Music is a gift. It is a profound expression of our deepest emotions.
As a child I didn't realize the value of piano lessons, concerts, and records (am I dating myself?) being played in our home.
As a parent, however, I am keenly aware that giving our children the gift of music is HUGE.
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If you have children in public (and even private) schools, arts education is being reduced or even eliminated. If you homeschool your children maybe you don't feel "qualified" to give them a music education.
A grounding in the arts will help our children to see; to bring a uniquely human perspective to science and technology. In short, it will help them as they grow smarter to also grow wiser.
~ Robert Allen, CEO AT&T
As a former music educator, degreed school administrator, private piano teacher, and now homeschooling mother, I want to shout from the rooftops that music education MATTERS, and raising children who love music DOES NOT require you to be musical yourself!
3 Listening Resources
Taking a cue from my own parents, I learned to love music (all genres) at a very early age. I believe this is because music was always being played in our home.
Easy sources of GOOD music to be played in your home:
- Pandora - Keep this playing throughout the day - choose a style of music and let it play throughout your day... take note of the composers as the music is playing. Google them. Talk to your children about them.
- NPR - Riding in the van generally means we will be listening to a book on CD or NPR. You will be amazed at the wealth of musical knowledge you can obtain through listening to National Public Radio. I also love the NPR Music App.
- Beethoven's Wig - These collections introduce children to the great classics in such a fun way! The main theme is given catchy, silly words so a child can remember it. I also love that the original version of the piece is included, too. These were a STAPLE in our home when the kids were younger.
Music Appreciation Curriculum Resources
Just as appreciation and understanding of art and music grow with exposure and education, the same holds true for music appreciation.
We've approached music appreciation in two ways in our homeschool.
- Composer Study - Choosing composers and studying them in depth gives children a personal connection with the composer. We love the Opal Wheeler biographies of famous musicians. If you'd like to get more in depth with composer study, I have an Ultimate Guide to Composer Study for reference.
- SQUILT - Super Quiet UnInterrupted Listening Time is the music appreciation curriculum I have written. It is easy, affordable and designed to make learning about music FUN and ENGAGING. You can try a lesson for free and then visit the SQUILT site for complete volumes grouped by musical era.
Seek Opportunities to Make Music
When children are very young, simply giving them quality rhythm instruments to play with and playing quality kids' music recordings is enough (more on this TOMORROW!).
As children get older, they need to be thrown into a musical experience -- in our home I didn't ask my kids if they wanted to take piano lessons or be involved in choir, etc... I consider making music to be an integral part of their education - every bit as important as completing their math lessons or spelling practice.
Sometimes kids don't know what they like until you expose them to it!
Seek opportunities in your community for your children to be musical:
- private lessons
- church vocal choirs, bell choirs, etc...
- community groups
- homeschool band/chorus, etc...
- community theater
I've also watched kids learn to play an instrument from YouTube. Their parents simply provided the instrument and TIME for the child to pursue their passions.
Is there enough space in your child's life for them to cultivate a love for music?
I realize sometimes performances can be expensive, but not always!
- Find good private schools in your area. Many times they have wonderful musical groups and put on superb musicals. Tickets for these events are much cheaper than a professional performance, but your children still get EXPOSURE to great music.
- Ask for student/homeschool discounts. In the area where we live (Atlanta) there are many smaller venues that offer homeschool concerts. Many symphony orchestras in large cities offer concerts for public schools. As a homeschooler you can attend these and the price is right!
- Dress rehearsals - Many orchestras, ballets, and opera companies will allow you to come to their dress rehearsals for a reduced rate.
- Recitals at local universities - Collegiate music schools offer a wide variety of performances... many times FREE.
When my daughter was just four we started going to musicals. Her granddaddy, who also loves musicals, started buying her a different musical on DVD for her birthday, Christmas, etc... She has quite a nice collection now and STILL loves musicals.
You can rent them, buy them, or watch your tv listings.
Also watch for local performances by community theaters and high schools.
Our favorites for kids include:
Do your children love music? Do you have any ideas to add to this list?
Do you have any music questions for me?
This Thursday, (9/18) at 9 PM ET I will be the special guest on a Google+ Hangout - we're talking all things music appreciation. You can watch the hangout live or via YouTube.... and if you leave me a question here in the comments I'll try to answer it Thursday night!