We KNOW music is a thing of beauty and importance - and we know it should be an integral part of our children's education.
Many times, however, we don't feel equipped to include music in our homeschools, or there simply isn't time.
Let me introduce you to a family that will inspire you to include music (and all things beautiful) in your children's education - and you won't hear from me, but from the adult homeschooled children themselves. I can only imagine what it will feel like to have my children grown and telling their stories about home education!
Their mother is a dear friend and mentor to me - in fact, she was one of the first encouraging voices I heard in our early days of homeschooling.
As they tell their story of being home educated, they will also share with us ways to easily include music in our days - with a special printable for you at the end. Enjoy!
(This post is packed full of all kinds of good things!)
Lauren Cibene (left) and Bethany Reaves (far right) are ⅔ of the mother-daughter team behind Mommasdesk.com. For both of these homeschool (and college) graduates, classical music has been an integral part of their education. Lauren began piano at the age of five. Bethany began with piano and moved into harp at age thirteen, performing with the Metropolitan Youth Symphony Orchestra and the Atlanta Philharmonic Orchestra. Bethany is now a Certified Music Practitioner.
Their beautiful mother, Denise, has a background in occupational therapy, is a wife and mother extraordinaire, encourager of moms, and is the third team member at Momma's Desk.
Music has always been a substantial part of our home education experience. I wouldn’t hesitate to say, and I know all three of my siblings would agree, that our mom’s insistence on our musical pursuits has been one of the most defining things in our lives. Now, three of the four of us have graduated and all of us maintain our musical loves and pursuits. And all of us have experienced the thrill of earning money from performing and/or teaching others!
Being exposed to music while I was still very young allowed me to exercise healthy habit forming practices and instilled in me a sense of commitment and dedication. Having a set time every day to practice my instrument and attending weekly lessons added structure during elementary school and pushed me to commit to something even when it was less than easy.
I have always loved schedules, structure, and having an organized day so the scheduled practices, lessons, and recitals catered to that desire in my heart. The performance aspect of music was also very influential to me as a young girl. Being an introvert, I would rather sit quietly among others than stand up and have all eyes on me alone. The recitals and performances on my instruments allowed time to work towards a goal, exposure performing in front of others, and having the reward of a goal met. Although some children might not need help reaching their individual goals, this process can be very important for quiet introverts.
Being exposed to music early in life can also build skills such as working with others and team building. When you practice playing an instrument with others, the group as a whole is forced to understand each other on a deeper level through patient cooperation. Performing duets or being a member of a quartet will instill priceless team building values in your student.
Lauren, Bethany - and brothers Josh & Ethan
Cooperation, patience, and team building skills are not often touted as virtues achieved through ‘musical’ means. Usually, athletic sports have these character-building traits monopolized. But, it’s very true - my experience performing in a group setting definitely developed these character traits in me.
My opportunity to perform in orchestras was one of the most rewarding experiences in my musical career. The symphony allowed me to be a part of a level of musical excellence that I would have never been able to accomplish as a solo performer.
In high school, we had grandparents pass away, which was my first up-close interaction with death. This is always a very formative experience and I remember music becoming more than a practice or discipline and evolving into a truly emotional expression. It was a gift and a lifeline that I would not have had if not for my mom’s faithful insistence on music in the classroom. It was also a welcome outlet and escape day-to- day when the more frustrating
school subjects (ahem ALGEBRA) become overwhelming.
Music is art and it allows for the soul to express emotions when words just fall short. At the same time, music is mathematical and strengthens the brain’s comprehension and multitasking.
The benefits of music education are multiple and profound. So, we’ve put together a few ideas just for you.
3 Ways Homeschoolers Can Easily Incorporate Music
1. Take musical breaks.
We believe that if students take breaks in between math and history classes and intentionally listen to classical music or practice an instrument -
for even 30 minutes - the students will be able to focus on the rest of their studies and the level distractions will be reduced. Not only does the student learn a beautiful and invaluable skill, but their brain is extended and exercised in a way that can only be achieved through music.
2. Meet one of the greats.
Learning about the men and women who have composed famous melodies inspires us to compose our own music! While names like Bach,
Beethoven, and Mozart are familiar, something that we’re passionate about at MommasDesk.com is raising awareness of famous women who might have hidden behind a masculine nom de plume while they were creating.
We’re shining a very special spotlight on Fanny Mendelssohn in our Leading Ladies series. Meet Fanny Mendelssohn here and inspire the little lady composers in your classroom to compose and learn about beautiful music. Here's a little bit to get you started with your research - delve a bit deeper with your children, then grab this adorable Fanny Mendelssohn coloring sheet to complete.
Fanny Mendelssohn, the sister of the famous Felix Mendelssohn, was denied the right to practice her talents because (according to her brother) "She is far too self-respecting a woman for that; she sees to her house and thinks not of the public." At the age of 40 she finally went against her brother's wishes and published some of her compositions, which were well received. She died suddenly, however, two years later. Being wracked with guilt, her brother had more of her compositions published before HE died - just six months later.
Play this piece for your children as they color their Fanny Mendelssohn sheet - what a simple, beautiful lesson.
3. Incorporate SQUILT into your homeschool.
To be intentional about providing a music education in your homeschool, we would encourage you to integrate Super Quiet UnInterrupted Listening Time SQUILT into your school day. Your students will learn how to mindfully listen to music, meet great composers, and be exposed to all the different instruments that make up an orchestra. We wouldn’t be the least bit surprised if they become passionate about learning to play their favorite instrument!
And now, in addition to open and go volumes that are easy to use, Mary is teaching LIVE lessons through the new SQUILT LIVE! membership. Exposing your children to beautiful music has never been easier!
Thank you Lauren, Bethany, and Denise for sharing with the Homegrown Learners community today -- beautiful stories like this inspire us all to incorporate more beauty in our homeschools!
If you’re already intentionally incorporating music in your classroom,
what are the benefits you’ve witnessed in your students?
Drop us a line and share with us!