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There are many activities for children these days, but few are worthwhile in terms of the fun and development you can expect from the activity. MusIQ Club is at the high end of quality activities, but it’s also at the low end in terms of cost. To see why this is true, read comments below from experts in the field of Early Childhood Music Education and Music Education.

boy playing piano

Jim Mullen

Adventus Founder and President

What we’ve created with the My First MusIQ Club program is an ideal way to keep young children engaged in and enjoying the process of learning the language of music.. reading, performing, improvising and composing. It’s a high quality program that every family can afford.

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My First MusIQ Club takes advantage of having friends together in a class, and extends the reach of the educator with high quality interactive software – it’s a combination of the best traditional and modern strategies.

Early group music programs using traditional strategies are widely available, but My First MusIQ Club delivers two unique advances compared to the best traditional-only programs:

  1. Skill development reading music, playing piano, improvising & composing while in preschool
  2. Extension of the program to the home using award-winning interactive software

These enhancements allow groups of young children to develop a significant level of skill, and that means they receive all the important benefits of a quality instrumental music education.. namely emotional, social, cognitive and physical development.

As you’ll see in the research document below, increasing the actual skill development is a big advantage when starting school, and it’s a permanent advantage.

Another important benefit of My First MusIQ Club is that when children leave the program they want to continue this extremely developmental process because they like it. Children can easily join higher level MusIQ Club programs and continue to an advanced level of skill.

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Victory Music Conservatory Dean Stephen Green

Stephen Green

Dean of the Victoria Conservatory of Music, former E.D. of Children's Music Foundation, former E.D. and Dean of Education, Royal Conservatory of Music

When I think back to 2005, when you first introduced me to the computer software based music education programs Adventus was developing, we were living in a world (as far as Music Education goes) where the only option to bring music education to young children was through traditional approaches and methods developed primarily between the late 19th century and first half of the 20th century, which employed acoustic instruments that traced their origins in some cases from centuries ago.

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While this is all very organic, tried and true, and certainly has its place within the spectrum of music education possibilities, it was allowing an ever-increasing divide to occur between the children of today and the world they are to face as they grow up. I have witnessed countless examples of parents and teachers rejecting computers and other electronics, wanting to hold on to the “tried and true” and keep their children/students apart from the world they are inevitably going to have to deal with. Computer technology is here to stay, and as we see through the new, innovative, effective, and relevant music education tools Adventus has developed, we now have a way to bridge the gap between what music education has been, and what it needs to become. More and more teachers, whether in traditional classroom settings, at music schools, community centres, pre-schools, public and private schools, or in one-on-one applications, are realizing how the use of computer technology can greatly enhance the education experience for children, and in fact, it is also evident that the Adventus programs are just as popular with adults and seniors!

As the Adventus software titles have evolved over the past decade and a half to what they are today, I have seen (at least since 2005 when I was first introduced to them) a very robust curriculum emerge, that for instance, considering the Children’s Music Journey titles, offers young children a very imaginative way to approach learning about music. Who could have imagined that children would be able to sit at their computer workstation with electronic piano keyboard attached, and interact with animated versions of Mr. Bach or Mr. Beethoven, as they talk about pieces of music they wrote, about their lives in general, and ask the student to create their own piece of music – an opportunity to “rub shoulders” with these famous composers! I have seen how students are so enraptured by the experience that they actually believe these composers from the 17th and 18th/19th centuries were still alive. They listened attentively, and then immediately wanted to try out what these composers asked them to do. The live interactive quality of the program sparks interest and imagination, which is essential to the success of any music education program.

I find that one of the best features of the Adventus software curriculum is that students are encouraged from the very first day to create their own music, to improvise, to listen as well as play, and to improve on what they have heard. There is no negative language, no “wrong”, but instead consistent encouragement simply continue trying. The intuitive quality of the software program, in the CMJ for instance, allows step by step progression at a rate that fits the individual student, never pushing, always encouraging, and knowing when to move on, noting areas of weakness for further work in a later session. This is like having the teacher at each student’s side, ready to assist with their learning and practicing. We know how busy parents are now-a-days, and how over-subscribed children can be. We don’t want music lessons to add to the stress they already deal with, but rather help to reduce the stress, so that they are able to perform better in everything else they do. The Adventus programs offer really well though-out music education based games for the students to have fun playing. The Concert Master component, allows a group of students to join together like a band, and collectively play along, using a variety of instrumental colours, either using one of the popular back-line options, or just on their own.

Looking through the curriculum of both the CMJ and PSE programs, I find the introduction of music literacy topics, keys, note reading, understanding rhythm, and basically all of the many details there are about learning music, to be introduced in a logical and sequential manner, leaving little to no guess work for both student and instructor. We all know how children develop at varying rates, and as the program curriculum progresses along quite naturally from one topic to another, from one skill level to the next, always incorporating review, and creativity, the instructor also has the option to adjust the lesson plan on the fly. In a group setting, it has been noted that there is a wonderful opportunity for children who have already a more advanced skill set and knowledge, to mentor their classmates. One particular case where this has been noted, is in an elementary school grade 4-5 class, where almost all of the students attending the school are coming from marginalized communities, where approximately a third of them are learning English as a second language, and struggling with communication, and where between 15 – 20% of the students have special needs, many involving behavioural issues. The traditional music programming is minimal, and ineffective, meaning students do not show interest, and it has been noted that students in middle school who have come from this elementary school rarely show interest in participating in band class of any kind. The school points to a lack of funding for music due to having to divert school district funds to providing meals for the children. The Adventus program (Piano Suite Premiere) was introduced at this school for one year, integrated into the computer lab, and it was immediately evident that the lack of interest the students were showing in music had more to do with not having a program that connected with them. Once the PS was in place, students were drawn to it like magnets, they wanted to explore and create. The programs really empower the students and give them the confidence that they can create something on their own. There have been some amazing testimonials gathered, including ones pointing to how the Piano Suite Premiere program has changed the whole dynamic of the class. There were a couple students who had been bullying their classmates on a regular basis, since the early grades, however suddenly with the new computer software-based music program, their interest in learning took off, and they have been acting as mentors for their classmates, going around the classroom offering assistance in how to operate the program. The bullying has disappeared!

The Adventus software titles are all effective learning tools for students of any age. Whether provided through pre-school/daycare programs, or anywhere in between, right on through and including being offered to Seniors by their program coordinator, the programs are accessible, and the business model very workable for schools and organizations with greatly varying sources of income. I have full confidence in seeing the Adventus software titles continue to develop and flourish, and am actively integrating them into the regular learning curricula of the Victoria Conservatory of Music.

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Mary Stouffer

Mary Stouffer

Bachelor of Music (University of Western Ontario), Kodály Diploma (University of Calgary), Diploma in Early Childhood Music and Teacher Training (Liszt Academy, Budapest), Master of Music (University of Calgary) (pending)

With music instruction diminishing around the world, not only in quality but also in quantity, I find your Adventus computer music programs, Children’s Music Journey and Music Suites, an innovative and refreshing design.

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I reviewed the curriculum and played through many of the lessons using my own piano keyboard, but what impacted me the most was observing children actively engaged in the programs. It was very beneficial to view the classes in Barrie, and I was very impressed at how focused the children were during their music class and how much they enjoyed all aspects of the lesson. The addition of singing games and movement to the lessons will create, what I believe, a complete curriculum and surpass anything students may be experiencing presently in school music classes.

The combination of learning music through singing and the keyboard are very complementary and while they may operate as two separate pedagogies initially, (as young children sing in a higher range than the beginning note patterns of the keyboard lessons and begin to read music initially in their singing register) eventually they will overlap and give the students very fine musicianship skills, as well as the benefits of having a music education incorporating both singing and keyboards.

By having designed the program so that children can also experience the challenges and joys of playing the keyboards in a group, it will impact the students not only cognitively but emotionally. It is a great motivating factor and I believe students will be encouraged to continue to study. I think your idea of having some children singing while being accompanied by a group of keyboard players will be very inspirational for the children and bring the joy of making music together to the forefront.

The key to a great music education is of course well-trained teachers, who are able to use the lesson plans with the software, but, as young children learn in many different ways, also include singing games, listening to live music, movement activities, and the use of rhythm and melodic instruments. It is not a great stretch to include these activities, as the present plans already include time away from the keyboards. It is crucial to keep the curriculum a “living” curriculum where teachers are able to be flexible within the framework of the keyboard lessons.

I am impressed with the overall content of the keyboard lessons. With the inclusions of improvisation, chording, jazz, and music listening of many different styles and eras, the children are developing life-long musical skills, the basic fundamental skills of music making and building a great foundation in understanding and experiencing many different musical genres.

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Garby Leon

Garby Leon MA

PhD Composition (Harvard), former professor Harvard and UCLA music departments, former VP production 21st Century Fox

When I was thirteen, I was fortunate to meet and play for the great French musician and teacher Nadia Boulanger, then an old woman, but very sharp and learned. She was also very kind, and said one thing that remained with me since: “I can teach a child everything he or she needs to know about music between the ages of five and ten. After that, it’s only a matter of applying what you know. A person can learn music later, but it is much, much more difficult.”

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With that in mind, and from my own experience teaching college theory at Harvard and UCLA in its School of Music, I wanted my 5 year-old daughter to have the best possible access to musical teaching, training and experience using the computer as a tool – since I didn’t have Nadia Boulanger! I was also interested to see what had been developed using technology, so I made a point of trying everything I could find. Luckily I found MusIQ Connect’s Children’s Music Journey, which is the single best music tutor, and music ‘experiencer’ for kids that I’ve found.

There are a number of reasons why – the program is planned carefully, it moves in steps that kids can relate to, and it’s clever in finding many different ways to teach aspects of musicianship – but the main reason it works so well is that my daughter has a real affection for it, and for the parade of famous composer-teachers who became her tutors, a small but ultimately brilliant device that the program uses to deliver its lessons.

These CMJ composers can be pretty humorous, listening to their own music with rapt attention, hands to their chins and staring skywards, and while it might seem odd that none have German, French, English or Russian accents – not even Beethoven! – they’re endearing and inviting, and so friendly that even small children are charmed.

And those children also learn a lot, very quickly – each composer’s work is sampled and given a thumbnail explanation before the lesson starts, so the child knows that the journey is always about music, and how to make it, at a high level – in fact, at an artistic level.

So CMJ does not talk down to kids, as most programs do, it elevates them and opens a door to experience. It also creates a relationship that kids want to continue living and working in – the most important aspect of a music training program which, if it’s going to work at all, needs to have the child coming back again and again.

In our own case, my daughter finished CMJ I at age five, and Volume II a year and a half later when it was released (we were impatient for each further installment). With Volume III, she worked through several sessions, and then announced she wanted to repeat the entire program again, so we went back – and this was her choice alone. Now we’re back in Volume III again, with a very solid foundation for everything it offers, forging ahead.

The program isn’t completely automatic – it’s good for a parent or teacher to be nearby to help with the technology, and help navigate the program’s many choices (including clever musical games and a recording studio, my daughter’s favorite), but that’s only to smooth the way for the kid to go deep into their own experience of it.

So we’ve been working with CMJ for over three years now, and wish there were more installments ready when we finish CMJ III. But there’s no hurry – taking your time, working through lessons and practicing, trying to do better at the game challenges, is all part of learning and of learning music – building habits any child will find useful in other aspects of eduction.

Does music make kids smarter? Absolutely – everything in my experience tells me so. I know the kids I went to music school with were, and are, some of the most brilliant and accomplished people I’ve ever met, and I can’t believe it’s an accident. The Greeks taught music as one of the three main courses of their ‘gymnasium,’ and again and again I’ve heard stories of musically accomplished teens getting accepted at top colleges and universities after demonstrating their skills. Educators know it takes discipline and self-starting dedication to master an instrument, making music a great indicator of success on every level in college.

The best way get there is to start early – and a wonderful tool for helping to build that early start is MusIQ Connect’s Children’s Music Journey. It’s transformed my daughter’s life, and tomorrow morning, I know she’ll be asking to work at it again. We’re grateful for the program, and hope that the series will be continued far into the future, so we can continue learning and enjoying all it has to offer.

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