I’ve been meaning to write a review of our experience of Yamaha’s widely acclaimed Music Wonderland program.
In short, our conclusion was that it was certainly not necessary at this age. Perhaps the plaudits are for their Junior Music Course, when they actually teach some skills.
For the 20 weeks that K attended Music Wonderland, she basically sang songs, moved her hands to the music, and did some very basic tapping of keys for rhythm exposure. The very least I expected was some soflage familiarisation, but nope, nada. The Sound of Music dvd did a better job at that within an hour.
So midway through the course the hubs and I started wondering why we were even continuing with this. After all, she had plenty of exposure to music and songs at her preschool. Her preschool concert performance at the end of last year involved more dancing and body movement to music rhythms than I witnessed her picking up throughout the whole 20 weeks.
But since we had coughed up a non-trivial amount for her music books, we decided to stay till the end of the 20 weeks, after which she’d have to purchase another set of books. The course itself is not expensive, and works out to about $20+ per 45 min session. However, the books added up to more than $100+, which is the hidden cost that they don’t mention when you sign up! These were not even books with music scores, but just colourful books, one of which came with a sticker page, and a CD. So we were not about to stump up more moolah for this.
In addition, K didn’t seem like she was enjoying the course all the time. Some days, she’d refuse to participate, refuse to follow the teacher, or do the simple actions required. I always try to be enthusiastic, singing and doing the actions along with the teacher, but alas there was no contagion effect. Although she never went as far as to refuse to go to class, there were some days when she was so attitude, that I’d wonder why we bothered in the first place.
Ultimately, since the hubs and I play the piano, I figured we could teach her if she shows more interest in future. At present, perhaps their fingers are not prime for piano playing, so no hurry in my opinion. I did think that we could have taught her Mary had a Little Lamb at least even if she played it with two index fingers, in the 20 hours of lessons that we sat through so far. Hubs has grade 5 but plays far better by ear than me, even though I have a grade 8 cert. I guess eventually it might be hard to teach your own offspring, but we’ll take one step at a time. For now, what we’ve learnt is that Music Wonderland is certainly not quite necessary.