Note: This is a sponsored post, and I am being compensated for my time. However, please further note that this site is solely authored by me, Ryan Whitehouse, and the opinions expressed herein are 100% mine.
We are a musical family. There is always music playing in our home. In fact, the other day, when we were putting dinner on the table at Aunt Kelly’s while Kelly and Beth were in the shop, I asked Olivia where the radio was so we could have tunes during dinner. Her response? “Not everybody’s like us, Dad.”
Beth sings at church, and directs our drama department. Liv sings in talent shows and has the rhythm and grace of an angel. Gabe does choreographed tumbling and is vocally gifted as well. Even Jake, our eldest with autism, loves music. We were thrilled when we discovered that he could carry a tune and keep a beat. We got him some drumsticks and signed him up for the band at school. The problem is finding a way to reach a boy with autism. He doesn’t typically respond to traditional music instruction. We’ve had to use a lot of hand-over-hand and modeling. I got some sticks and tried to learn along with him. It didn’t really work. We’ve struggled with finding out ways to release his inner rock god.
He’s the kind of kid who, at this point, will bang away on the back of Beth’s seat in the mini-van along with the radio. He’ll stomp his feet and bang his desk when listening to music on his computer. When we learned about Piano Wizard, a computer game-based way to learn to play the piano, we were intrigued. We have an awesome electronic keyboard in the house, but nobody knows how to play, and we don’t have time to schedule private lessons. Jake has always been very good at using something like video games and Youtube clips to learn. These things aren’t in-your-face; and aren’t asking him lots of questions, but rather letting him learn at his own pace.
Check out this clip of how Piano Wizard teaches kids to read music and to play piano:
That’s simply amazing! This is exactly the kind of thing any kid with a disability or different learning style would benefit from. I hope Jake gets the chance.
The people at Piano Wizard Academy are trying to turn this computer-based model into APP form for more mobile use. They’ve developed some prototypes for use on iPhones and iPads. Jake now has an iPad as part of his school equipment at middle school. How cool would it be if he could have this technology in band? The question was, could this sort of thing work for a kid like Jake; who has difficulty with communication and comprehension? Apparently so. Watch’s Jed’s story:
They only have until 3:45 am on September 21st to reach full funding for this project – $20,000! Without this funding, they won’t be able to bring this vision to a reality. They’re getting close, but need our help. As of this writing, they’ve raised just over $16,000 on Kickstarter. You can connect and donate by clicking:
This is a worthy project. It’s already made a difference in the lives of many kids through its availability for Mac, and I can only imagine how many more kids it could reach if available in APP form.
For more details, head over to http://www.pianowizardacademy.com
I think you’ll be impressed. I am.