Homeschool music will always be a priority in our homeschool schedule. My husband, who works from home, is an electronic music producer. So our lives basically have a pretty rad soundtrack. We all love music and we (the parents) both secretly hope that our kids will someday have the chance to make music in some way.
Why Homeschool Music?
Music and learning music have so many benefits. And I therefore feel that homeschool music is a must in any homeschool curriculum. Kids get to learn rhythm and patience, to exercise their memories and to express themselves creatively, to name a few of the great perks. And maybe they will even gain a skill that can provide a career in the future.
Homeschool Music and Special Needs
My special needs twins have a strange relationship to music. I believe that music inspires very rich and deep emotions in them. Singing Happy Birthday or hearing a poignant piece of music in a film can make them cry. Yet certain other songs engage and excite them or even calm them down. They enjoy intricate pieces of music. And also appreciate witty and interesting lyrics and voices. My husband has an extremely eclectic taste so my boys listen to so many different genres.
And let’s not forget the singing. This is something that they have the weirdest relationship with. They sing constantly but refuse to take part in any group singing. At school they don’t take part or even attend concerts because they get overwhelmed. And I think this is a crying shame. And it’s another reason why we want to homeschool them from next year. We want to expose them to music in a safe and calm environment.
Our First Homeschool Music Attempt
As we get closer to the end of the year, I’m trying out many different types of homeschool lessons and activities. This is so that I’m prepared for next year and our first homeschooling year. Music will definitely be a part of this year. This is how our first lesson went:
Prepping the Boys
As with everything, preparation is so important. They need to feel safe and secure in the routine of their lives. So I started prepping them early in the day, as per our usual way. We also started slowly and quietly singing Baa Baa Black Sheep, as this is is what we were going to try and teach them to play. As I mentioned above, singing can sometimes upset them so it had to be gentle.
Engaging the Boys
I placed dinosaur stickers on an octave of my husband’s keyboard. I started and ended with the same dinosaur to indicate the beginning and the end of the octave. All the others were a different colour and kind. This definitely sparked the interest of the dino mad boys. We then proceeded to name the dinosaurs and to count them. In this way they learnt that an octave is 8 notes.
Playing a Tune
We used the colours of the dinos and counted the number of times they had to be struck to make the tune. Oscar got it right after a few tries but then proceeded to go and play outside. Dominic was quite resistant and wanted to just bang the keys. And herein lies my biggest challenges for next year. Oscar is capable but can’t concentrate. Dominic gets very frustrated very quickly. But with patience we will persevere. This is a learning curve for the parents as much as the children.
What we Learnt from our First Homeschool Music Lesson
- Patience is key. I think this is true for all activities, especially with special needs kids.
- Take what you can get because learning is a process. The kids didn’t learn to play a song. But they did learn what an octave was. And also how to play a slow octave, albeit with dinosaurs sounds. Those are scales (excuse the pun) in the making!
- Don’t push. Once again, I think this is key. Children don’t respond to being forced into something. And they will quickly come to hate or fear something. Go with what they are enjoying and try to get some learning out of it.
- Don’t be a slave to your lesson plan. The boys weren’t keen on the piano but were thrilled with dinosaurs sounds instead. So we changed it up and let them experiment with that. And they remained engaged for almost 30 minutes. For my boys, that’s a long time! In my mind, this was a successful activity!
Over to You
How do you use music in your homeschool? I would love to hear you hints and tips. Please drop me an email or comment below.