The following is a post from contributing writer Mary Prather.
Music is, unfortunately, one of those subjects that falls into the “extras” category in not only regular education environments, but also our homeschools.
We KNOW that it is worthy, important, beneficial, and GOOD, but I believe many times it alludes us how to actually fit it into an already jam packed schedule. Admittedly, music must take a back seat to math, spelling, writing, science, and history.
Or should it?
Why can’t music be incorporated with those subjects? Or, why can’t we simply incorporate little pieces of music into our everyday lives?
Following are three simple ways we make time for music in our homeschool.
1. Integrate Music With History
Composer study can be quite easily incorporated with your history studies. Often learning about the lives and times of a particular composer gives us a more personal glimpse into the world at that time. Listening to the music brings about feelings that would have been prevalent during that time period. It just makes sense to immerse ourselves in the musical culture of a time period to get a greater appreciation for the triumphs and struggles of the day.
If you are learning about the Reformation and Martin Luther, a hymn study of A Mighty Fortress is Our God would quite naturally follow. Listen to the hymn, download a notebooking page and you are all set.
Learning about The American Revolution can provide a wealth of musical exploration - Yankee Doodle, The Star Spangled Banner, and so much more.
If your students are studying the beginning of the 20th century and the many changes going on in that time, a study of a jazz and Broadway pioneer like George Gershwin would be appropriate.
As you plan your history studies, try and incorporate several musicians along the way.
In a series about teaching music last spring I talked about SQUILT – Super Quiet Uninterrupted Time. Quite simply, it is choosing one piece of music each week, having your children listen to it quietly, then talking about it and filling out a simple listening form.
After time, your children will get used to listening for things like TEMPO, RHYTHM and DYNAMICS.
Even the youngest listeners can complete this activity – maybe they just listen and talk about the piece, or maybe they just write a few descriptive words about the piece. The goal is to expose your children to a variety of music and to develop an ear for great music.
You can spare fifteen minutes a week, can’t you?
3. Study Music “On the Go”
Make use of your time running errands or going to and from activities. I might choose a composer each week and play their music in our van. Other times I may just turn on the local classical station and we always learn something this way. My children are a captive audience in the van, and most times great music is enough to keep them entertained.
We use a streaming music service – Spotify – which is like the Netflix of music. You can play any artist, composer, or album you wish for a small fee each month. It works through your smart phone or computer. Pandora is another good option which is free, although not as customizable.
You will be amazed at just how much your children can pick up in short 15 or 20 minute jaunts to the store or baseball practice. (Soothing classical music also puts everyone in a better mood!)
Music, then, is actually one of the easiest subjects to incorporate into your day. Why not start making time for music right away?
Mary is a former elementary school music educator who now runs a private piano studio out of her home. She loves incorporating music into her homeschool each and every day with her two children, Anna and Grant. Visit her at Homegrown Learners to follow their daily adventures.