Middle school is a great time to work on formal music lessons - especially for kids who are ready to work independently. Combine growing independence with fabulous online music resources like Hoffman Academy and you have a very good combination.
Take a look at our review of Hoffman Academy.
I received a free unit in exchange for an honest review. I was compensated for the time spent reviewing the website & writing this post. I was not required to write a positive review. All opinions expressed are my own.
Learning to play the piano can become a very expensive part of the homeschooling experience. Private lessons are often just too much for large families or families on a budget. That's why online resources like Hoffman Academy are so nice. Piano lessons become surprisingly affordable for even the smallest of budgets.
A Look at Hoffman Academy
What really sets Hoffman Academy apart is that they offer their video lessons for FREE.
Yes, you read that correctly. All 120 videos are completely free.
The videos (usually 5-15 minutes in length) are thoughtfully ordered to teach piano skills (for kids and adults) beginning with the basics - notes on the piano, posture, and proper hand position. It's like having your own personal piano teacher right in your home, whenever you're ready to move on to the next lesson.
While you can certainly take advantage of all the free lessons at Hoffman Academy, you can really create a complete, well-rounded program by adding the course materials download. Purchased as a bundle or for individual units, you'll find extra helps and resources that really make a complete music program, including:
- activity pages
- sheet music
- listening MP3s
- practice MP3s
- parent's guide
The Parent's Guide, included in the Complete Materials, shares some helpful tips for managing and scheduling lessons as well as advice for how to help with the lessons while still keeping them fun and interesting.
The Listening tracks are for children to familiarize themselves with the music that they will be learning to play. There are vocal arrangements with live singers and instruments so children can get a good idea of how the song sounds when it's being performed.
The Practice tracks are a perfect way to work on songs children have learned in previous lessons. They learn to play along with the music as well as develop their rhythmic and improvisational techniques. The guide for the Practice tracks is very helpful in determining how to use the included music.
The printable materials are a very nice addition to the program. It's organized according to unit and lesson, so you can print all the materials and keep them in a binder for your child to work through. There are sections to read, with interesting pictures and instructions for further practice. You'll also find worksheets and activities for kids to complete. There are more than 40 pages of provided materials, just for Unit 1.
While you could certainly just use the videos at Hoffman Academy and learn to play the piano - to make a well-rounded program, I think the Complete Materials help create a full piano course.
Why Hoffman Academy?
Hoffman Academy is popular for a reason (Hello! Free videos!). But there are more benefits that make this program so appealing to kids and parents:
- Learn at your own pace
- Variety of fun activities
- Complete music education
- No prior experience is necessary
The savings really can't be beat. Personal piano lessons can become quite expensive, but these videos are completely free and, when adding in the Complete Materials, you can provide your children with a very low-cost musical education.
Hoffman Academy & Middle School
The piano is one subject that TJ is working on fairly independently. (If she were younger I would be sitting with her for the lessons, but that's really not necessary at her age.) She loves that she can take her time and work at her own pace. We've found a basic weekly rhythm that works (with a little supervision). Each week she:
- Watches the video
- Follows the practice instructions in the video
- Uses the printable materials to reinforce the learning
- Practices previously learned songs with the Practice music
She doesn't do all of the above every day - we divide the work up over the course of a week, which gives her plenty of time to learn new skills and practice the music she is learning.
Another fun thing to note - you can leave comments below each lesson. While she hasn't left a comment yet, we think it's pretty neat that you can. You may even get a personal response from Mr. Hoffman!
Give Online Piano Lessons a try
If you want to try quality online piano lessons (for FREE!), you should certainly take a look at Hoffman Academy. To create a well-rounded program, take a look at the Complete Materials options (starting at $85.50 for all 6 units or $19 for each individual unit). While the videos are wonderful on their own, the Complete Materials really do provide a full music program - perfect for homeschooling families.