Music Education in the Homeschool Setting

While I’m enjoying my new baby, I’ll be sharing some posts from my fellow bloggers. To read more about today’s guest writer, be sure to check out the bottom of this post!

Music education up close and personal in the comfort of your home — can you imagine the experience in store for your kids? There is an opportunity for music education that exists in a non-threatening environment where you, as the parent, can be as creative as you choose to be and make it fun and enjoyable for your kids.

I don’t know if you are aware of it, but studies have been done that reveal the importance and the amazing benefits of integrating music into the educational process. Even if you’re not musically gifted, you can easily incorporate music appreciation into the lives of your children.

I learned to play the guitar pretty much by myself. My dad is a guitarist, but once he taught me the seven major chords, it opened up the capability to play a multitude of songs. So you can visualize, the major chords are: E,F,G,A,B,C and D.

Now, of course, there are a lot more chords in between such as sharps or flats and minors, etc., but once you can play the major chords you would not believe the amount of songs you can play. A lot of famous songs are sometimes made up of just three of four of these chords, so don’t be daunted by the prospect of learning to play a musical instrument. Just take it step-by-step, and remember that once you’ve learned to play a chord or note, you’ve learned it, and you move on to the next one.

Here are some pretty simple ways to develop the conditions to do this.

1. Craft an atmosphere that is filled with music.

The homeschooling experience is built around many activities, loving touches and experiences to create a well-rounded education alternative to public schooling for your children. You have a vested interest in how your child is educated so it is important to include music education or appreciation of music in this process. None of us knew how to speak when we emerged from the womb and, initially, that skill was not developed by attending special classes. The ability to speak and communicate was learned by continual conversation heard as we grew up. We learned our parents’ words and used them to communicate.

We can teach our children to appreciate music in the same way we learned to speak – by immersion in it. Surround them with music by listening to the radio at home and in the car. Engulf them with music as you play your favorite CD’s or even sing their favorite songs to them before they go to sleep. Give them gifts of toy musical instruments or things that are useful for music making for their playrooms and their recreational time.

2. Attend live musical concerts in your area whenever possible.

I personally think there is no better experience than to watch your favorite musician play his or her chosen musical instrument at a live concert. There are no words to describe the feelings you can derive by watching those hands and fingers manipulate the keys or strings of that instrument. You can feel the passion and emotion that flows from the musician. You can not only hear the melodic tones, but you can “hear” the joy, the pain, the misery, the excitement that emanates from the musician as the piece is played. Your children can pick up on those emotions as well. They can also benefit greatly from the opportunity to meet and speak with that same musician who moved them. They can learn how important it is to commit to something and to practice and work hard toward that goal. Truly, music is so much more than just an auditory experience!

3. Find a music mentor to teach beyond the classroom.

Try to locate a music teacher who is willing not only to teach your child to play music but who is willing to mentor them and teach them what you can’t. Find someone who will help them learn more about the instruments of their choice by teaching them to make repairs on them. They’ll learn a new skill and appreciation in the process.

4. Learn to use the internet and video games to your advantage.

There are literally hundreds or thousands of websites on the internet that are suitable for interactive music instruction and entertainment of your children. There are many video games that could be utilized in this way as well. Your children will love you even more in the homeschool setting when you utilize these fun tools because they’ll think you’re giving them more time to play than time to learn.

Even though I have learned to play the guitar, the electric guitar to be more precise, I am now teaching myself classical guitar by taking online acoustic guitar lessons thanks to the internet, and the beauty about it is that you can take it at your own pace and at a time of your own choosing. So if you would rather your child test the waters before hiring a music teacher then maybe a dvd guitar lesson might be a better way to go in the early days.

5. Explore the connections linking music and other areas in their education.

Music can become integrated into their young lives more easily if you can draw some similarities to the things they are studying. For example, you might reference a particular type of music or composer from a particular period of history that they might be studying. An older child could also get some insight from the psychological consequences of musical therapy. How about using songs or CD’s during their physical education period?

I think you can see by these simple suggestions that incorporating music education into your child’s homeschool experience doesn’t have to be a menacing one, and the benefits of this integration are huge for them.

20120814-115856.jpgGerald Crawford lives in the small town of Tandrgee in Northern Ireland. His father played in a band called Just Five back in the 1960’s and he taught him how to play guitar. Gerald’s son, Gary, now plays guitar, and his daughter, Carla, plays keyboards in a band called R51 having reached grade 7 in piano.

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