Making Music a Daily Habit: Incorporating Daily Music into Your Homeschool Routine

Making Music a Daily Habit: Incorporating Daily Music into Your Homeschool Routine
In homeschooling, where many children thrive off of structure and routine, the incorporation of music into the daily rhyhms & schedule can offer invaluable benefits. From enhancing cognitive development to fostering discipline and creativity, music serves as a dynamic educational tool that enriches the homeschooling experience. Let’s explore practical ways to make music an integral part of your homeschool daily.

Establishing Consistent Practice

The foundation of integrating music into your homeschooling routine lies in establishing a consistent practice schedule, or time in the day to include musical learning. Designate a specific time, whether it be in the morning or afternoon, solely for music education, whether that is learning about music or making music or both. By making daily practice a non-negotiable component of your routine, you instill in your children the values of commitment and diligence, essential traits that extend far beyond the realm of music.

Cultivating Confidence Through Singing

Singing provides a universal accessible avenue for musical expression and self-discovery. Encourage your children to engage in vocal exercises (more on this in the Classical Collective group!) and sing along to their favorite songs. Emphasize the importance of confidence-building over perfection, fostering an environment where experimentation and expression are celebrated. Additionally, consider incorporating intergenerational interactions by having older siblings sing to younger ones, nurturing family relationships through musical connection.

Exploring "Living Songtales" and Hymn Study

Expand your musical repertoire by exploring living songtales, which combine storytelling with musical elements to captivate young minds. Integrate these tales into your homeschool curriculum, providing a multi-sensory approach to learning that stimulates imagination and creativity. Furthermore, consider incorporating hymn study into your morning routine or another suitable time of day, offering insights into the historical and cultural significance of traditional hymns while also fostering introspection and spiritual growth. (For resources in these areas, stay tuned! More to come in the Classical Collective Membership -- sign up here to get notified when it goes live for pre-sale!).

Additional Ideas for Musical Exploration

Beyond structured practice and study, there are numerous avenues for incorporating music into your homeschooling routine:
  1. Music Appreciation: Delve into various musical genres and styles through listening sessions and discussions, cultivating an appreciation for diverse forms of artistic expression.
  2. DIY Instrument Projects: Engage in hands-on learning by constructing homemade instruments using household materials, fostering creativity and resourcefulness.
  3. Musical Games and Activities: Infuse playfulness into daily life with interactive games and activities designed to reinforce musical concepts and skills. Here's many ideas!
  4. Family Music Making: Foster a sense of unity and collaboration by organizing family jam sessions or family sing alongs, providing an opportunity for each member to showcase their musical talents in a supportive environment. Even if family members do not feel they have talents in this area, the goal is communal music-making, not the skill level of the music-making itself. We do value excellence! But we value community and shared experience more here (just like we do with corporate worship... more on that later!).
Incorporating music into your homeschooling routine offers a wealth of educational and developmental benefits, from enhancing cognitive abilities to fostering creativity and confidence. By establishing consistent practice, exploring diverse musical experiences, and embracing intergenerational and communal learning opportunities, you create an environment where music thrives as an integral aspect of the homeschooling journey. So, let music permeate your homeschooling routine, enriching the educational experience and nurturing the hearts and minds of your children.

What Every Child Should Know Before Beginning to Play a Musical Instrument

What Every Child Should Know Before Beginning to Play a Musical Instrument
Embarking on the journey of learning a musical instrument is a transformative experience for children, shaping not only their musical abilities but also fostering important cognitive and emotional skills. Most people choose piano or ukulele as the first instrument, as those are the most accessible for younger children and smaller hands. Before diving into instrumental training, though, it's crucial for children to develop a strong foundation in three key areas. Outlined by Dr. John Feierabend (America's leading early childhood music educator), these 3 elements are tunefulness, beatfulness, and artfulness. Let's explore how parents and educators can facilitate the development of these essential skills to ensure a successful musical journey for every child, especially at home.

Becoming Tuneful:

Tunefulness lays the groundwork for musical proficiency by honing a child's ability to perceive and produce accurate pitches. To foster tunefulness, parents can incorporate music into daily routines, from singing lullabies to exploring a variety of musical genres together. By engaging in activities that develop pitch discrimination and encourage vocal experimentation, children develop a strong foundation in melody, setting the stage for future instrumental learning. One important point to note is -- make sure young children are not given too difficult of a song to sing. The tune should be simple and follow a predictable pattern, at least until tunefulness is acquired. Caregivers can of course model more complex songs that children will learn to sing in the future! But when assessing tunefulness, make sure children have a simple melody to sing and have heard it enough times to be familiar with it in their "musical ear."

Becoming Beatful:

Steady Beat is the heartbeat of music, making beatfulness a critical skill for aspiring musicians. Children should feel comfortable moving to the pulse of music and maintaining a steady tempo before delving into instrumental training. Children cannot accruately develop rhythm skills without first having an internal sense of steady beat. Activities such as clapping, marching, and playing beat games help children internalize this and develop coordination. By incorporating movement and beat keeping into daily activities, parents and educators lay a solid rhythmic foundation for children, ensuring they're ready to tackle the challenges of instrumental learning with confidence.

Becoming Artful:

While technical proficiency is essential, true musicality lies in artfulness – the ability to infuse emotion, interpretation, and personal expression into music. Encouraging creativity through improvisation, composition, and interpretation empowers children to find their unique voice in music. With young children, this is best practiced by doing fingerplays, action songs, and moving to music for form and expression. By fostering a supportive environment where experimentation is encouraged and individuality is celebrated while also demonstrating that the music matches the expressive intent, parents and educators nurture children's confidence and authenticity in musical expression.

Before beginning to play a musical instrument, it's essential for children to develop these 3 foundational skills. By prioritizing these and providing opportunities for exploration and expression, parents and educators set children up for a lifetime of musical fulfillment and success. With intentional guidance and support, every child can unlock their musical potential and experience the joy of making music.

For practical ideas and resources to support your child's musical journey, join us in The Classical Collective Facebook group. There, you'll find a vibrant community of parents, educators, and musicians sharing valuable practical tips, activities, and resources to enrich your child's musical development. Join us and let's make beautiful music together!

The Benefits of Music Education in Classical Homeschooling

The Benefits of Music Education in Classical Homeschooling
In the realm of homeschooling, there’s a growing appreciation for classical education, a model that emphasizes the pursuit of truth, goodness, and beauty through a structured curriculum (more on classical education here). At the heart of this educational philosophy underlies the profound impact and thread of music education. Let's explore the practical benefits of incorporating music into classical homeschooling and education.

  1. Cognitive Development: Music's Impact on Learning Music education is integral to classical homeschooling for its role in enhancing cognitive abilities. From improving memory and attention span to sharpening auditory discrimination skills, studying music provides a well-rounded cognitive workout, supporting critical thinking and analytical skills as well as literacy and poetic understanding especially in the early years. Dr. John Feierabend says this is why learning to create music, not just learning about music, is so important especially in ages birth-age 8. Gaining knowledge about music, like memorizing Bach's birth year or mnemonic devices for note names, primarily utilizes one's linguistic intelligence. While this information is certainly useful, it doesn't necessarily lead to a deep understanding of music. True musical intelligence involves the development of neural pathways for musical thinking early in life. This foundational understanding is crucial for later learning to have genuine musical significance. Once our minds establish pathways for understanding, it becomes difficult to alter our perception. Individuals who immerse themselves in music, learning songs and moving artfully to the steady beat, are better positioned to grasp musical notation and instrument playing later. Learning an instrument initially by ear, and then transitioning to reading notation, effectively enhances both skills. On the other hand, those who exclusively learn through notation without prior musical readiness may struggle to develop ear-playing abilities because they learned from a mathematical/linguistic lens first.
  2. Cultural Literacy: Embracing Musical Traditions Classical homeschooling values cultural literacy and historical understanding. Through exploring a wide variety of musical traditions, students gain insights into different cultures and time periods as well as various life experiences and perspectives. As Charlotte Mason said, "The child should be made familiar with and should be made to appreciate good music." This exposure enriches their educational journey and broadens their horizons.
  3. Emotional Intelligence: Music as a Tool for Growth Music plays a vital role in developing emotional intelligence within classical homeschooling. By engaging musically, students learn to recognize and manage their emotions. They learn and remember through stories set to music what they may not as easily otherwise. And instrumental music without words has a key role to play as well. As Charlotte Mason believed, "Music is one of the most forcible instruments for refining the feelings." This aspect of education fosters empathy, social-emotional growth, and self-awareness.
  4. Discipline and Perseverance: Building Habits through Music Learning to play a musical instrument requires discipline and perseverance, values cherished by Charlotte Mason homeschoolers. Through regular practice and overcoming challenges, students develop habits of diligence and self-mastery that extend beyond music into all areas of their lives.
  5. Creative Expression: Nurturing Individuality through Music In Charlotte Mason classical homeschooling, students are encouraged to express their creativity in learning. Music provides a platform for this expression, allowing students to compose, improvise, and interpret music in unique ways. By embracing their musical instincts, students become active participants in their artistic development.
  6. Community and Collaboration: Music's Role in Connection Music fosters community and collaboration, whether a child is singing with a group of people, learning turn-taking while playing instruments, or listening as a part of an audience to a collective performance. Students bond over their shared love of music. This sense of camaraderie strengthens relationships and promotes cooperation among peers.

    In classical homeschooling, music education plays a pivotal role in enriching the educational experience. From cognitive development to emotional intelligence, music offers practical benefits and meaningful engagement with the world around them both present and past. By integrating music into the curriculum, educators empower students to excel academically and cultivate a lifelong appreciation for the arts. As Charlotte Mason believed, "The musical education of the child should be begun early; that is, the child should have begun to play and sing almost as soon as he can speak." Let us embrace the transformative power of music in classical education, guiding children on a journey of discovery and growth.

From Notes to Novels: Exploring Literary Connections through Music

From Notes to Novels: Exploring Literary Connections through Music
In the realm of artistic expression, the convergence of literature and music unveils a captivating tapestry of interconnectedness. This not only enriches both mediums but also provides a deeply immersive experience for audiences. Let's embark on a journey to uncover the intriguing connections between literature and music, exploring how they intertwine!

  1. The Language of Emotion: Literature and music serve as languages of emotion, each possessing the ability to evoke profound feelings and experiences. Just as a well-crafted novel transports readers to different realms of emotion, a beautifully composed piece of music has the power to stir the soul. Take, for instance, Ludwig van Beethoven's Symphony No. 9, whose triumphant finale, featuring Friedrich Schiller's "Ode to Joy," transcends language barriers to convey a universal message of joy and unity.
  2. Musical Storytelling: Music has a narrative quality that complements the storytelling prowess of literature. Composers often draw inspiration from literary works to create musical narratives that captivate audiences. An exemplary illustration is Sergei Prokofiev's "Romeo and Juliet," a ballet score that brings Shakespeare's timeless tale to life through emotive melodies and evocative orchestration.
  3. Inspired Creations: Literary masterpieces have long inspired composers to create enduring works of music. One such example is Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky's "1812 Overture," which commemorates Russia's victory over Napoleon's army and draws inspiration from Leo Tolstoy's "War and Peace." Conversely, authors have also drawn inspiration from music, as seen in Virginia Woolf's novel "To the Lighthouse," where classical music serves as a central motif, shaping the characters' emotions and experiences.
  4. Shared Themes and Motifs: Themes such as love, loss, and redemption resonate deeply across both literature and music. Consider Gustav Mahler's Symphony No. 5, which navigates themes of love and mortality with poignant intensity, mirroring the emotional depth found in literary classics like Leo Tolstoy's "Anna Karenina." These shared themes serve as a bridge between the two art forms, enriching the human experience through their universal resonance.
  5. Collaborative Projects: Collaborative ventures between writers and musicians offer innovative ways to explore the intersection of literature and music. One notable example is Philip Glass's opera "Einstein on the Beach," a groundbreaking collaboration with playwright Robert Wilson that pushes the boundaries of traditional opera by incorporating minimalist music and non-linear storytelling.
The interplay between literature and music unveils a world of boundless creativity and inspiration. Through evocative storytelling, shared themes, and collaborative endeavors, these two art forms can converge to create immersive experiences that resonate deeply with audiences. So, the next time you delve into a novel or immerse yourself in a musical composition, take a moment to appreciate the intricate connections between notes and novels, and the enchanting magic that unfolds when they harmonize.

More Hidden Musical Gems: 5 More Lesser-Known Composers Homeschooling Parents Should Know

More Hidden Musical Gems: 5 More Lesser-Known Composers Homeschooling Parents Should Know
Continuing our exploration of lesser-known classical composers, we embark on another journey of musical discovery, uncovering hidden gems that enrich the homeschooling curriculum with diverse sounds and stories. While the names of Bach, Mozart, and Beethoven (to name a few) resonate throughout history, these composers, though less celebrated, have made significant contributions to the world of classical music. Here are five more composers every homeschooling parent should introduce to their children, expanding their horizons and nurturing their appreciation for the arts. If you're interested in learning more about these composers (including resources for use with your children), check out The Classical Collective Membership!

1. Louise Farrenc (1804-1875)
Louise Farrenc was a pioneering French composer, virtuoso pianist, and influential music educator whose works showcase a mastery of form, melody, and expression. Despite facing gender-based discrimination in the male-dominated music world of the 19th century, Farrenc's compositions earned her acclaim and respect among her peers. Farrenc's chamber music, symphonies, and piano works highlight her innovative use of classical forms and her bold harmonic language. Explore Farrenc's advocacy for gender equality in music education and her lasting impact as a composer and pedagogue.

2. William Grant Still (1895-1978)
William Grant Still was a pioneering African-American composer whose music defied racial barriers and stereotypes to embrace a diverse range of styles and influences. Often referred to as the "Dean of African-American composers," Still's compositions blend elements of jazz, blues, spirituals, and classical tradition, creating a rich and vibrant musical tapestry. Introduce your children to Still's orchestral suites, operas, and chamber works, exploring themes of identity, heritage, and social justice. Discuss Still's groundbreaking achievements as the first African-American composer to have a symphony performed by a major orchestra and his enduring legacy as a trailblazer for diversity in classical music.

3. Ethel Smyth (1858-1944)
Ethel Smyth was a pioneering English composer, suffragist, and writer whose music and activism left an indelible mark on British cultural history. Smyth's compositions encompass a wide range of genres, from operas and chamber music to choral works and symphonies. Introduce your homeschoolers to Smyth's operas, including "The Wreckers" and "Der Wald," which showcase her dramatic flair, lyrical melodies, and feminist themes. Explore Smyth's role as a leading figure in the suffragette movement, using her music as a vehicle for social change and women's rights.

4. Joaquín Rodrigo (1901-1999)
Joaquín Rodrigo was a Spanish composer whose music captured the spirit and beauty of his native land, blending Spanish folk melodies with classical forms and techniques. Despite losing his sight at an early age, Rodrigo's compositions are marked by their vibrant colors, evocative harmonies, and lyrical melodies. Introduce your children to Rodrigo's guitar concertos, such as the famous "Concierto de Aranjuez," which showcase his mastery of the instrument and his deep connection to Spanish musical traditions. Learn about Rodrigo's life story, his collaborations with renowned guitarists, and his enduring legacy as one of the most beloved composers of the 20th century.

5. Rebecca Clarke (1886-1979)
Rebecca Clarke was a pioneering British composer and violist whose music defied norms and conventions to achieve recognition and acclaim. Clarke's compositions blend elements of Romanticism, Impressionism, and modernism, creating a distinctive and expressive musical language. Introduce your homeschoolers to Clarke's chamber music, including her hauntingly beautiful viola sonata and piano trio, which showcase her lyrical melodies, lush harmonies, and inventive structures. Discuss Clarke's struggles for recognition in a male-dominated field, her contributions to the repertoire for viola, and her lasting impact on 20th-century music.

By introducing your children to these five lesser-known classical composers, you can open the door to a world of musical discovery, cultural enrichment, and artistic inspiration. Embrace the diversity of voices and stories that enrich the tapestry of classical music, fostering curiosity, empathy, and creativity in your homeschoolers. So, embark on a journey of exploration and celebration, uncovering hidden gems that will illuminate your homeschool curriculum and leave a lasting impression on your family for generations to come. If you're interested in learning more about these composers and others, check out The Classical Collective Membership!

6 Expert Tips for Teaching Music at Home with Confidence

6 Expert Tips for Teaching Music at Home with Confidence
In the realm of home education, teaching music can feel like a daunting task, especially for moms who may not consider themselves musically inclined. However, with the right approach, any parent can become an effective music teacher for their kids. If you're a mom who feels like her kids are more musically inclined than you are, fear not!

Here are six expert tips to help you navigate the world of music education at home with confidence (from a music teacher mama):

  1. Embrace Your Role as a Guide: Your musical journey with your children begins by understanding that you don't need to be a virtuoso. Think of yourself as a guide, introducing your children to the world of music, helping them explore different genres and exposing them to new songs, providing support and encouragement and showing them you are learning along the way with them.
  2. Start with the Basics: Begin by laying a solid foundation in music theory, covering essential elements such as rhythm, melody, and harmony. Engage your children with interactive games, fun songs, and hands-on activities to make learning enjoyable and effective. Don't know where to begin with that? Check out the Classical Collective Membership for resources.
  3. Make Use of Resources: Leverage the wealth of resources available online to support music education at home. From interactive tutorials and educational apps to lessons and community music groups, there's something for every age and skill level. These resources can enrich your children's learning experience and provide valuable support for you as a parent-teacher.
  4. Encourage Creativity: Nurture your children's creative expression through music by encouraging them to compose their own songs, experiment with different instruments, and even craft homemade musical instruments from household items. Emphasize the joy of exploration and self-expression, fostering a love for music that goes beyond rote learning.
  5. Lead by Example: Set a positive example for your children by actively engaging with music in your daily life, showing them you are also a lifelong learner! Listen to a variety of musical genres together, sing and dance, read them songtales, attend live performances, and demonstrate that music is something to be enjoyed and celebrated as a family together.
  6. Be Patient and Persistent: Above all, remember that learning music is a journey that requires patience and persistence. Celebrate your children's progress, no matter how small, and encourage them to persevere through challenges. By fostering a supportive and nurturing environment, you can inspire a lifelong passion for music in your children.

    Teaching music at home can be a rewarding experience for both you and your children, regardless of your musical background. By embracing your role as a guide, starting with the basics, utilizing resources, encouraging creativity, leading by example, and maintaining patience and persistence, you can instill a lifelong love of music in your children and grow your own skill and confidence along the way. So, don't hesitate to start this musical adventure together and discover the joy of making music at home!

Exploring Hidden Gems: 5 Lesser-Known Composers Every Homeschooling Parent Should Know

Exploring Hidden Gems: 5 Lesser-Known Composers Every Homeschooling Parent Should Know
As homeschooling parents, one of the joys of educating our children is the opportunity to explore lesser-known facets of history, culture, and the arts. While the works of Bach, Mozart, Beethoven, Tchaikovsky, and Strauss (to name a few famous composers) are undeniably influential, there exists a treasure trove of lesser-known classical composers whose contributions are equally deserving of recognition. Here, we touch briefly on the lives and music of five hidden gems that every homeschooling parent should discover, enriching their children's educational journey with diverse sounds and stories. If you're interested in learning more about these composers and others, check out The Classical Collective Membership!

1. Clara Schumann (1819-1896)
Clara Schumann was not only a virtuoso pianist but also a gifted composer whose works are celebrated for their emotional depth and technical brilliance. As one of the most distinguished pianists of the Romantic era, Clara's compositions offer a window into her inner world, marked by passion, longing, and resilience. Introduce your children to Clara's piano music, including her charming character pieces and poignant lieder compositions. Explore Clara's remarkable life as a pioneering female artist, navigating the challenges of love, motherhood, and artistic fulfillment in a male-dominated world.

2. Florence Price (1887-1953)
Florence Price was a trailblazing African-American composer whose music defied racial barriers and prejudice to leave an indelible mark on American classical music. Price's compositions blend elements of African-American spirituals, jazz, and European classical tradition, creating a unique and vibrant musical tapestry. Price's symphonies, piano concertos, and chamber music explore themes of identity, heritage, and social justice. Discuss Price's groundbreaking achievements as the first African-American woman to have her music performed by a major symphony orchestra, inspiring future generations of composers and performers.

3. Fanny Mendelssohn (1805-1847)
Fanny Mendelssohn, the older sister of Felix Mendelssohn, was a remarkably talented composer whose gifts were overshadowed by the societal constraints placed on women in the 19th century. Despite facing obstacles to her musical career, Fanny left behind a wealth of exquisite compositions that deserve recognition and appreciation. Introduce your homeschoolers to Fanny's piano music, chamber works, and choral compositions, revealing her lyrical melodies, harmonic richness, and emotional depth. Explore Fanny's complex relationship with her family, her struggles for recognition as a composer, and her enduring legacy as a pioneer for women in music.

4. Amy Beach (1867-1944)
Amy Beach was a pioneering American composer whose music reflects the spirit of her time while breaking new ground in form and expression. As one of the first American women to achieve widespread recognition as a composer, Beach's works encompass a wide range of genres, from symphonic tone poems to intimate chamber music. Introduce your children to Beach's piano music, songs, and orchestral compositions, immersing them in her lush harmonies, evocative melodies, and inventive structures. Discuss Beach's role as a trailblazer for women in music and her contributions to the American classical tradition, inspiring future generations of composers and performers.

5. Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov (1844-1908)
Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov was a Russian composer whose vivid orchestration, exotic harmonies, and evocative storytelling captivated audiences around the world. While Rimsky-Korsakov is known for his orchestral showpieces like "Scheherazade" and "Capriccio Espagnol," his contributions to Russian opera are equally noteworthy. Rimsky-Korsakov's operas highlight tales of magic, adventure, and folklore that showcase his mastery of melody and orchestral color. Discuss Rimsky-Korsakov's role in the Russian nationalist movement and his influence on subsequent generations of composers, shaping the course of future Russian classical music.

By introducing your children to these five lesser-known classical composers, you open the door to a world of musical discovery, cultural enrichment, and artistic inspiration. Embrace the diversity of voices and stories that enrich the tapestry of classical music, fostering curiosity, empathy, and creativity where otherwise you may not have heard of these fascinating musicians. And if you're interested in learning more about these composers and other lesser-known musicians, check out The Classical Collective Membership!

10 Creative Ways to Integrate Music into Classical Homeschooling

10 Creative Ways to Integrate Music into Classical Homeschooling
In the realm of classical homeschooling, music holds a special place. From fostering creativity to enhancing cognitive development, the incorporation of music into your daily life and homeschool can enrich your and your child(ren)'s experience in countless ways. If you're looking for fresh and inventive ideas to infuse music into your classical homeschooling routine, here's a few ideas that work for my family and the families I guide! 

10 creative ways to integrate music into your homeschooling journey:

1. Composer Study Sessions: Delve into the lives and works of classical composers through biographies and musical contributions. Choose engaging narratives that bring composers to life and encourage your children to narrate back their life story and what they've learned in their own words.

2. Musical Storytime: Select classic children's books with musical themes or adaptations of famous musical compositions or folk songs. Encourage your children to narrate their understanding of the stories and discuss the emotions evoked by the music and how it helps tell the story.

3. DIY Instrument Making: Engage in hands-on exploration by crafting simple musical instruments. Encourage your children describe the sounds produced by their homemade instruments and the principles of sound they've discovered. You could even connect it to a book you're reading by acting out part of the story using vocal and instrument sounds with what you created!

4. Music and Movement: Integrate music into physical education by exploring the connection between music and movement. Encourage your children to express themselves and the various elements of what they are listening to through movement while listening to a wide variety of styles and genres of music. This DVD gives some great examples!

5. Historical Music Exploration: Explore different historical periods through books that show the cultural and musical developments of each era and how they are connected. Encourage narration as your children retell the stories of how historical events influenced musical styles and composers. Create a Book of Centuries (or timeline journal) and encourage your children to add the composers and musical time periods and eras to it as they learn.

6. Virtual & In-Person Concert Field Trips: Take virtual field trips (or live ones!) to concerts, operas, or musical performances around the world -- beforehand, provide context and background information. Encourage your children to narrate their impressions of the performances and discuss the elements that stood out to them afterwards.

7. Music Journaling: Encourage your children to keep a music journal where they can write or draw their impressions of various pieces of music. Ask them to describe how the music makes them feel or what imagery it invokes in their minds.

8. Collaborative Music Projects: Foster teamwork and creativity by organizing collaborative music projects. Encourage your children to compose their own songs, create musical arrangements, or even form a family band. Emphasize the importance of communication and the value of working together and compromise (if needed) in the creative process.

9. Music in Language Arts: Integrate music into language arts studies by exploring the intersection of music and literature. Analyze song lyrics as poetry, explore the use of symbolism in music, or even try your hand at writing song lyrics inspired by literary works.

10. Music Appreciation Picnics: Take your lesson outdoors with music appreciation picnics. Pack a basket of snacks, a blanket, and your favorite music selections, classical selections are fun to do this way. Enjoy listening to music (and add in the movement!) while discussing your favorite compositions and composers.

Do you have any creative ways to integrate music into your homeschooling or daily routines? Share your ideas in the comments below!

Intrigued by some of the ideas above, but don't know where to begin? Simple systems of how to implement these and much more will be included in the Classical Collective Membership! Sign up here to learn more and for pre-launch sale details.

The Importance of Introducing Children to Rich and Wholesome Music or "Living Songs"

The Importance of Introducing Children to Rich and Wholesome Music or "Living Songs"
When teaching our children (especially in classical education or charlotte mason methods), we often emphasize the importance of exposing them to rich literature from an early age. We recognize the profound impact that books can have on their development, nurturing their imagination, and expanding their worldview. However, just as literature holds a special place in a child's intellectual diet, so too does music play a crucial role in shaping their hearts and minds.

In the words of Charlotte Mason (found in this book), "to introduce children to literature is to install them in a very rich and glorious kingdom." Similarly, introducing children to rich and wholesome songs can open the doors to a world of beauty, inspiration, and cultural richness. Just as we carefully select books that reflect our values and ideals, what's often called living books, we should be mindful of the songs we choose to share with our children.

Children's interaction with music should begin from the earliest moments of their lives. Just as we surround them with books, we can surround them with music that is uplifting, meaningful, has a beautiful melody and accompaniment or a cappella, and enriching. From lullabies sung in the cradle to nursery rhymes and folk songs, every musical encounter shapes a child's understanding of the world around them.

The benefits of exposing children to rich and wholesome songs are manifold. Firstly, music has the power to evoke emotions and stir the soul in ways that words alone cannot. Through songs, children learn about love, joy, sadness, and resilience. They develop empathy and compassion as they empathize with the characters and stories woven into the fabric of each melody.

Singing rich and wholesome songs also cultivates a sense of community and belonging. Whether singing with family members, friends, or classmates, children experience the joy of shared expression and collective harmony. In a world often fragmented by differences and the loneliness of technology, music has the unique ability to unite us across cultural, linguistic, and social divides.

Exposure to a diverse repertoire of songs introduces children to different musical styles, traditions, and cultures. Just as we encourage them to explore the vast expanse of literature, we should encourage them to explore the rich tapestry of musical heritage from around the world. From classical masterpieces to traditional folk tunes, from spirituals to contemporary compositions, each song offers a unique window into the human experience.

In a society where children are bombarded with commercialized and often superficial music geared specifically to children, it is more important than ever to curate a musical environment that nourishes their hearts and minds. As parents and parent-teachers, we have a responsibility to provide children with the tools they need to navigate the world with wisdom, integrity, and compassion. By singing rich and wholesome songs, we can instill in them a love of beauty, a reverence for truth, and a deep appreciation for the realities of humanity.

Just as Charlotte Mason advocated for the importance of introducing children to literature from a young age, so too should we prioritize the introduction of rich and wholesome music into their lives. Music has the power to inspire, uplift, and transform, and by singing together, we can create a more harmonious and compassionate world and thoughtful human beings for generations to come.

Find this helpful but don't know where to start? Stay tuned for some more great training coming down the pipeline! Sign up for updates here.

A Quick Tutorial on Teaching Sight Singing & Ear Training in as Little as 5 Minutes Per Day

A Quick Tutorial on Teaching Sight Singing & Ear Training in as Little as 5 Minutes Per Day
Sight Singing and Ear Training are fundamental skills in music education. Most colleges teach it over the course of a few different classes, and many people view it as skills you can't teach until middle school or later... but I love teaching these skills to students as young as 2nd grade (who are already tuneful, beatful, and artful!) in as little as 5 minutes per day. It can be done well and creatively so that students experience it in a joyful, fun way.

Sight singing is the ability to read and sing a piece of music at first sight without having heard it before. It involves translating the written musical notation into vocal sounds. This ideally is done AFTER having some foundational skills built first, namely ear training skills.

Skills Involved:
  1. Note Recognition: The ability to identify and sing the correct pitches indicated in the musical score.
  2. Rhythm Recognition: Being able to interpret and execute the rhythm of a piece accurately.
  3. Interval Recognition: Recognizing the distance between two pitches, which helps in accurately reproducing melodies.
  4. Key and Scale Recognition: Understanding the key signature and scale of a piece, which guides the performer on which notes to sing.
  5. Phrasing and Articulation: Interpreting the musical notation to convey musical expression, including dynamics, tempo, and articulation.

Ear training, also known as aural skills, involves developing the ability to identify and reproduce musical elements solely by hearing them. This includes melody, harmony, rhythm, and timbre. My goal is always to develop the musical ear before the musical eye.

Skills Involved:
  1. Pitch Recognition: Identifying individual pitches and intervals between them.
  2. Melodic Dictation: Hearing a melody and writing it down in musical notation.
  3. Harmonic Analysis: Recognizing and identifying chords and chord progressions in a musical piece.
  4. Rhythmic Dictation: Hearing a rhythm and notating it accurately.
  5. Chord Progression Recognition: Identifying the sequence of chords in a piece of music.
  6. Transcription: Listening to a piece of music and notating it in sheet music form.
Both ear training and sight singing are essential for any musician who wants to perform, compose, or arrange music. It enables musicians to effectively communicate and collaborate with others. Musicians with strong sight singing and ear training skills can adapt to various musical styles and genres. These skills empower musicians to improvise and create their own music. It hones the ability to critically analyze and appreciate music. Both sight singing and ear training are skills that can be developed and honed through consistent practice and training. They are vital components of a well-rounded musical education.

Conversational Solfege is a system of 12 steps that addresses these needs first by ear and then adding the eye and symbols to it to develop a person's musical mind and musical thinking in a playful, creative way!

To learn more about Conversational Solfege, check it out here. And here are the flash cards I use that go with the CS units. I'm happy to chat more about CS as well, it's a passion of mine to use this well-created resource to help develop young musicians.

12 Benefits of Teaching Music to Toddlers

Teaching music to toddlers is incredibly beneficial for their overall development.
Here are several reasons why (if you're a parent or a music teacher, read on!):

1. Cognitive Development: 
   - Enhances Memory and Recall: Learning music involves memorizing patterns, melodies, and lyrics, which helps improve memory skills.
   - Develops Problem-Solving Skills: Figuring out rhythms, notes, and melodies encourages analytical thinking and problem-solving.

2. Language Development:
   - Expands Vocabulary: Through song lyrics, toddlers are exposed to a wider range of words and phrases.
   - Improves Pronunciation: Singing helps with speech development, enunciation, and pronunciation.
   - There's research that shows that being able to keep a steady beat actually helps with language development and future reading skills!

3. Motor Skills:
   - Fine Motor Skills: Playing instruments like drums, xylophones, or even simple hand clapping exercises fine motor skills.
   - Gross Motor Skills: Dancing and moving to music helps with coordination and balance. Crossing midline is very important for future motor planning, which clapping and other movements that are musical can help with (like keeping the beat activities I use with my early childhood classes!).

4. Emotional Expression:
   - Encourages Emotional Expression: Music provides an outlet for children to express their feelings, which can be particularly helpful for those who may not have the verbal skills to do so.
   - Music can help calm a worried or sad child.

5. Social Skills:
   - Promotes Cooperation: Group activities like singing in a choir or playing in an ensemble teach children how to work together towards a common goal. It teaches them how to start together with a group and builds teamwork.
   - Encourages Communication: Sharing musical experiences encourages interaction and communication among peers.

6. Mathematical Understanding:
   - Introduces Basic Math Concepts: Rhythm and beat introduce foundational mathematical concepts like counting, patterns, and divisions of time.

7. Cultural Appreciation:
   - Introduces Diversity: Music exposes toddlers to different cultures, traditions, and musical styles from around the world, fostering cultural appreciation and understanding.

8. Creativity and Imagination:
   - Fosters Creativity: Music allows for self-expression and encourages creativity as toddlers experiment with sounds and melodies.
   - Stimulates Imagination: Singing and playing with instruments can stimulate imaginative play. Arioso (a type of solo singing I use in my classes) is a great place to show this!).

9. Boosts Confidence and Self-Esteem:
   - Positive Reinforcement: Learning and performing music in front of an audience can boost a child's confidence and self-esteem. I have seen SO many students grow in this area in my time with them.

10. Stress Reduction and Relaxation:
    - Emotional Regulation: Music can have a calming effect, helping toddlers manage stress and anxiety. They can process sadness or learn to wait through songs too.

11. Foundation for Future Learning:
    - Prepares for Formal Education: Early exposure to music can provide a strong foundation for future music education and learning other subjects.

12. Enjoyment and Fun:
    - Promotes Happiness: Music is inherently enjoyable and brings joy to children's lives.

It's important to note that the benefits of teaching music to toddlers are maximized when it's approached in a fun, age-appropriate, and engaging way. Activities should be adapted to suit their developmental stage and interests, and should never feel like a chore. Ultimately, music offers a holistic approach to early childhood development, nurturing cognitive, emotional, and social skills in an enjoyable and enriching way.

If you're a parent looking to find classes for your toddler or baby, check out my offerings on my website menu above!

Can I teach music without a degree?

Can I teach music without a degree?
Can I teach music without a degree?

This is a great question! The very short answer is YES.

The long answer requires asking some more questions, such as...

  • Are you referring to having no music degree or to having any undergraduate degree?
  • What setting are you wanting to teach in?
  • What kind of music are you wanting to teach?
  • What time of day are you wanting to teach?
  • What type of students are you wanting to teach?
  • What background knowledge to do already have as credentials?
These are some of the first questions you'd need to answer in order to answer the initial question. For example, I teach a few homeschool choirs (which are bursting at the seams, I almost need to start another one to keep up with the demand!). I have a music education degree, but would not need to have a degree in order to conduct these choirs. I do have some experience and great classroom management techniques as well in order to be successful at managing large groups of elementary through high school age singers in a choral context. So depending on your background knowledge and experience, that may be more important than the degree itself in being able to do the work successfully.

What time of day and type of students are you wanting to teach? If you want to teach private lessons and do that full-time, you will likely need to have evening and weekend availability, something that I myself did not want for my family and work rhythms. I only teach a handful of private lessons for this reason, and currently most of my private students are homeschooled so that they are available during the daytime hours for their lessons.


Hopefully considering a few of these factors helps in answering the question, "Can I teach music without a degree?" for you. If this was valuable and you'd like more guidance in considering these options as you want to start a music business, I offer coaching for those wanting to begin in either a part-time or full-time capacity (my own business is part-time hours but the income is full-time level due to how I've structured it). And we have a support group with resources for those interested which you can find here too!

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