Parents who decide to homeschool their children take on a massive responsibility. Not only must they keep up with all the requirements that are mandated by the state but also they must ensure that their children’s education is as well-rounded as possible.
For many parents, this means including subjects like music in the curriculum. This can be a tricky proposition, especially for parents who do not have a great deal of experience with music themselves.
Fortunately, there are many resources that make it feasible, fun and easy to add music instruction to your homeschool curriculum. The team here at Prodigies Music wants to highlight how you can teach music at home.
Why Even Teach Music in Homeschool Settings?
If you’re among the parents who are wondering whether or not learning music is even important, you’re not alone. Some people think music should only be an elective or an extracurricular activity. Others believe that music instruction doesn’t need to be addressed at all.
However, if you’re one of those parents, then your kids may be missing out on a valuable opportunity. Various scientific studies have demonstrated that music instruction has benefits for kids that may include:
- Improved language capabilities
- Enhanced memory
- Better hand-eye coordination
- Mastering study habits
- Heightening of mental processing and problem solving
- An improved aptitude for teamwork
In other words, music instruction is about much more than just notes, beats and melodies. The lessons that kids learn in music classes serve them in all other subject areas and even outside the classroom.
It’s similarly valuable to consider the bonds that can be formed through the mutual study and appreciation of music. Music plays a vital role in our everyday lives, and when we learn more about it, we share important experiences with each other.
With so much to be gained and so little to lose, perhaps the question should be: “Why wouldn’t you teach music in homeschool?”
Even If You’re Not a Musician, You Can Teach Music
Of course, it’s an option to enroll your child in private music lessons, especially if they show a particular aptitude or are deeply in love with the idea of singing or playing an instrument at an advanced level.
You even may be able to find a local group class that provides a more affordable and generalized study plan in music education.
However, there’s no reason why you can’t teach music to your children yourself with the help Prodigies online classes. Whether you are an accomplished musician, played in the high school band years ago or have little familiarity with music, this is a job that you can do, especially because there are so many tools and resources at your disposal.
In fact, there may be some valuable benefits as you and your children learn about music together. You’ll be deepening your existing bond while also nurturing new bonds that have music appreciation as their foundation.
How to Teach Music in Homeschool Classes
By now, you know how important music education is to your kids, and you may have gained some enthusiasm for teaching the subject yourself. That means that it’s time to take a deeper look at precisely how to teach music in a homeschool situation.
Before you can start teaching music, it is necessary to gather some basic resources. While you may look for homeschooling-specific resources for many of the subjects that you teach, this may not be required when it comes to music instruction. Frequently, you can find dependable resources that are not geared toward the homeschooling family.
Nonetheless, if it is your preference to stay within the boundaries of certain homeschool parameters, then you may wish to collect resources that were specifically designed to serve the homeschooling public.
If you’re looking for music education resources that are free or low cost, then consider trying any or all of these options:
- Second-hand stores
- Online book exchanges
- Used bookstores
- Auction websites
- YouTube and similar websites
Keep in mind that you may need to gather a variety of sources to get your family’s musical journey started off right. Not every book appeals to all readers, and you may appreciate one author’s approach over another.
In other words, if one writer just doesn’t “speak” to you, feel free to try another resource.
While reading about notes and scales can be kind of fun, it is far more fun, impactful and memorable to be able to make your own music. This doesn’t mean that you have to go out and buy or even rent a piano or a violin. Basic music instruction can involve far simpler and more accessible instruments.
In fact, the instruction may begin with just tapping your toes, clapping your hands or snapping your fingers. Maybe you can do some humming or sway to the music. Whatever you do, you’re still introducing the basic concepts of music to yourself and your children.
When you are ready to introduce musical instruments, consider something that’s fun, straightforward and totally accessible, like handbells. These instruments are available in all sorts of sizes. Some are picked up and rung while others are operated by pushing a button on the top of the bell.
Handbells frequently are sold in sets. When they are designed for children’s music instruction, the bells may be color-coordinated to make things easier and more fun.
Handbells aren’t the only option for teaching music at home. A plastic recorder is a popular option that’s inexpensive and easy to use. Another excellent choice is a xylophone. All you have to do with this instrument is to strike a metal plate with a hammer or stick. You also might look for a percussion pack that features an array of instruments like maracas, tambourines, shakers or hand drums.
As students progress, they may want to try more advanced instruments like the violin, clarinet, flute, guitar or piano. Unless you are adept at the same instrument in which your child is interested, this may be the right time to arrange for group or private lessons with a well-respected teacher either in person or online.
Homeschool Music Curricula
Reference books and basic instruments are just the beginning. Just as with any subject, you’ll need a plan for what you and your students will be learning.
Take your time, and be relaxed and patient as you begin music instruction. Remember that music is enjoyable so this should be a fun journey for you and your students.
Some homeschool parents decide to use traditional workbooks or guides. Music workbooks for beginners, novices and homeschool students are widely available. Many of these may be part of a longer series of workbooks that you can follow along for years.
If you do decide to go with workbooks, and they come in a series, it’s best not to skip around in the order of the books. Most of them are designed to be studied sequentially, with each lesson building on the ones before.
Online courses are another popular choice for homeschooling. Thanks to the online format, it’s possible to use PCs, laptops, tablets, smartphones or other electronic devices to stream classes. This makes it feasible to enjoy music instruction anytime, anywhere. Courses that focus on a single instrument or that cover music education, in general, are widely available.
Don’t forget that there are many free music websites that provide additional instruction and experiences. Supplement your child’s learning with websites that explore music theory, the lives of composers and much more.
What Subjects to Cover in Music Instruction
“Music education” is an incredibly broad term that can encompass a multitude of subject matters. Being familiar with all of it would be impossible, and that means that you’ll have to pick and choose the subjects you cover with your kids.
Here’s a look at the basic subjects that you may choose to incorporate into your program:
- Reading music
- Music appreciation and understanding
- The basics of music theory
- Music history, emphasizing the lives and works of composers, songwriters and musicians
- Beginning songwriting and composition
You may choose to tackle these subjects one at a time or to emphasize elements from two or three areas in concert. It’s also true that there are many more subjects that could be introduced. The items listed above are excellent introductory topics.
Look for Other Ways to Enjoy and Appreciate Music
As you and your children gain a deeper understanding of music, you may want to find more ways to experience it. A symphony or chamber music concert can make for a memorable field trip. Look for performances by youth orchestras that may be particularly inspiring to your children.
Also, don’t overlook the music programming that you may find on television or online. Orchestras, symphonies, operas and ballets all post performances online. Tune into your local PBS channel to discover a wide variety of arts programming with an emphasis on music. You’ll be surprised by how many options you have at your fingertips.
At Prodigies Music, We’re Here to Help
When you’re ready to incorporate music education into your child’s homeschool experience, you can rely on Prodigies Music to help. Our engaging, colorful and interactive lessons may be just what you need to inspire your child with a love of music.
Prodigies Music offers a wide variety of plans and lessons that are tailored for students of all abilities. Use our fun and informative online lessons together with our colorful sheet music and handbells to learn about music and to start making your own music today.