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How to Add Music to Your Homeschool Curriculum

If you homeschool, you’ve probably got the basics covered: math, reading, science, etc. You research the curricula and diligently check all the core subjects off the list. But there are always those electives that nag us in the back of our minds. You know them. The ones we feel like we should get to . . . one day. Or the ones we really want to get to . . . but never find the time for.

One of these subjects, most procrastinated by homeschoolers, is music. Music presents several unique challenges. It requires equipment—at least, to play an instrument it does. It requires specialized knowledge that not all homeschooling parents have. It takes time, dedication, and patience, which homeschoolers are already using in great quantities. Then, there is the expense, particularly daunting if you’re considering carpooling multiple children to private lessons.

Yet, the allure of adding music to the homeschool mix is strong! Studying music has been shown to improve brain functions like memory and reasoning. And I bet I don’t even need to tell you that music has also been proven to make us happier!

So how do you work music in—particularly if you’re not musically inclined yourself—and keep it fun, simple, and affordable? Here are three very different yet equally effective ideas depending on what you’re looking for.

Craft Some Homemade Instruments

Making your own instruments is the educational gift that keeps on giving

Most families don’t have a closet full of instruments in their homes. So, how do you help your children explore music? Make your own! The multitasker in you will love that you can turn this into a full-fledged unit study that combines music with history, science, art, and more.

How about crafting pan pipes while learning about the history of woodwinds back to the oldest-found Neanderthal flute? Or explore the physics of sound by studying the history of the lyre, learning how frequency and wavelength relate to string length, then making your own out of scrap wood.

Another plus—these projects can be scaled for every child, from preschoolers to high schoolers. Making your own instruments can truly be as simple or as involved as you’d like it to be.

What this teaches:

  • Elements of music like rhythm, pitch, tempo, and more

  • Acoustics—the science of sound

  • The cultural history and evolution of various instruments

  • The different categories of instruments like string, wind, and percussion

  • Fine motor skills

  • Arts and crafts

Where to learn more:

Kick Back and Appreciate the Music

A music appreciation course is a no-stress way to make your homeschool musical

Okay, maybe building a tanbur or didgeridoo isn’t your cup of tea. Music appreciation is a wonderful way to bring music into your children’s lives without actually committing to lessons and an instrument.

Bonus—this is the perfect way for your children to gain an introduction to the world of music before deciding what instrument they might like to play!

Like instrument building, this approach is versatile—you can add a formal music appreciation curriculum to your homeschool routine or opt for an informal approach that teaches in bite-sized chunks and weaves into your already busy schedule. Let’s take a peek at what both of these options might look like.

There are lots of choices for formal music appreciation curriculum specifically targeted toward homeschoolers. When you’re researching which one is right for you, here are some questions to consider.

  • What age range do I need this curriculum to cover?

  • Do I want this to last for a semester, an entire school year, or more?

  • What do I want this to include:

    • famous composers and musical works,

    • music from different cultures or periods,

    • different instruments,

    • how to read musical notation,

    • musical elements and vocabulary, or

    • something else?

  • What is my budget for this subject?

For an informal approach to music appreciation, check out what your local library has to offer. Typically, you’ll find a wide variety of CDs, sheet music books, and non-fiction options about music, instruments, and sound, not to mention biographies of famous composers. Try choosing a different genre or instrument each week and play some music in the background while you’re doing chores or riding in the car. Then, set aside 30 minutes to learn about what you’ve been listening to.

What this teaches:

  • Elements of music like rhythm, pitch, tempo, and more

  • Reading musical notation

  • The lives of famous composers

  • What different music genres sound like

  • Recognition of notable pieces of music

  • Recognition of different instruments

  • Other objectives included in your chosen curriculum

Where to learn more:

Try online music lessons

An online instructor provides all the personalization of private lessons with the convenience of never leaving home

Homeschoolers face unique challenges when it comes to music lessons. You may live far from qualified music instructors. You may have multiple children of different ages and musical abilities. You may have no musical background or time to teach them yourself. Virtual lessons can provide a single solution for multiple obstacles—allowing your child to receive a high-end music experience from the comfort and convenience of your home.

There are a few questions you should ask, though, before committing:

  • Is the instructor highly qualified for the instrument they will be teaching?

  • Is the instructor passionate about music and teaching music or is this just a side job?

  • Is the instructor great with children, kind, patient, and encouraging?

  • Is the instructor familiar with homeschooling or non-traditional education methods?

  • Do they provide a free trial lesson so I can see if this is a good fit for my family?

Once you’ve found the perfect virtual instructor for your family, you can check this off your homeschool to-do list and focus on teaching the other subjects and enjoying the music!

What this teaches:

  • How to play an instrument!

Where to learn more:

The bottom line on making your homeschool musical

Not everyone has the equipment, the know-how, or even the desire to teach music, and that’s okay! That doesn’t mean you need to give up on the dream of incorporating music into your homeschool. We hope we’ve given you a few ideas to consider.

If you like a hands-on, multimodal approach that turns music into a full-fledged unit study—consider creating some instruments from scratch.

If you’d like a bookish approach that focuses more on the history and appreciation of music than on learning to perform it—check out a curriculum aimed especially at homeschoolers or put together one of your own from the abundant free resources.

But if you'd like your child to experience the passion and excellence high-end music lessons can foster, virtual lessons may be the perfect solution that offers ease, convenience, and one more subject off your plate!

Not certain if online lessons are the way to go? Why not test-drive the experience for free?

Maestro Music is an online music academy exclusively for homeschoolers. We match students with professional, friendly instructors who will help them with every musical goal, big to small. All of our instructors are professional musicians with a passion for helping the next generation of musicians.

Whether you just want your child to foster a love of music or they want to study in a university setting or pursue the craft as a profession, Maestro Music instructors are excited to help! We provide practical, encouraging, comprehensive instruction and resources. And we offer a free trial lesson so that you can experience the possibilities for yourself.

Come see how virtual music lessons work and schedule your child’s risk-free trial lesson. It could be the beginning of something musical!

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