Are your children being taught music as part of their homeschooling? There’s a good chance that they aren’t, as many parents don’t include it in their home teaching curriculum. And that’s not because they don’t value music or understand its benefits. They simply do not feel equipped to teach it and are rather daunted by the prospect. But learning music has so many benefits and not just for your child, but it can be a great experience for you too. Music lessons open the door to a world of learning.
Learning about music and playing an instrument can have a huge impact on a child’s overall learning, whatever their age. It offers increased math abilities, language and reading skills, social skills, helps them to work better with others, encourages critical thinking skills, improves coordination and can even contribute to better academic test scores. Music lessons can be one of the greatest gifts you can give your children. A number of studies have shown that playing a musical instrument can improve memory and even just plucking the strings of a guitar can teach children all about basic physics, and sympathetic and harmonic vibrations.
Learning to play an instrument is a gift for life
If you want to encourage your child to learn to play an instrument, or they have asked to, then you need to decide which one. There are a few things to consider, like what will the child really enjoy playing? Do you and your child like the sound the instrument makes? Can you afford to purchase it and maintain it? The guitar is often a popular first instrument for young people to start with, especially as it makes such a wonderful sound. It offers a rewarding and fun experience and can open the door to many opportunities later on.
But to get started, you need to choose the right guitar that suits your child. Consider the size that’s appropriate for them. The important thing to remember is that your child needs to be comfortable. Because if they aren’t, they won’t be able to concentrate and play properly. The type of guitar is also important. Acoustic guitars can be a good instrument to start playing with. The classical guitar is ideal for small hands and its nylon strings make it easier to play. The steel-string guitar might be a little harder for young children to play, but worth trying out before you decide.
Teaching music is easier than you think
As a homeschooler, it can be difficult to decide how to work music into home learning. If you want to, you can purchase a music curriculum, encourage your child to learn an instrument or join a music group. The important thing is to find something that works for you and your child. The point of unschooling is to make learning flexible and focused on the individual child. It doesn’t even matter if you don't yourself have any musical abilities at all. You can still appreciate music without being able to play. And remember, teaching music is just like teaching any other subject, you don’t have to be an expert. You just have to have the desire and enthusiasm to teach it.
Discovering music at home
There's no perfect unschooling handbook that everyone must follow. But what is important is giving children as big of a world as possible to learn and grow from. One way we can do this is by surrounding children with a variety of music and musical instruments.
It shouldn't be difficult to weave music appreciation sessions into each day. Play many different musical styles for your children and help them recognize which one they're listening to. Include classical, jazz, musical theater, and popular music. Encourage them to sing along if there are words to the music. Just by listening to different music each day, you can discuss what you hear and your interpretation.Get them familiar with composers and allow them to ask questions about what they hear. Even listening to some basic children songs can help your child think of how they would compose their own song. Encourage them to write their own version of the song with their own words.Look at the links between music and other areas of your child’s education and learning. Can you link a particular type of music or composer to a specific period of history they are learning about? It’s easy to make music a big part of every day. Even just by listening to music in the car or have it on in the background during the day.A lot of areas host symphonies and summer band concerts and many do free children's concerts each year. Find one near you and take your children along. Any live music you can take your children to is fantastic for their learning. Encourage them to write down how they felt about the music. They could even draw their interpretation of what they heard.
Exploring musical instruments
Listen to a wide selection of artists and encourage your child to explore the sounds of the instruments they hear. Can they copy the sound?You can pick up cheap second-hand instruments if you'd rather not buy new. Or, invest in some rhythm sticks, handbells, drums and small xylophones. Encourage your children to use them to make up little tunes, play songs together and create their own rhythms.You don't even need traditional musical instruments. Get a set of tennis balls and encourage the children to bounce them in a steady beat. Wooden spoons work well too as rhythm sticks. Children can play follow the leader with rhythm games. They just need to try to match the leader's beat and can eve walk, clap or jump to the beat. They can even create their own instruments based on art and household supplies. Try decorating empty containers and fill with rice or beans and shake along to music. Home education is about children exploring and discovering the world at their pace. And that's just how they should discover music. You don’t have to make it a complicated process and you don’t even need to know lots about music yourself. You can enjoy exploring and learning about music together.