One of my favorite bloggers, Natalie at Music Matters Blog is doing a giveaway for the Music Ace Maestro software. The Music Ace Deluxe Program which I currently use in my studio has been such a great resource during studio lab time. I would love the Maestro version which includes additional lessons and allows you to track the progress of even more students then the I/II or Deluxe versions.
One thing I have found very useful about the Music Ace software is that it doesn't just test students on their preexisting knowledge of musical skills, it includes lessons that introduce new concepts w/ games to reinforce their knowledge along the way. I also like how each unit is subdivided into smaller segments so that if a student doesn't complete the entire unit in one sitting, they can easily start where they left off on their next lesson. My 5 year old son is especially motivated by the thousands of points he sees displayed while playing the games and has found it very rewarding to try and beat his previous scores:)
The lessons on Music Ace cover a broad spectrum of concepts including rhythm, notereading, ear training, melody/harmony, tempo, time signatures, scales and more. Sometimes I "prep" the students by having them complete the music ace lesson about a concept coming up in their lesson book. Other times I have "review" concepts by assigning them a lesson that corresponds with something I've recently taught them during their time with me.
The "Doodle Pad" feature provides a fun way for students to try their hand at composition. I generally allow them to 'play around' on the doodle pad once they've completed their assignments because they love it so much.
Most of my students ages 8 and up have been able to complete most of the Music Ace lessons with very little assistance from me. Yet the content is not too "child-like" to make it unsuitable for teens and adults. My 3 & 5 year old have even enjoyed some of the beginning lessons on pitch, notation and feeling the beat with a little bit of coaching :)
Exposure to Music
I love how the lessons incorporate a variety of styles of familiar music as part of the instruction. Each lesson begins with a brief musical excerpt - folk songs, boogie-woogie, Chopin, Mozart, etc. and often include samples throughout that help students become familiar with the melodies of many great works. In fact today, while my daughter was perusing this site about Mozart's life she asked me to come and listen to this cool song she found (Rondo Alla Turca). She said, "It sounds familiar... oh yeah, I heard it on Music Ace!"