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.

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!

Hunt, Gather, Parent Book Review: A Christian Mom's Perspective

Hunt, Gather, Parent Book Review: A Christian Mom's Perspective
As a Christian mom, "Hunt, Gather, Parent" by Michaeleen Doucleff struck a chord with my values rooted in Christian teachings. The book takes readers on a journey across cultures and time, introducing parenting strategies that align surprisingly pretty well, for the most part, with biblical principles. One of the key takeaways for me was the emphasis on emotional control, where parents model the art of regulating emotions to reduce tantrums in children. This resonates deeply with the biblical concept of patience and self-control, virtues we aim to instill in our little ones (by the Holy Spirit's help as parents and hopefully also for our children one day).

Doucleff's exploration of autonomy and allowing children to safely navigate risks also resonates with the Christian belief in empowering our children while providing guidance. The book encourages a delicate balance between granting autonomy and ensuring a safe space for exploration, mirroring the Christian approach to guiding our children towards responsible decision-making within the framework of faith. The idea of valuing children's and adults' attention and honoring them by not interrupting or distracting makes a lot of sense.

The emphasis on motivating children without resorting to bribes or threats aligns with the Christian value of nurturing intrinsic motivation and a sense of duty. It reminded me of biblical teachings on the importance of cultivating a generous and helpful spirit in our children, encouraging them to contribute positively to their communities. Along with this, she talks about praise and the issues it can create for children. I liked that she talks about lowering the amount of praise from parents. Giving thoughtful feedback or pointing out their maturity to benefit children is more work for parents, but so much more motivational.

I also really liked the emphasis on community and family -- parents and grandparents and aunts and uncles all invested in the children together, training them up in helpfulness (seeing a need and meeting it), taking care of younger siblings, and choosing activities that all members of the family participate in rather than child-centered activities (which she defines as activities we would only do if we had a child to take vs an activity we'd do regardless of if a child was along).

One point where my perspective differed was in the notion of not disciplining at all and allowing children to hit you (for example) without any response, ignoring it. As a Christian parent, I believe in the importance of loving discipline as Scripture says. Yet, the book's emphasis on controlling one's own frustration before addressing a child's behavior resonated strongly. This aligns perfectly with what the Bible warns about avoiding the pitfalls of disciplining in anger.

"Hunt, Gather, Parent" not only provides practical strategies and tools for our parenting, but also prompts reflective consideration of our own behaviors as parents. The insights gleaned from diverse cultures serve as a valuable complement to Western parenting principles, offering a broader perspective on raising considerate, responsible, and compassionate children. This book serves as a helpful resource, inviting parents to explore alternative approaches to parenting than the typical Western approach.