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Music has always been a big part of my life. From cleaning the house on Saturday mornings as a five-year-old with records playing to taking flute and piano lessons, I’ve enjoyed the music. How can you make music part of your homeschooling experience?

Lessons

The most obvious way to teach your kids music is to sign them up for music lessons or if you have a background in music to teach them yourself. I chose to start my daughters with instruments that are easily incorporated into playing with a group and seemed to fit their personalities well: the piano and ukulele. Our teachers came highly recommended to us and have been the perfect fit. Talk to your kids and see what instruments they are drawn to. Talk to friends for a teacher referral.

Appreciation

Your child may have no idea what instrument to play. If you don’t have a strong preference as a parent then how about some music appreciation? When is the last time you attended an instrumental concert? As a child, I loved going to concerts. It was like a whole world opened up to me. Now I love watching my kids leaning forward on the edge of their seats during a concert. In a few weeks, we will be attending a special philharmonic concert with our homeschool group. Look for concerts that are free or perhaps available in your community at a special discount for school groups and invite your homeschool friends. A super easy and fun way to begin music appreciation is to watch various musicians on Youtube. Here is a video of James Gallway playing the Flight of the Bumblebee on his golden flute: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LI3wIHFQkAk. Try to find specific instruments so your kids can see up close how they are played and the beautiful sounds they create.

Music on a Budget

One of the challenging aspects of homeschooling is that everything costs money. A compromise we had to make to keep our lessons more affordable was to schedule them for twice per month instead of every week. It’s worked out great because my girls have more time to practice between lessons and are prepared for their teachers. For a couple of years, I taught flute lessons to a homeschool friend in exchange for her help with my kids after each lesson. The church is a great place to find free music opportunities such as a kids’ choir. Group lessons are another way to cut costs. Look around! There are probably options available to fit your particular budget.

Value Debate

There seems to be a constant debate on the value of music education. Is it really worth the time, effort, and financial investment? For me personally, playing flute has enhanced my life from fourth grade to the present. How many things can you still do after thirty years and enjoy just as much? Music is one of the few skills that will stick with you even if you experience dementia as in the case of my grandmother. She didn’t know her own grandchildren but could sit down and play the piano with gusto. Here is an article that explains the value of music education: http://www.effectivemusicteaching.com/articles/directors/18-benefits-of-playing-a-musical-instrument/. I love this Tedtalk with animation about the effect playing an instrument has on your brain: https://www.ted.com/talks/anita_collins_how_playing_an_instrument_benefits_your_brain?language=en

Variety

Music education provides variety in homeschooling. There is something special about learning an instrument that is totally different that anything else your child will learn. Creating music is so unique to the educational experience. It adds a dimension that cannot be matched in other studies.

If you’ve been on the fence about music education, look into it. Add it into your homeschool life and start seeing the benefits in your child.

 

Sarah Brutovski is a homeschool mom of three children. She grew up just down the street from where she and her husband are raising their family now in rural Upstate New York. When she is not teaching her kids, grocery shopping, or drinking coffee you might find  her training for a half marathon, escaping for a morning at the beach, or chatting on the phone with one of her four siblings. Sarah loves writing on her blog sarahswritingcafe.blogspot.com and currently teaches creative writing at her kids’ weekly co-op.