Our family is full of musicians — my husband is a professional drummer and our four sons each play a different instrument. Needless to say, music education is a high priority for our family. Below are a few of the resources that we have used to teach music appreciation and individual music lessons.
Believe it or not, YouTube is a great resource for beginners' music instruction. While YouTube is not the safest option, it is probably the best free option when a few safety measures are taken. Parents should search for the best beginner videos for the instrument of their choice and subscribe to the channel. When your child is ready to watch the lesson, you can go directly to the subscribed channel in your subscriptions, avoiding unnecessary searching. A good place to start is the roundup of YouTube videos on MusicLessons.com.
If the piano is your child's instrument of choice, the Piano Nanny is a smart choice for free online piano lessons. With over 30 online lessons, the Piano Nanny teaches theory, proper finger and hand placement and the different styles of music students can play. One of the benefits of these free online lessons is that they allow the student to work at their own pace.
Music appreciation is important for all children to learn, yet sadly, it's no longer being taught in schools. There are two options for homeschool music appreciation curriculum, Maestro Classics and Zeezok’s Music Appreciation Collection.
Music Appreciation for the Elementary Grades: Book 1 from Zeezok’s Music Appreciation Collection introduces children to seven different composers, dating from 1685 to 1828 (Bach, Handel, Haydn, Mozart, Beethoven, Paganini and Schubert). While this curriculum is geared towards elementary students, it can also be used for upper grade levels. This is a comprehensive curriculum that comes with additional supplemental resources. Zeezok's comprehensive curriculum costs $170.
Maestro Classics takes a creative approach to music with Stories in Music, a classical music CD series for children ages 5 to 12 and their parents. History, science, geography, language arts, art, music and math are integrated with the music CDs for preschool to middle school. CDs are $17, and a coordinating lesson plan can be found online.
Ambleside Online is a free online curriculum that follows the Charlotte Mason approach to teaching and learning. Charlotte Mason taught the principles of attentiveness and good observation. The goal is not to have children who can give a lecture on music theory. The goal is to have children learn to enjoy classical music and tell one piece from another just as naturally as they learn the difference between say, "The Farmer in the Dell" and "When the Saints Go Marching In" — because they are both familiar with and fond of what they are hearing.
Another frugal online resource is Famous Composers Notebooking Pages, which also follows the Charlotte Mason music appreciation approach. This ebook of 286 notebooking pages contains 10 notebooking layouts in primary- and regular-lined formats for 28 famous composers for $6.
Cultivating an appreciation of music in our children is so important. Playing a musical instrument can enhance and develop math skills, language, coordination, social skills and improvements in spatial-temporal reasoning. Music is one of the greatest gifts you can give to your children.
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