In March 2020, millions of parents around the world were suddenly introduced to the concept of homeschooling. Measures enacted by public health officials to mitigate the coronavirus contagion resulted in the closure of both public and private schools, thus leaving parents with no other choice but to embrace homeschooling for the time being. In many cases, parents received guidance from teachers and school administrators on how to help students progress through the curriculum; in other cases, parents relished the opportunity to enrich the curriculum with other elements such as music.
There is no question that many parents will feel challenged and even overwhelmed by the prospect of homeschooling. Some of the initial concerns include:
- Setting up a living space that can be as suitable as possible for learning.
- Being able to follow the curriculum set forth by state education officials.
- Trying to juggle homeschooling along with other responsibilities such as working, getting domestic chores done, bringing food to the table, and managing household expenses.
- Helping children adjust to a new phase in their lives.
The aforementioned concerns will be experienced in all families that decide to embrace homeschooling for whatever reason. Experienced parents will tell you that things will eventually flow smoother, often before you realize it. You have to remember that students are the primary stakeholders in the homeschooling process, and they will adjust long before parents do. At some point, you will start to think about ways to complement the curriculum; this is natural because humans are naturally inclined to teaching the youngest family members.
Why Adding Music to Homeschooling Makes Sense
Music can be a wonderful subject to include in your homeschooling curriculum; you may think that this is a biased opinion from Prodigies Music, but there is plenty of empirical evidence and pedagogic research about the importance of incorporating musical education to the academic curriculum. Researchers from the University of Helsinki in Finland and the Beijing Normal University of China have observed a strong neurocognitive effect on children who participated in musical education between the ages of five and six. The specific observations of this study, which was published in 2018, included:
- Structural changes in the students' brain structures, particularly in the temporal, frontal, and occipital regions.
- Improved auditory and motor development.
- Greater interest by children in the complexities of the language acquisition process.
- Finer attention-allocated brain responses.
When it comes to homeschooling and music, you really want to get started as early as possible, which is why many of the courses and materials we develop are aimed towards younger students. Another reason you want to get an early start is because you want to determine if your child was born talented; keep in mind that we still do not know for sure why some children are musically gifted from birth, but we do know that talents have to discovered and fostered in order to develop them to their full potential.
Musical talent does not preclude interest or skill; you may have homeschooling students who enjoy experiencing music more than performing it, and this could signal a future in which they become producers, sound engineers, researchers, or label managers. You may have a young child whose mastery of lullaby melodies on a toy xylophone will take a long time; this will be the case for most parents, but if the child is deeply interested and determined to get it right, the benefits of such an experience at an early age will last a long time.
Music Can Foster Family Bonding
We have already mentioned benefits that have been measured by researchers; we will now review an emotional aspect of music and homeschooling we can all identify with. Pretty much all of us have memories of growing up with music. Those of us who grew up with transistor radios remember a time when our parents danced in the kitchen to a popular music hit. This is one example of precious family bonding that music is known to facilitate.
Music is the soundtrack of our lives. When we develop Prodigies Music programs, we make them fun not only for the benefit of students but also the entire family. Our teaching methods focus on listening, appreciation, creation, and having fun. We want homeschooling music lessons to be memorable for both teachers and students. If you can get other family members involved in this musical teaching experience, students will reap benefits to their maximum potential.
In Latin America, an interesting trend developed among teenagers circa the year 2010; they started appreciating melodramatic ballads of the 1970s and the 1980s, and they dubbed them "música plancha," which roughly means "music that our moms played while they ironed all of our clothes." What young Latinos have discovered in these cheesy ballads is that many of them were only well-written but also masterfully performed. This is more than just nostalgia; this is critical listening, and quite a few youngsters are now keen on hunting down vinyl records of these songs. In other words, they are really getting into music through a cultural moment.
Even More Important Aspects of Music in the Homeschooling Curriculum
Despite being an intrinsic part of life, music has taken an unfortunate secondary role in academic formation, particularly in the public school system. In some school districts, music education boils down to appreciation classes, which are undeniably important but often leave out the element of performance. With regard to school band programs, you probably know how it works: talented children who have some familiarity with instruments will be the only ones selected, thus leaving out many other students whose potential interests in music will not be stimulated.
Homeschooling is a great opportunity to deliver musical education that students may not otherwise get at school. Even if you intend to enroll your child at a fine arts school later in life, you will want them to develop certain skills and traits when they are still young. Music is one of those subjects that are appropriate to teach at any age, but it is better to alleviate performance anxiety and other psychological obstacles we inadvertently and incorrectly develop as we grow older.
The Bottom Line of Music Education and Homeschooling
You simply cannot go wrong with incorporating music into your homeschooling curriculum. The intellectual development alone is worth every minute your young students spend learning about music. Listening, creating, and experiencing music are highly intellectual activities that we simply take for granted, but they combine into a positive intellectual process that can stay with us throughout our lives.
Not all parents feel that they are cut out to be music teachers; even some of them who are musicians themselves will sometimes doubt their ability as educators. Thankfully, you have a few options in this regard: Sending your children to a fine arts school, hiring music tutors, or get them started at home with Prodigies Music. Many of the parents who choose our method do not have children going through homeschooling; some of them are even musicians who appreciate the sing, sign, and play activities. Most of our clients are parents with very little experience as educators, but they find our method easy to follow and deliver.
There is no reason to feel intimated by musical education in the homeschooling classroom. You and your students have everything to gain and absolutely nothing to lose. The lesson plans of the Prodigies Music curriculum can be followed by any parent. As long as you have a desire to engage and enrich the cognitive processes of your children, you will be able to be their music teacher.
A few years before American jazz legend John Coltrane sadly passed away, he became very interested in spirituality and mathematics, two subjects he had barely studied when he attended school and university. It was around this time that Coltrane started pioneered free-form jazz and wrote an alternate take on music theory that combined principles of spatial geometry with consciousness and a different way of interpreting scales and melodic patterns. Coltrane is not the only musician who became smarter and more intellectually engaged throughout his career; this is something that happens to quite a few performers who simply fall in love with music. As parents, we would all like our children to one day be like Coltrane, and we can guide them in that direction by means of music education during homeschooling.