Music has been a part of our lives for as long as I can remember. I grew up playing the piano at home and French horn at school. My parents both sang and I remember many times where my mom would play the piano, my dad would play the guitar, and we would all sing. One of my favorite songs from those sing alongs is Four Strong Winds. Just something that has stuck with me.
At Home Dad also grew up surrounded by music. He played clarinet and then trumpet. He still plays trumpet for the Honor Guard at work. He plays the guitar around the house.
We bring music into our girls education as much as we can, though we still don’t do it as often or as consistently as we should. Especially considering the music degrees that are held in this house. 🙂 But we try. How? Well, I thought I would just share some of those options and maybe get your own ideas flowing or encourage you to bring music into your home.
1 Play an instrument. – Whether it is you or the kids, bring in instruments. They can be as simple as shakers or wood blocks or as elaborate as a hammered dulcimer or a piano. Just have some musical instruments around. It encourages exploration with music. And you can learn simple things about music, such as dynamics (loud and quiet) or tempos (fast and slow), with them.
2 Get some CDs. – These can be any type of music that you enjoy but I highly recommend you have a variety of styles. We have everything from early music (1100s) to some of the popular musicians of today. We have folk music and cultural music from around the world. We have hymns and we have children’s songs. We have rock and we have jazz. We even have some instructional CDs that help students learn to identify instruments by sound or work through program music (such as the Maestro Classics). Listen to them. You can do it intentionally or you can just have it as back ground music. Just have it going.
3 Sing together. – Yes, sing. You don’t have to have a majestic voice to raise a joyful noise. Sing songs from your childhood. Sing along with the radio. Personally, we sing hymns most every day of the week. We have also been singing rounds with the girls this year each morning. We have used Diana Waring’s music and history CDs some this year and sung along with those.
4 Tie it into your studies. – If you read something in a book or a lesson that brings a song or a type of music to mind, pull it out and listen or sing. Don’t miss the opportunity. The Little House books are a great example of opportunities for this. Look up the mentioned songs on the computer if you don’t have them in the house. History lessons present wonderful opportunities to tie music into something else you are studying and the music often reflected the times in which it was created.
5 Go on a field trip. – Often, there are many opportunities for field trips related to music. Do you have an orchestra somewhere within an hour or two? They often do an educational concert in the fall or spring where the tickets are relatively inexpensive. We have opportunities for this with the Waco Symphony, the Dallas Symphony, and the Fort Worth Symphony, just to name a couple. We have only gone once, I think, but it is a great option. We also have a community college and a major university here. We can go see free concerts from a variety of ensembles – choirs, bands, orchestras, and even early music ensembles. They also have inexpensive productions of musicals and operas and theater productions that we can go see. You might even have opportunity to visit an instrument zoo or something along those lines at a library, particularly during the summer.
A big part of including music in your education is to just make it simple. Keep it easy and don’t stress over it. Especially in the younger years, it doesn’t have to be a big formal thing. Enjoy it and have fun. Do dances (Pop Goes the Weasel is a fabulous one!) and listen to music. Try out simple instrument, even make your own. Just find the joy in music.
Lori, At Home.
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