Sunday, August 25, 2013

MacPhail Center for Music Review

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My daughter took her first year of violin at our co-op this past year.  Since she enjoyed playing and wasn't going to have any lessons during the summer, I was happy that we received four lessons through Macphail Center for Music.  The online lessons are performed through Skype with an instructor trained in the instrument the child plays.  The instruments available are piano, guitar, violin, viola, cello, harp, flute, clarinet, trumpet, low brass, saxophone, and percussion.

The Center pairs the student with a teacher and creates a schedule depending on your availability.  They also get in contact with you through email and then Skype to be sure that your Internet connection works properly.  The woman we worked with on this step was very friendly and professional.  She was knowledgeable about the system and computer technology so that we were able to get the best connection possible.  Our Skype often freezes or looks like the person on the other end is underwater.  We ended up using our Android tablet instead for the first two lessons.  Forgetting about the tablet for the third lesson, we had to use the laptop.  For whatever reason it worked wonderfully, and we didn't have to go back to the tablet.

Each of the four lessons lasted a half hour.  We made sure we were available at the time that Paige's teacher, Jeremy Swider, called.  He began her lessons by asking her about her playing experience and having her play a piece she had been working on.  Since she had not yet perfected "Somewhere Over the Rainbow," he worked on that with her.  He taught her some techniques to make the song easier and also gave her some new songs to practice.

Over the four lessons, Jeremy was a wonderful teacher.  He was professional and patient.  For example, Paige did not know the names of the notes, and she did not know many musical terms.  He took the time to teach her a lot of things she did not know previously.  Her playing improved as well with the different techniques he taught her.  Through the Skype lesson, he was able to see exactly how she held her violin, and Paige was able to watch him and see the correct positions.  He could see when her finger placement was off even slightly and coach her.

The lessons are over now, and Paige is excited to return to our co-op this year and participate in her second year of violin.  She knows that she will be ahead of where some of the other students are, and this is because of Jeremy and MacPhail Center for Music.  She said, "It was very educational."

The first online lesson is free when you sign up for at least two.

They do have special introductory pricing for individual instruction - four online lessons are only $111.
You will receive four 30-minute 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.


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