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I have been a musician for most of my life. I have participated in choirs since middle school, played the cello for over 25 years and my degree is in Music Performance. My husband is also a musician, so it comes as no surprise that our children are required to take some form of music lessons – at least for a few years.
Not only do I love music, I also believe it has an enormous impact on students and their ability to learn. I have seen first hand what music can do for a child struggling with school, so I have a deep desire for all students to experience music in some form at any age. In the elementary years, it is just important to introduce children to music. As children get older, I believe it is important to introduce them to Music History and Music Appreciation. These are great courses that students can receive high school credit for as well.
Basic Music Theory – Basic Music Theory takes you through the sometimes confusing world of written music with a clear, concise style that is at times funny and always friendly. The book is written by an experienced music teacher using methods refined over more than twenty years in schools and in his private teaching studio. Lessons are fun, well-paced, and enjoyable. Whether you’re a beginner of any age, whether you’re an experienced player who wants to bone up on your theory, or whether you teach music and need a fun way to do it, you’ll find this book valuable and will refer to it again and again.
Beethoven Who? Family Fun with Music – Want to add music appreciation to your homeschool? Beethoven Who is your answer! Hands-on activities, online listening selections (classical, folk, patriotic, & sacred), & more. No expensive CDs to buy. No music background required. Use as a high school elective or for the whole family.
Composers Studies – Enrichment studies has several Composer studies from which to choose. I like these studies as they group composers together in a select era. I find that studying composers together in their era helps make it “stick” a little better. It is also easier to add these studies alongside your history studies, as you can seamlessly weave them in to your history studies.
Experience History Through Music – As the name of this series implies, these book and CD sets allow you to Experience History Through Music. Each title contains one book and one CD. The pages of the books hold dozens of historical pictures; bright and interesting stories connecting each of the songs to its moment in history, even sheet music and chord charts! The CDs are rousing, professional recordings that draw in all listeners. The two combine for fond memories and a grand, knee-slapping good time! This series also includes America: Heart of a New Nation and Musical Memories of Laura Ingalls Wilder.
History of Classical Music – This newly revised and expanded study covers the development of classical music composition from the Baroque Period to the Modern Period. Tracing the development of orchestral music from Corelli, the father of modern violing playing, up to the time of Igor Stravinsky, students will learn of the lives of the great composers, of their triumphs and failures. Students will study the formation and instruments of the orchestra, the complex job of its conductor, read the most famous ballets, and listen to the greatest music works in history. Utilizing a combination of biographies, audio CDs, and fascinating books, students and teachers alike will gain an increased appreciation for classical music and the men and women who created it. Suitable for 4th-8th grade. Contains 75 lessons and it is suggested that 2-3 lessons be completed each week to finish the study in one year. Don’t forget to grab the accompanying timeline!
A Young Scholar’s Guide to Composers – This is a full year’s curriculum (32 weekly lessons) studying the lives of 26 great, musical composers by Melissa Craig & Maggie Hogan. It covers from ancient music to Middle ages in 4 periods: Baroque, Classical, Romantic, & Contemporary periods. Includes listening suggestions, mapping exercises, reproducible timelines, games, coloring pages, useful websites, lesson answer keys, etc. Choice of typographic conventions for citation of musical works in this book is the style recommended in The Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition.
My Violin – This is probably one of the best in-home, DVD curriculum’s I have found for teaching violin. The beginner set comes with everything you need to start your budding violinist. The teacher teaches students techniques for how to hold the bow and instrument as well as proper posture and movement all through fun rhymes and activities. The only complaint my kids had was that they wanted to hold the instrument now. I was pleasantly surprised when they finally held the instrument, just how good their posture and form was. It was impressive for young children. This same publisher also offers guitar, piano and ukelele starter packs. Check out my full review of the violin program here.
DVD and Online Music Curriculum
Year Round Homeschooling – I am the music contributor over at Year Round Homeschooling. For a couple of years I have created Composer Music Studies that are perfect for younger children. (Older kids can use these as a base for study, but would need to add more activities and research.) These studies have a brief overview of the composer, notebooking pages, puzzles and activities to make it fun and introduce younger kids to the composer. The other series I run there is for Musical Eras. This series is a 12-month series that can be compiled to make a complete Music Appreciation course for high schoolers.
Maestro Classics – This series includes 12 audio CDs with companion booklets. More than half of the CDs feature classical works of music while the others set stories or poems to music. The goal of all of the Maestro Classics is to help children “hear the story” in the music, even without narration. Stephen Simon and Bonnie Ward Simon created this series with the help of voice artist Yadu. I have not personally used these CDs, but they are on my “want list” for curriculum. I love that they introduce children to musical instruments at such a young age.
Music Appreciation for the Elementary Grades – Music Appreciation for the Elementary Grades: Book 1 will introduce children to seven different composers, dating from 1685 to 1828 (Bach, Handel, Haydn, Mozart, Beethoven, Paganini and Schubert). Each composer’s childhood and adult life are vividly described in individual biographies. Each book contains written music and delightful pictures throughout. This book includes a variety of hands-on activities such as: geography lessons, history lessons, recipes, instrument studies, music vocabulary, hand writing, musical facts of the Classical period, timelines, character trait studies, and so much more. Geared for a variety of learners-auditory, kinesthetic, visual, and just plain “active”- the Student Activity Book is an excellent companion to your reading experience. This text is not a stand-alone curriculum. To use this book you also need to purchase the Music Appreciation Music CDs and the seven composer biographies published by Zeezok Publishing – however, your local library may have these to borrow if you can’t purchase everything at once.
Classics for Kids – This site has many free resources for learning about classical music and composers. The Classics for Kids® lesson plans and teaching resources give teachers practical, effective plans and activities that use classical music to help children learn, and meet national and state standards. They are based on National Standards for the Arts and state Academic Content Standards for Music, Gardner’s Theory of Multiple Intelligences and critical Thinking Skills based on Bloom’s Taxonomy. The materials also incorporate various philosophies, including those of Orff, Dalcroze, and Kodaly.
Hoffman Academy – This is a wonderful online piano course for families that have multiple children or might be tight on their budget. My oldest used this program several years ago and we absolutely loved it. All of the online lessons are free, the only thing you have to pay for are printed lessons, which I do highly recommend. I like that these lessons are easily accessible with internet access and that my children can work through them on their own. I also believe these lessons are great for both musical and non-musical parents. They are really that simple! Read my full review of this program here.
Looking for more resources? Check out my Homeschool: Music Pinterest board!