If you are like many homeschooling parents, then you're probably wondering how to include music education in your curriculum. That is particularly true if you have never studied an instrument or taken vocal lessons or if it's been several years since you studied.
The good news is that it's not necessary for you to be an accomplished musician in order to introduce your kids to a lifelong love and appreciation of music. You have many options to choose from when it comes to learning about music in a manner that is accessible and approachable for you and your kids.
Let's take a closer look at the importance of music instruction for all kids and the many ways that you can incorporate music into your curriculum.
How Kids Benefit from Music Education
Numerous studies have already concluded that musical instruction is valuable for everyone. Whether they study music theory, an instrument or another subject area, kids may see benefits such as:
- Improved performance in other subjects like language, math and science
- Enhanced ability to express emotion
- Better focus and concentration
- Improved mental health
- Strengthened self-confidence
- Enhanced physical coordination
Children who study music tend to have better social skills and higher self-esteem. Plus, it is worth considering that music education is excellent for building self-discipline while also providing your child with a possible academic and career path.
Similarly, it's important to consider the more intrinsic values that come with studying music. When parents and children develop their appreciation of music together, it strengthens their bonds. Music also brings joy, further cementing the attachment between parents and kids. With so many benefits to discover, it is no surprise that most experts recommend incorporating music education in the homeschool curriculum.
How to Introduce Music in Your Homeschool
Perhaps you are already convinced that music is a vital part of every child's education. Still, that doesn't mean that you know how to teach your children about a complex subject with which you are largely unfamiliar.
Fortunately, there are no hard-and-fast rules for how to teach music in homeschool. This means that you can be creative and flexible while continuing to instill a love of music in your child.
If you want to ease your way into music education, then consider simply playing music in the background during various activities. This is an excellent way to introduce classical music. Because much of this genre doesn't have a vocal component, these pieces can play while reading or doing homework without being a distraction.
Play music during dinner, while bathing or when getting ready for bed. Turn up some classical music during car rides or while the family is cleaning the house or working in the yard.
Consider focusing on a single composer for a few weeks, playing only their compositions and learning about the composer's life as you go.
Incorporating dance and rhythmical movement while listening to music adds another layer of appreciation to the experience. Encourage kids to move with the music. They might skip, run or sway as the music directs. This helps little ones to really feel and appreciate musicality.
Exploring rhythm is another excellent way to introduce music education in an approachable manner. Help kids to find the beat by clapping their hands or tapping their toes. If you have some basic percussion instruments, let kids find the beat to the music and play along.
Great Music Education Books for Kids
Plenty of books have been written for kids to help spark interest in music. Read one of these books aloud with your kids or ask them to read independently. Either way, these books offer a great introduction to the subject while also being excellent reading practice.
Try one of these books:
- Story of the Orchestra by Robert Levine, which comes with a CD
- Welcome to the Symphony: A Musical Exploration of the Orchestra Using Beethoven's Symphony No. 5 by Carolyn Sloan and James Williamson
- Orchestra by Avalon Nuovo and David Doran
- The Once Upon a Masterpiece series by Anna Harwell Celenza
These books and dozens of others will delight you and your kids while educating at the same time.
There's an App for That!
Generally free or quite affordable, an app is a convenient way to get better acquainted with music. Apps are available in an astonishing variety for music enthusiasts. With a couple of taps on your smartphone, you'll discover apps that teach you how to read music, how to keep the beat or how to find the pitch.
Whether your child is interested in improving her skills with the instrument of her choice or wants to learn more about music history, you'll probably find a suitable app.
Look for Music Websites
Websites such as Classics for Kids offer a wealth of resources that are ideal for use in a homeschool environment. Look for features like blogs, podcasts, lesson plans, worksheets, games and quizzes. With well-produced videos and the ability to download music, these websites are multi-media feasts that will engage your kids.
Use Movies and Videos
If you aren't sure that your kids are ready to go to the theater or if there are no performance venues with you, don't discount the value of watching performances on-screen.
Introduce your kids to classic movie musicals like Singin' in the Rain, Oklahoma, The Music Man and Mary Poppins among dozens of others. It's also worth diving into YouTube to find performances by world-renowned musicians and dancers.
Take an Online Course
One of the most popular ways to introduce music education is through online courses. These are available at a wide variety of age and skill levels. Programs for toddlers through teenagers may be found, and some of these courses can be used to earn credits.
The beauty of online courses is that they are self-paced and independent for older kids. This lets them explore their interests in a content-rich environment. Usually featuring homework assignments and quizzes, an online course is an interactive and beneficial way to learn about music.
Use History to Introduce Music
Whether composers are alive today or lived a few centuries ago, the events of their time shaped their lives and their work. Accordingly, it's fairly easy to incorporate contemporary music with a historical time period.
For instance, when studying the period between 1600 and 1760, typically referred to as the Baroque period, you might introduce composers such as George Frideric Handel, Johann Sebastian Bach or Antonio Vivaldi. If you're studying a more modern era such as 1890-1950, you might focus on modernist composers like Sergei Prokofiev, Claude Debussy or Aaron Copland.
Guides and Workbooks
So many fun guides and workbooks are available today. They contain a wide variety of reading material, projects, games and thought-provoking activities. If your kid loves a workbook, they will definitely appreciate this approach.
Get Support from Prodigies Music
Prodigies Music specializes in music education programs for kids as young as one year of age. Through an extensive library of video lessons, children and parents are introduced to the wide world of music in a manner that's fun and engaging.
Even the littlest child will develop an ear for music with these lessons. Incorporate deskbells or other fun percussion instruments so that kids can learn to love making their own music or following along with the lessons.
Prodigies Music grows with your child thanks to a curriculum that gets more challenging and varied. You and your kids will love learning to make and enjoy music with Prodigies Music.