Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Home Schooling Week: Music

My kids don't take music lessons yet.  It is something I'd like them to do, but we haven't gotten there. I didn't take music lessons until high school when I took guitar.  We could not afford music lessons when I was little, and truthfully, I don't know how interested I was.
But by high school I wanted to learn to play guitar so I could play worship songs at church and youth group.  I bought my own guitar and paid for half my lessons with my babysitting money.  I appreciated those lessons a lot because I had a personal investment. And while I was never very good, playing guitar was something that brought me a lot of pleasure and I was able to use a lot on mission trips and while leading Bible studies, VBS, Sunday school and discipleship groups.

It is my hope my kids will want to play an instrument one day like I did.  In order to build in them a love of music, I try to let them experience many different types of music.  We listen to a very broad range and try to "feel" the differences.  At this point, our musical experience is pretty informal.  Mostly I want them to enjoy it, have fun and begin to hear and recognize the differences in the kinds of music we listen to.  

Here we were listening to the great jazz station, 88.1, and playing along.  The song had a distinctive beat and the kids picked up on it easily.  It made us want to play drums.

After that, James wanted to draw some musical notes.  Sadly, I don't remember enough about reading music to teach him how to read music, but recognizing the notes is a good place to start.  There is nothing like teaching your kids to make you realize how much there is to learn and how much you want to learn it.
Maybe when they start music lessons, I will too.

After jazz and musical notes, we listened to the sound track from Star Wars.  The kids could feel the difference in the music immediately.  The music roused them and made them want to march.

One look at William's face and you can see he is feeling the power of Darth Vader's song.

Even Lilly was feeling it.

Simply by listening to music and sometimes pointing out things about a certain kind of music that makes it distinctive, the kids are beginning to develop an ear for music, just like I hoped they would.
One day while driving, we were listening to the classical station.  Music from John William's ET came on.  As the boys listened to it, they said, "this sounds like Luke's song."  
They were right, it did.  And since it was by the same composer, there was a reason it sounded alike.  

Sometimes our music "class: looks like this.  We spend a chunk of time listening to different music and interacting with it.  But other times, our musical education just happens while we live life.  (are you noticing a theme here?) 

We often listen to classical music in the car because usually by the time we get in the car I am a bit (or a lot) frazzled and classical music soothes me.  I find it does for the kids too.
We love Johnny Cash (they love the song about John Henry) and Elvis.
We like to listen to hymns, especially the ones we are memorizing.
We like to listen to blue grass to hear the fiddle, like Pa played to Laura and Mary.
They love to dance to the Beach Boys and the "Mr. Roboto" song.
We like Glenn Miller and the music of the big bands.
We like old jazz.  I am not a fan of much modern jazz.
We also love old country music--like from the 40s and 50s.

For a while Lilly wanted to listen to "Big Rock Candy Mountain" from the O Brother Where Art Thou soundtrack every time we got into the car.
It was pretty funny to hear my 2, 4 and 6 year old singing, "there's a lake of stew and of whiskey too, you can paddle all around it in a big canoe, on the Big Rock Candy Mountain."
But they also learned a lot of history from that song.  It spawned conversations about the men riding the rails, the Great Depression and what it was like in our country at that time.

That is one of the reasons I am trying to expose them to such a variety of music.  Besides enjoying it for its own sake, we can learn and connect to history through music.
And, not to offend and Radio Disney lovers out there, but if they were just listening to those songs, I'm afraid I'd be raising kids with a very limited musical palate.
And that would really bum me out.

Hope your day is filled with beautiful music.  Whatever kind it is that you like best.
Love from,


valerie said...

hi greta, I will listen for my muswic today despite the dreary weather....and your little Lilly...her hair is getting so long! They are adorable. Love that you did music lessons to Star Wars!

Anonymous said...


Lisa said...

the 5 lines of the musical staff are egbdf (every good boy does fine) so notes on the lines are those notes and the spaces spell face.

Oh, the e is at the bottom of the staff.
we listen to a wide variety of music as well...but not the popular commercial stuff...88.1 is an awesome station. Years ago NPR ran a bunch of music programs like Saturday's Folk and music from Brittany(Fr) and Ireland. I really miss it.
Have a great day!!