Teaching Children the Grammar of Music Appreciation

Are you children able to converse about the finer points of a piece of music?

If you were to take them to the symphony, could they talk with you about the instruments being used or the tempo of a piece being played?

Just as we teach our children the GRAMMAR of math and science, so we should also be teaching them about the grammar of music appreciation. 


I am on a mission to get children talking about and enjoying GREAT music! 

AND - I want to shout this from the rooftops - teaching your children about music appreciation is EASY. It is ENJOYABLE.   It will be something that stays with your children for their entire lives and it will ENRICH their lives in so many ways. 

How to START Teaching the Grammar of Music Appreciation

If you were to simply play a piece of music for a child and ask them what they hear it might be a difficult question for them to answer.

There is A LOT that goes on in a piece of music, so it is best to start with ONE THING.

For example, if you ask your child to listen to The Flight of the Bumblebee, simply ask them to listen for the TEMPO of the music (does it go FAST or SLOW?).  Simply starting a conversation with your child about the tempo of a piece of music is a very easy place to start - not intimidating at all.  

In this piece, the TEMPO is fast - or PRESTO. 


After that, you might have them listen again - this time asking them to listen for the sound of the STRINGS, which create the buzzing of the bees. 

If we teach our children the vocabulary - or GRAMMAR - of music, slowly and methodically, repeating the same process over and over with different pieces of music, eventually they will learn the grammar and then be able to apply it to pieces on their own when they listen. 

What if You Know NOTHING About Music?

The one stumbling block  many parents encounter in teaching their children about music education is that THEIR musical knowledge is lacking. 

I heard this fear expressed so often when I would write posts about music appreciation, so I took that consideration to heart and began crafting a music appreciation curriculum specifically for the NON MUSICAL!  (Of course, you can use it if you have musical knowledge, too!)

I thought about subjects that are foreign to me (art appreciation, Latin, etc....) and thought about how I teach these to my children.

I search out resources that are simple and that walk me through the GRAMMAR of the subject little by little. 

Using my experience as an elementary music teacher (where we used SQUILT daily in all grades), I decided to create a music appreciation curriculum for multiple ages that teaches children the GRAMMAR of music, while making music fun, engaging, and SIMPLE. 


SQUILT Music Appreciation

Super Quiet UnInterrupted Listening Time  teaches children the grammar of music.

It helps  children learn about great pieces of music (from all eras) and gives them the ability to articulate what they are hearing. 

SQUILT also gives children the gift of SLOWING DOWN and LISTENING - something many children (and ADULTS!) have a hard time doing.

The centerpiece of  SQUILT is a simple notebooking page which encourages children to write about the elements of music. If your child is too young to write or writing is a struggle, there is a simple "Draw What You Hear" notebooking page as well. 

SQUILT Basics:

  • 100% internet based curriculum - no need to purchase music - all you need are basic school supplies and a computer or tablet/iPad
  • Each volume corresponds with a musical era (Baroque, Classical, Romantic & Modern) and consists of 10 representative pieces of music
  • Students notebook their musical findings - and I talk you - the parent - through each piece! Parents are learning with SQUILT, too!
  • SQUILT is AFFORDABLE - each volume is $12 - which means you pay only $12 for AT LEAST 10 (normally 20) weeks of music appreciation
  • SQUILT meets kids where they are - each volume includes many fun enrichment activities and unique performances of pieces to keep children engaged, intrigued, and laughing!
  • Multiple Ages can use SQUILT - I provide notebooking pages and activities for ALL ages (preschool - middle school), so the whole family can learn together.
  • Bind only the pages you want together into a music appreciation notebook for your child - great for portfolios and as a record of learning.

This video tour of SQUILT walks you through a typical volume in the series: 

Do you teach music appreciation in your home?  Are you a SQUILT user?   Leave me a comment below and talk to me about music in your homeschool.