With the current state of music education in public schools, it is not surprising to learn that more parents are choosing to fill this academic gap at home. The coronavirus pandemic and its social distancing restrictions during 2020 forced many parents to discover homeschooling; not all of them enjoyed this drastic change, but quite a few determined that this method of teaching can be highly conducive to music education.
Discussing the sad state of affairs related to music education in the realm of public school districts is like beating the proverbial dead horse. Programs such as Prodigies Music can certainly help to alleviate the situation, but we are willing to bet that we would see more subscriptions to our programs if there was a solid foundation of music education in public schools.
There is hope in the prospect of music education returning to public schools in the academic sense and not just as school band programs; when that happens, we will undoubtedly see more interest in Prodigies Music. For the time being, we salute parents who decide that music theory is worth teaching at home, and we would like to offer some tips on how to get the most out of this experience when you start a new role as a home educator.
The Rationale For Early Music Education
We are not being biased when we insist that music education is a vital aspect of cognitive development. We are simply reiterating what prestigious thinkers such as linguist Noam Chomsky have stated about human evolution and our capacity to understand certain elements of "universal language acquisition." Learning to speak and express our thoughts through language is most intellectually challenging activity we undertake; we don't remember this difficulty because our memories have limits, but we get the idea when we start learning foreign languages later in life.
When we break down the function of music to its most primal characteristics, we can safely say that it serves to alter our minds and guide our emotions. We are equipped, so to speak, for this reaction, which ultimately results in intellectual engagement. The complexity of music equals that of language, but we happen to be equipped, so to speak, to handle it. You do not have to take our word for granted in this regard; there is plenty of pedagogic and human development research that you can delve into in order to get a better understanding of what music education can for your children.
The processes of listening, creating, experiencing, and studying music are wonderful because we are born with a desire to tap into them. Nurturing this desire from an early age can work wonders in terms of cognitive and social development, and this is the bottom line of allowing your children to learn music.
Even some musicians may have reservations about suddenly becoming music teachers, and this is understandable, but you have nothing to worry about. The Prodigies Music program is meant to do the heavy lifting for you; we really mean it because our curriculum designers have created a method that instills music theory, and if you know nothing about it, you will get to learn along with your children. It truly is a win-win situation because you will get to bond as a family through the magic of music.
Now we can mention the rewarding elements of music education; they alone will convince you that becoming a homeschooling music educator is completely worth it:
- Music promotes social connections.
- Music sparks creativity.
- Music fosters coordination.
- Music boosts self-confidence.
In the course of helping your children complete Prodigies Music lessons, you will probably notice their learning capacity advancing at rate higher than your own, and this will provide the motivation you need to continue in your teaching role.
Resources and Materials
Parents who adopted homeschooling education roles during the COVID-19 pandemic were pleased to realize that the internet offers myriad resources for both students and teachers. In the specific case of the Prodigies Music program, all you need is a personal computing device, a broadband internet connection, a reasonably modern web browser, and decent speakers. Even though tablets are great for early music learning, we have found that low-end devices tend to feature underwhelming speakers; if this is the case in your homeschooling classroom, you can easily upgrade to external speakers without breaking the bank
As for instruments, we recommend starting out with the Prodigies Music Desk Bells. Also, make sure to install the digital bell app for free. Early music learning, even when it is centered on music theory, will not cost too much. With regard to other materials such as external lesson plans, you will find that most of them can be obtained for free inside Prodigies. When teaching older students who become interested in the lives of great musicians, for example, you should not have problems finding age-appropriate biographies and videos online.
Instruments for Students Making Progress
If your student is progressing from Solfege Hand-Signs and the 8 Note C Major Deskbells, you will want to consider getting the Chromatic Deskbell Expansions so they can keep progressing with the later lessons. Students can also explore Piano Prodigies, Ukulele Prodigies, Recorder Prodigies and our Rhythm Collection. You will want to consider the following instruments as your student progresses through their musical journey:
With regard to percussion instruments, a good idea is to keep a small assortment that can be used to illustrate rhythms and measures; to this effect, you will want to consider rhythm clocks, boomwhackers and note knacks. Another advantage of introducing students to various instruments is that some of them may choose to play more than one as they grow up, but most will fall in love with a single one.
Measuring and Improving Your Teaching Performance
With the explosion of homeschooling activity during the pandemic, many teachers went online to find that they had gained thousands of peers willing to share their experiences and look for guidance. If you would like to see how you are faring as a homeschooling educator, be sure to go online and join forums where other parents gather to discuss topics related to what they are doing and how their children are benefiting. Quite a few parents have been pleasantly surprised to learn that other families in their own communities have been able to set up homeschooling operations that rival private academies, and this is the kind of information you can definitely benefit from.
Becoming active in a national homeschooling parents association is ideal if you only teach Prodigies Music as an extracurricular activity; however, if your children are completing an entire grade curriculum, we strongly recommend that you join forums and organizations in your home state.
Setting Goals for Students and Teachers Alike
Each Prodigies Music lesson comes bundled with a set of goals that are defined according to a plan. Aside from these academic goals, you should also think about certain milestones to be achieved by your students as well as by yourself as a new educator. While it is true that a self-paced learning approach is preferred in homeschooling, you should not assume that you have all the time in the world. Time does not stop for homeschooling students and their teachers; our lessons have recommendations and expectations as to when they should be grasped.
If you find that academic goals are constantly being missed or take too long to complete, there may be learning or instructional issues at play. In some cases, there may be external factors interfering with the curriculum. Whatever the case may be, the best way to realize that something is not working as it should is by assessing how easily or difficult it was to achieve a goal. If you do not set objectives for yourself and your children, you will not know if you are making adequate progress.