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Review of Adventus Piano Software

 photo AdventusLogo_zps301dbe63.gif Kathryne decided recently that she wanted to learn how to play the piano. I have some basic piano knowledge, so after Christmas I purchased an inexpensive keyboard, and we started on the basics. I was thrilled with the opportunity to review piano lesson software from Adventus. We received the MusIQ software and homeschool lesson plans. This program has two parts- Children's Music Journey (for ages 4-10) and Piano Suite (for ages 10 and up).  photo musiqhomeschool-software_zps4cb3ceea.jpg
 Despite my initial excitement, we had some significant problems using and liking this program.

The program comes as a software download and PDF files for the lesson plans. The PDF files also include worksheets that go along with the lessons. Pricing for the program varies. There is a monthly subscription option which includes access to all of the piano programs but no keyboard or lesson plans. It is $10.95 per month. Lesson plans can then be purchased separately for about $29.95 per year of plans. The keyboard is also sold for $110 when signing up for a monthly plan. There is a Quick Start Bundle for the Children's Music Journey including Year 1 software, lesson plans and a keyboard for $199. Then Year 2 and 3 can be purchased with lesson plans for $89.95 each. The Piano Suite Quick Start Bundle with Year 1 and lesson plans and keyboard is $219.95. Years 2 and 3 with lesson plans are $59.95 each, and Year 4 with lesson plans is $69.95. There is a complete software package that includes all of the years of curriculum for both courses, lesson plans for the first year of both courses, and a keyboard for $489.95.

First, I had many problems understanding and accomplishing the set up. My anti-virus software did not like this program and warned me the whole time I installed. I did pick up some malware soon after installation, but I am not sure if it came from anything I had installed from the company. The company did provide timely and helpful tech support. Even with this, I could never quite get things to work consistently. My keyboard matched the specifications, and I could walk through the keyboard set up problem and identify that the keyboard was indeed hooked up correctly and working. But, sometimes Kathryne could use the program successfully, and sometimes the program just didn't seem to pick up the keyboard even after I did the keyboard configuration program and it indicated that the keyboard worked. This was frustrating- especially because every time she sat down to use the program, it seemed there was some set up problem I had to deal with. I do know the company sells a keyboard, so possibly a user may have better success with the company keyboard.

Even though I did look at the younger children's version- Children's Music Journey- Kathryne primarily used the older version-Piano Suite. I included the lesson plan assignments and activity sheets with her daily work because she had already been in the habit of practicing piano daily.

The lesson plans were sometimes difficult to follow. It was sometimes difficult to tell what, exactly, was supposed to be done in the lesson. The lesson would reference piano theory segments to read; but in the actual program, once the lesson was selected, the program would continue to go through lesson without letting you know you were through with one and moving to the next. This was very frustrating for Kathryne because she would just keep on with the program, and by the time I had her stop and we went back to the home page, it was obvious that many lessons had been completed.



On the site, the Piano Suite is supposed to be for ages 10 and up. And, in fact, on the main page, the site says the full program is for 4-18. However the program seemed very juvenile even for Kathryne-age 13. The instructions- and especially the lesson plans- seemed written for younger students.

My look at the Children's Music Journey indicated that it seemed to be more age appropriate (for ages 4-10) with animated composers explaining and giving instructions to the students.

Unfortunately this just didn't seem to be a good fit for Kathryne. The difficulties in set up and difficulty understanding exactly how things worked made the program hard to use. The juvenile presentation of the material made it something Kathryne dreaded doing. I think the younger program would have been a little better to use if you were doing it with younger students (and, incidentally, it was easier for me to set up; and the keyboard seemed to work with it).  

So, a summary: 
Company Name and Website: Adventus  
Program: MusIQ with Children's Music Story (ages 4-10) and Piano Suite (ages 10 and up)  
Pros: The younger version seems age appropriate and interesting and educational for younger students. Program is used with a digital keyboard, making it interactive.
Cons: Program was very difficult to install and learn to use. The older student program seems quite juvenile. The program did not work consistently for us.

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You can read what other members of the Schoolhouse Review Crew thought of the program by clicking below:
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