When it comes to online subscription services I always hesitate to sign up only because there is a monthly fee attached to it. I prefer to pay a lump sum and get it over with. So usually with any subscription based service I hesitate for years, meanwhile still checking out the service trying to decide if it’s really worth it. Like MusicTeachersHelper.com, this was also the case for MusicLearningCommunity.com. (I will be referring it to MLC from this point on…)
Finally after years of trying out the free games I decided to dive in and really try it out. The first year I used MLC with my students both at the lesson during lab time and had them available to do the games at home as well. This went okay, but I really wanted my students to get the full benefit from this resource. So the next year I decided to assign games as an actual theory assignment. Like most teachers, I was using theory books but a lot of times students wouldn’t get the pages done. They would “forget” the book at home, or simply wouldn’t care. So I figured MLC would be their theory assignment. I would assign a game that would correlate with the unit they were in at their lesson. The first year doing this I noticed students were really good about playing their theory games at home at the beginning of the year, but as the year progressed, like their book assignments, things started to slide.
Now I didn’t want to give up on MLC, I felt it was a great resource for students so like anything that doesn’t go quite the way you want it to, I reflected on what I can do to help make this more successful in my studio. So the following year I decided I was going to be more diligent with the parents. If I found a MLC assignment wasn’t getting done, I would email the parents and follow up with them. Reminding them that this is to their child’s benefit and part of their piano assignment. 99% (nobody’s perfect) of the time, this made a difference. This is where MLC became the most successful in my studio. In addition I have held occasional contests over breaks that involved playing the MLC games, and I always make sure MLC is part of our yearly incentive program.
Now if you haven’t heard of MLC, you are missing out. Christine Hermanson and her husband have pretty much thought of everything that would help teachers and their students review, grow, develop and enjoy the theory process.
Top 5 reasons I subscribe to MLC…
1) The GAMES (of course!)- More than 450 games and counting! Games cover concepts such as: Keyboard Elements, Aural and Visual Pitch, Aural and Visual Rhythm, Intervals, Scales and Key Signatures, Music Terms and Symbols, Tonal Memory and Playback, Chords and Harmony Aural and Visual from the primer level up to level 5. Now there are games that are MIDI compatible!
2) Progress Report– I love that I can check the scores of my students game any time I want to see how they are doing. If they are not reaching the target score on a particular game, then I know that concept is one that needs to be reviewed more at the lesson.
3) Printable Assignment Score Sheets– Another fantastic feature is assignment score sheets that students can print out. Christine went the extra mile and has customized assignment sheets for the following method books: Alfred Premier, Artistry at the Piano, Celebrate Piano, Faber Piano Adventures, Hal Leonard, Music for Young Children, The Music Tree and Carnegie- Royal Conservatory. Eventually there will be sheets for: Succeeding at the Piano, Piano Town, Alfred’s Basic, Bastien Piano Basics and Pianimals. I’m anxiously awaiting for one for Pianimals to come out. If the method book you use isn’t on this list, there are generic leveled score sheets you can download. In addition there are assignment sheets that correlate with the following programs: California MTAC “Certificate of Merit”, Florida State MTA “Student Day” and the Illinois MTA “Achievement in Music” (AIM)
4) Teachers Guide and Games at a Glance– I love the teachers guide and Games at a Glance and refer to these often especially when I have a student that is in a different method that one that is listed above.
5) Personable– Christine is always happy and willing to help where needed. There have been a few times where I had a need for a specific game concept and emailed Christine with my wants/needs. She has always been gracious and willing to take those ideas and turn them into a reality! The best part of #5 is meeting Chris in person at the MTNA Conferences!
(Here is us at the NYC MTNA conference last March…really wish I could fix my hair in the picture. ha! ha!)
Those are my top 5 reasons, but there is much more to discover. Teacher Membership is $19.95 per month for up to 50 students. I personally set aside a certain amount in my studio registration fee that covers a subscription for each student. If you had 20 students, that’s only a $1.00 a month per student. Most families are more than willing to pay for this service if you don’t add it to a studio fee.
Start out with the free games and/or a 2 week trial and give it a try!