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Sunday, August 25, 2013

MacPhail Center For Music Schoolhouse Review #hsreviews #guitarlessons @macphailmusic

Amber is a very self motivated child, if she decides she wants to do something she will figure it out! She has been playing piano for about 5 years, she is teaching herself how to play the ukulele and then she teaches her sisters. She taught herself to play the flute with a little help from a friend, and then she wanted a guitar. For her 12th birthday we bought her a guitar, and she has been working on some chords and figuring out some songs. Oh, I almost forgot she also has a mandolin that she likes to play around with.


When we first heard that the Review Crew was going to review music lessons with the MacPhail Center for Music Amber was thrilled. Every day and sometimes a couple times a day she would ask me if we were picked to review it. The hard part for her was choosing what instrument she wanted lessons on.
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The MacPhail Center for Music offers music classes and private lessons for every age starting as young as six months old. They serve more than 10,000 students and clients with half of their students from community partnerships in schools, preschools, nursing homes and hospitals. MacPhail hosts 450 events and concerts throughout the year open to everyone. They have 5 locations and now offer lessons online for piano, guitar, violin, viola, cello, harp, flute, clarinet, trumpet, low brass, saxophone, and percussion.

The online lessons are done through Skype and you must have high speed internet for the best quality sound and video. I already had the latest version of Skype on our computer and getting ready for our lessons was very easy. I received a Student Interest Form to fill out for Amber. It asked when we would be available for our classes and basic information about Amber's music ability and her music interests. This information is used to help match her with a teacher and could take 10-14 days. During this time we scheduled a time to check our equipment with an online manager. During our call she wanted to make sure our microphone, speakers, and video were in adequate working order. She had Amber tell her a little about herself and play a song on her guitar. Our placement specialist contacted us with our instructors name and 4 time slots that were marked on Amber's Student Interest Form. We actually had a conflict with one of our lesson times, but they were very accommodating and changed that lesson to a time slot that would work for us.

We received 4  30-minute online lessons from MacPhail and Amber chose to take them for her guitar. She was assigned lessons with Randy and they worked on:

  • Lesson 1 ~ Randy asked Amber a lot of questions to see what she already knew about the guitar. He went over the parts of the guitar, string names, finger names, notes, and tuning. He also asked her what her favorite song is and Randy looked it up on Youtube, so he could hear it. He could play right along with the song and then went over the first three chords in the introduction of the song. He gave Amber some chord patterns to work on for homework, he also asked her to make a list of her favorite songs and artists.
  • Lesson 2 ~ During this lesson Randy had Amber play her homework & he corrected what she had wrong. The song Amber chose in lesson 1 uses the Kapo so Randy went over using it and tuning her guitar with it. He had Amber play the chord progression to the intro of the song & then he added more chords for her homework.
  • Lesson 3 ~ They continued to work on the song adding the rest of the song. Amber tends to hold the neck of the guitar down low, so Randy covered the best way to hold the guitar & pick to get the best sound.
  • Lesson 4 ~ Since this was Amber's last lesson Randy showed her where to find guitar music of about every song you can think of that she would be able to play with the chords she knows. He offered tips on how to practice, like looking for similarities in the chords that are in a song she is working on and that she should practice new chords with the chord that comes before and after it to get them where she can play them smoothly. 
When Amber was finished with her lessons she had learned to play a complete song. She still plays it slower than it should be, but with a little more practice she will have it perfect. I was really surprised at how much she learned in just 4 lessons. Randy is a very good teacher, Amber understood everything he had her do & he would correct her when she needed it. The sound & video quality using Skype was very good and it was just like having a private music lesson.

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. 



I enjoyed my guitar lessons, and I learned a lot in just 4 lessons. Randy was friendly and a very good guitar player. He taught me the parts of my guitar, notes, chords, how to hold the guitar & the pick correctly and a whole song. He helped me improve my playing and told me how I could make the most of my practice time. 
~ Amber, age 12

MacPhail online music lessons are just like private music lessons and they are tailored to fit each students needs. More students from the Schoolhouse Review Crew received lessons on different instruments. Sail over to the Crew Blog to read about their experience.

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