I’ve been wanting to write about the importance of music in your homeschool year for quite awhile now. It’s something I feel very strongly about since I grew up surrounded by music, and not just any music, but beautiful and inspiring classical music.
From the time I was young music was a part of me. I remember being a very small girl and singing in a children’s choir at church. I would spend the night with my grandparents and my grandpa would play fun music on the piano and we would stay up until midnight dancing to it and being silly with all the cousins.
My strongest memories of music involve standing around the piano every morning with my brother and sister, while my mom played hymns and we all sang together at the start of our school day. Sometimes we would beg her for just one more, and we would end up singing for 30 minutes or more!
When I was 11 my mom became deathly ill with Lupus, and suddenly the music stopped. She could hardly ever come to the piano to play for awhile, and I missed the hymns. She had tried teaching me how to play the piano before this, but all of a sudden I really wanted to learn, and we needed the music to keep being played in our home. I taught myself how to play hymns and would go to her in bed and ask her questions. The Lord blessed me to quickly catch on to sight reading, and when I was 13 I began to play classical music and was finally able to take piano lessons.
With that strong history of music in me, I knew I wanted to pass it on to my children. We always try to attend a classical music concert during my third trimester of pregnancy and I love feeling the baby respond to the music each time. During one of our pregnancies we were dirt poor and just couldn’t pull off attending a concert, so Sean created a date night at home with a concert he found on Youtube and we watched it together on a big projection screen he set up!
I quickly found out that my expectations and the reality of teaching my children music were two totally different things.
It’s a lot of work to teach your own children piano lessons and stay consistent with it.
It’s expensive to give them lessons, and the more children you have the more it adds up!
At this time none of my children play the piano very well, though we did do lessons for awhile. We can’t afford piano lessons right now, so I’m going to try teaching them the best I can and see how that goes. The main goal is just to be consistent in those weekly lesson and practice times!
We have, however, made learning string instruments a priority for our oldest son and oldest daughter. Our second son has not shown as much interest in playing, so we just haven’t pursued it with him.
Right now our son has played cello for three years and is in Suzuki book 4. He is currently taking lessons from someone who plays in the Kansas City Symphony and the experience has been really good for him. He also plays in a local orchestra for strings. His strength is playing by ear, but we are working on getting his note reading abilities up to where they should be.
Our daughter has been playing violin for 3 years and she is finishing up Suzuki book 3. She also plays in a local orchestra for strings, and her strength is in sight reading.
It’s been a big commitment, both financially and time wise to give these two lessons. We pay monthly rental fees for their instruments, and the time I invested especially in helping our daughter that first year or two was huge. We are looking at starting our 8 year old in violin soon if we can possibly swing it financially.
That being said, you don’t have to take the same path to teach music in your homeschool years, and your child does not have to play an instrument in order to be exposed to good music.
Here are some practical ways to include music in your home!
The simplest way to expose them to classical music is just to play it in your home! Relaxing classical music is great for nap times and an upbeat, lively symphony can make cleaning the house with your children a fun event!
Starting children out on the piano is the easiest instrument to learn. You could get a digital keyboard so you don’t have to tune a piano each year. Use Hoffman Academy online for learning the piano without a teacher if your finances are really tight.
The Story of the Orchestra is an excellent book that you can use in your school year! Learn about orchestra music, instruments, music, and the composers who wrote the music!
Music that combines stories, like Peter and the Wolf, are wonderful for children! They can learn so much about instruments while listening to this story and use their imagination to follow along as the music plays. You can get the MP3 of Peter and the Wolf, plus a lap book to do with your children in the Fine Arts Bundle included in the Build Your Bundle sale! It’s only available until Monday. The Fine Arts Bundle is normally$209.73 if you bought everything separately, but you can get it for just $19.00 through Monday!
Use the musical flash cards included in the Fine Arts Bundle to help teach your children note reading, and basic music theory.
Youtube can be a great help! I’ve found that teachers record Suziki songs for their students and share it on Youtube, so if your child needs to visually watch someone play a song they can follow along and play with the teacher.
Go through a classical music course – included in the Fine Arts Bundle is a mini course on 100 delightful classical music pieces.
Find local concerts to attend for symphonies. See if your child can get a student discount and take them to a concert held at your town’s music hall.
Spend a school year going through the History of Classical Music from Beautiful Feet Books! We have yet to do this, but it looks excellent.
Finally, don’t be scared of classical music! There is no right or wrong way to enjoy classical music.
Most importantly, teach your children that any musical talent they have is to be used for God, not for their own glory! God is who gives us these talents, and it’s a beautiful thing when our children recognize that. You can easily spot a young adult who is playing for their own vain glory, versus one who is humble about their talent and appreciative of where this gift came from. This is such an important thing to remember when it comes to music!
Buy Two Bundles, Get The Third Free!