Disclosure: I received this complimentary product through the Homeschool Review Crew
I am so excited to share Practice Monkeys with y’all again this year. We reviewed their violin program a few years ago, and recently tried out piano, and self defense in addition to our violin lessons. If you don’t know, Practice Monkeys is an online program that teaches many different instrument and self defense classes. Families will need a computer with a camera, or a device with a camera such as a iPad, since lessons are video based via Zoom. What I love is that enrollment for one class is for the entire family! If you enroll in piano, everyone can take piano. If you enroll in self defense, everyone in the family can take it.
We have used:
- Violin for ages 3+
- Piano for ages 3+
- Self Defense for ages 5+
They also teach cello and guitar lessons!
How Lessons Work
Practice Monkeys classes are unique because they’re set up completely online; everything students need can be found in their Treehouse. This is like their lessons landing page, where all their skills, forms, and videos can be found. If a class is missed, recordings can also be found in the here.
Supplies needed are pretty simple; some instrument classes require a music book and accompanying CD, and of course your instrument. Here in the Treehouse (image below), families will find instruction for getting started, class links for their live lessons and recordings, and the videos for their Skills to Master. In the Treehouse parents will find the practice sheets to be filled out each week; this tells students what to work on and what they are reviewing, etc. This is for parents to fill out based on what the student is working on in the Treehouse.
Four days a week, Monday-Thursday there are live video lessons (the time depends on which lesson type and level you are in) which are in class practice. Then students can do their after class practice where they go through the assigned skills on their practice sheets. Especially in the earlier levels, students will need a parent to help them get things just right with their instruments.
When students need extra help, or are struggling with something, there are help classes on Wednesdays; this its a targeted, 1:1 help from their instructor. This is also a great time to make sure they are ready for assessments. We always try to do 1-2 help classes before we do an assessment, because there is always room to improve before moving up a level. There are help classes for the instrument classes, as well as self defense!
Assessments are how students test into their next level. You will schedule an assessment via the website; this is $10-$30. This is a motivator to make sure your child is ready for the assessment 😉 In the Treehouse you will also find the assessment form, which is exactly what the instructor will use, so students can be sure they are prepared for everything on that sheet to move to the next level. We have found assessments to be great fun, and enjoy the time with Mrs. Sarah.
We have done all kinds of violin lessons since my daughter began-mainly because we have moved and needed a new teacher each time. No one has been as wonderful, hands on, or as knowledgable, as the instructors at Practice Monkeys. Mrs. Sarah is such a sweet, caring teacher. She wants students to succeed and gives great help and technique tips.
My daughter always enjoys her classes, working through her treehouse, and the help classes she’s done. We do take a while to work through a level, because she is a bit more timid about taking an assessment. But Mrs. Sarah has always been so kind and has never put pressure on her to move faster. She gets to move at her own pace, and we love that! We have had a couple of different teachers depending on the level my daughter was in, and they’ve all be great!
My older 3 children worked through piano lessons with Practice Monkeys the last few months. The lessons, like violin, are Suzuki style, which means that listening to the recorded music and learning to play by ear are taught first. I have seen the fruit of this teaching style in my oldest who has done violin since she was 3/4 years old.
While my kids wanted to know where every key was right away, they had to get used to learning the notes by ear as they learned where they were by sight, through practice. For some of them this was simultaneous, and for some it was not. Even my youngest, who was not taking lessons at all, was learning to play by ear by listening to the others. They were all so excited when they got down their twinkle twinkle variations.
The Piano classes were simple, focused on practicing skills from the Treehouse, and the teachers are always kind. Live lessons are kept short, so there is no problem keeping student’s attention, and there is plenty of time for after class practice. Students can ask questions here, but mainly they are working on skills with a teacher. My kids loved the finger songs and playing along with the teacher live.
“Well, how in the world do you take self defense classes online?” you may ask. I had the same thought, but yall- it was so great! They are online and video based. So students can interact with the teachers via video. The instructors show what they are working on, step by step, give specific instructions and corrections to help students as they go, and then they all work on the moves together. The instructor is able to tel students when they need to switch hands, and what to do next, just as if they were in a real classroom.
Practice Monkeys self defense is jiu jitsu style and Dr. Van Kleeck is great with the kids. As students move through the program, they will graduate level to level via assessments, and end with their official belts. Dr. Van Kleeck is enthusiastic, patient, and enjoys seeing them learn and grow in their skills. This class requires 2 people, that can be the student and a friend, parent, sibling, etc. But there needs to be 1 person to practice the defense skills on; if 2 family members are taking the class together they simply take turns switching roles. This class was a lot of fun and in a few short weeks I saw my kids’ confidence grow so much!
I want to say thank you to Practice Monkeys because this program is exactly what we needed for our family- lessons on our schedule, at our pace, in our own home. Driving al the way to the nearest large city every week was a lot when we tried to do that, not to mention the teacher really wasn’t worth it. With Practice Monkeys my kids get the best of the best, with all the help we could possibly need, and their skills grow! That’s worth our family’s time and money, 💯
Visit their website, watch a recorded lessons, and try them out!
Connect with Practice Monkeys
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