up and then left the room. I did wander in and out, but I wanted M to feel comfortable and not feel like I was sitting over her shoulder. She learned to chord and play God is so Good. She also worked a little on chording Amazing Grace. When lessons were over she practiced all on her own off and on throughout the day, which continued until her next class. For her second lesson she worked on God is so Good and Amazing Grace. During these lessons she received instruction on proper finger position, learning sharps and flats, keys on the keyboard and other little helpful tips. even I could see improvement. Kristin also encouraged her to sing along certain times when she played and this really helped her with timing.
Her third lesson she learned Happy Birthday, which is perfect because her brother is having a birthday next week. This one she chords. The last lesson she learned Come Let Us Adore him. During this lesson she learned to add her second hand on beginning notes and then practiced legato. Sliding from key to key where the sound overlaps just a little.
Kristen also was able to give me a few recommendations for M, to help with her playing. We are now looking for a foot pedal for the keyboard.
Did I expect this from the lessons? No. I really thought it would be difficult to learn music this way. I believe she really learned more than I expected her to, especially with 4 lessons. Did M enjoy her lessons? YES! YES! YES! She has been practicing all on her own.
Below is a small clip of her fist learning a song.
A little about MacPhail:
MacPhail Center for Music is a community resource for music education, events and community partnerships. A successful, independent nonprofit organization, MacPhail’s flagship site is in Minneapolis, with access sites in Apple Valley, Chanhassen and White Bear Lake, plus 72 partnership locations. From its inception in 1907, MacPhail Center for Music has grown to become a passionate organization at the forefront of music education and appreciation for the arts, and a leader in music therapy, Suzuki Talent Education, Early Childhood Music and community partnership programs.MacPhail Center for Music has lessons for all ages, levels and instruments. Just in the Crew we had lessons for piano, guitar, violin, trombone, flute, percussion and trumpet. This is perfect for the homeschooler because you can have lessons right in your home, at your convenience. You can schedule during the school day and not have to pack everyone up and head out to lessons. You can actually continue teaching your other students while one is taking their lesson.
Pricing for MacPhail Center for Music:
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.
Would we like to continue lessons? Yes, M really would, so we are looking into how we could work things out. I highly recommend the MacPhail Center for Music. If you are looking for music lessons for the upcoming school year be sure to visit the MacPhail Center for Music website.
Kristin if you read this, thank you so much for the lessons with M. You were a great teacher and we enjoyed this experience.
Be sure to read the reviews written by other Crew members by clicking on the link below.