Guest Author - Alissa Moy
The idea of teaching Music to homeschoolers is overwhelming for many parents. Many parents, myself included, are not familiar with a particular instrument. The idea of introducing a musical instrument is of course an option, but it is not the only way to share the genres and history of music as a subject.
Start by introducing your homeschooler to the concept of music. Maybe they already have an IPOD loaded with their favorite MP3's, or maybe they are a fan of the songs enjoyed at Sunday worship service. Have your child write a list of their favorite songs, and why they like that music. Is it upbeat music they favor? Classical? Christian? Ethnic? What do the genres they like have in common? Discuss the types and genres of music too. Use the radio or internet to find appropriate examples of music types, such as country, classical and jazz. PBS Kids has a super Jazz site for all children to listen and play interactive musical games.
Begin teaching music with the classics. Websites like "Classics for Kids" offers a varied selection of lessons and activities. Classical composer works, audio shows for children, musical games and and music education are offered on this child friendly site. There are also resources to learn about instruments, access a musical dictionary and learn about careers in music. Best of all, this is all free!
If you are looking to purchase a musical computer program, I highly recommend "Nutcracker-the Music Game". My ten year old son plays this every year, and he has loved it since age seven! I bring out out during the Christmas holiday season and we both have fun playing the classic holiday music games. The levels are designed to delight children of all ages and the focus is on listening skills, which all children need work on. The various games include a musical game involving instrument identification, pattern and tempo games, basic note reading, parts of an orchestra and much more. Plus, the game will excite all children about Tchaikovsky's famous classic, making classical music exploration a fun learning experience.
Instruments are always an option for teaching your homeschooler music. While younger children can enjoy playing in an impromptu band at home, children entering upper elementary and middle school will need more concrete education. When your child is in Pre-K through grade three, introduce basic intruments to your home curriculum. You can purchase a basic musical instrument set, or one with a DVD component. There is a wonderful Sesame Street music set with an educational DVD and it is not only sturdy and well made, but it is also fun.
Older children might enjoy a church youth band. Many churches offer instruments for the children at discounted rates via member donations. Check into local homeschool groups to see if they offer group or private music lessons. Call your local school board and inquire if there are any current or retired music teachers who teach lessons at a reasonable rate. Many colleges and universities that have music programs offer a "Petting Zoo" for the instruments. Call your local college to see if there is a program of this type planned for the public or if you can set up a homeschool field trip. We attended one at a Fall festival and my son loved trying out the instruments that the college band members use. Plus, the band members explained how the instruments work to the children, and they even performed a concert.
Music can be an enriching experience to teach and learn about, no matter what age you are!