Music is a profound expression of our deepest emotions. It is one of God's greatest gifts of beauty to us.
Learning to appreciate music gives us a window into the world of the composer.
Playing a musical instrument promotes discipline and improves academic abilities.
You know all of this - or else you wouldn't be reading this post.
What you might not know is how to give your children a beautiful music education.
It's really very simple - with intentionality and commitment you can give your children the gift of music.
I've learned a lot of tips and tricks in my years as an elementary music teacher, piano teacher, choir direction, and homeschool music curriculum developer... I pray this post will help you!
(I'm going to leave out private instrument lessons and choruses, orchestras, bands, etc... Those are obvious ways to give our kids music that I'm sure you know about!)
Let's not make this hard.
First, a book that never fails to inspire me - worth having on your shelf if you are committed to having musical kids: Raising Musical Kids by Patrick Kavanaugh.
Now, the easy ways to give your kids music.
Listen to Music With Your Children
Immerse your children in beautiful music every chance you get. It's the same principle as when you want to raise a reader - you need to provide books and model reading yourself.
Provide your children with the opportunity to listen to quality music and listen to that music yourself.
A few simple ways to do this:
YouTube is a great resource for music, but please don't let your child explore unsupervised.
I've compiled a list of 10 Best YouTube Channels for Classical Music.
This is a free streaming music service (you can pay a fee to eliminate the ads). I have a playlist to get you started. You can also create playlists based on composers. A few suggestions might be to create a station for JS Bach, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Johannes Brahms, or John Williams. These are just a smattering of great composers to get you started.
Just listen to this whenever you can - and don't make a big deal about it!
These collections are so much fun. Classic pieces are played in their original form, and then they are given silly lyrics in another version. My kids always laughed themselves to death - and they STILL sing the lyrics to pieces like The Moonlight Sonata and one of Brahms' Hungarian Dances. Fun!
With Amazon Prime Music you can listen to all kinds of wonderful music for an additional monthly fee. You can put the app on your phone for easy listening, too!
Since we are hard core music lovers in my house we subscribe to Apple Music. I can get virtually any piece on my iPhone or computer. I love this! Any time a piece is referenced anywhere I can look it up on Apple Music and play it for the kids.
Take Your Children to See Live Concerts
Nothing compares to the magic of going to a concert.
I know my son will never forget when I took him to see the Atlanta Symphony play - a concert pianist was there that evening playing the works of George Gershwin. This was the perfect concert for a pre-teen boy - lots of big piano playing - JAZZ nonetheless!
Keep your eyes on your local paper and online for free events. Visit your local symphony's website and subscribe for updates. Is there a local college where you can attend performances economically?
Many orchestras offer homeschool/education days. We do this each year in our area.
Love this guy -- using SQUILT Music's Meet the Orchestra cards while he attends a symphony concert!
The opportunities are out there - you just have to find them!
Give Your Children Simple Instruments
When children are very young, you can purchase them a simple set of rhythm instruments that will allow them to play and explore as they listen to music.
As children get older they can self-teach themselves on what I like to call "starter" instruments:
- Tin Whistle
You can purchase these instruments at music stores or online, with simple books your child can work through on their own. There are also a myriad of YouTube videos and courses online.
Let your child explore!
(This year in our homeschool I contacted someone who taught guitar and other instruments and asked him if he would put together a group Ukulele class -- we've had such fun!)
Take advantage of resources all around you. Many times musicians who teach independently or work in churches are willing to teach groups of children - especially homeschool kids!
Create a Culture of Music with Books
Reading is integral to my kids' education - and learning about music is no exception. We have an area in our homeschool shelves dedicated to music.
Check out Best Books for Music Appreciation over at SQUILT Music - this is an excellent list to get you started!
Let ME Help You Teach Music Appreciation
My mission, through SQUILT Music Appreciation, is to make music easy, affordable, and enjoyable for families.
- Self-paced PDF volumes spanning all four eras of music
- Meet the Instruments and Meet the Composers flashcards & curated videos
- Extra resources to aid in teaching music
Last year I also decided to fulfill a dream of teaching music appreciation online to children - and SQUILT LIVE! was born. I have been overwhelmed with the interest and success of this program.
Members of SQUILT LIVE! attend live online music appreciation lessons with ME twice a month, in addition to receiving a monthly listening calendar, a members-only volume, a weekly newsletter with teaching tips, and a discount on all SQUILT products.
We have such fun!
Parents like this program because children of multiple ages can participate at the same time... no prior knowledge is required - but somehow the children who already have musical knowledge are engaged, too.
Do you include music in your homeschool?
Do you have any questions? Leave me a comment and I'm happy to help!