Thursday, May 5, 2011

Incorporating music into our school days

I have been working, over the last few months at incorporating more music into our daily school time. Every member of our family loves music, so it has always been a part of the daily rhythm in our home, but lately I have been giving it a lot more thought. Why? As I watch Damian grow, I am seeing in him a very keen interest in music and a natural aptitude for it.

One of the advantages of homeschooling is that I can cater to my children’s specific interests during the course of their learning. With Rylan it has always been through his love of reading and animals, and I have had several years now of figuring out how best to orient his learning around those passions, but music is a new slant for me. It has always been there, but now I need to make it more of a focus, more of a vehicle for Damian’s learning, because it definitely lights a spark in him and makes his concentration keener.

Damian started Music Together classes around 12 months, and we have been going strong ever since. I have no doubt that these classes are giving him a good foundation in music, and have definitely made music a lot of fun. We also sing these songs together at home and in the car during the week, and as a result have accumulated a box full of instruments which he plays with every day.

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You may have noticed that we sing a lot as a part of Damian’s school time, I am always looking for songs related to the theme or topic he is learning about. Also our circle time is filled with song, in fact, we sing most everything from our prayers, to our school song, to the calendar songs, to our virtue quotation memorization. Not only is it a wonderfully cheerful way to start the day, but it aides memorization.

I also incorporate music into our geography studies. It gives a glimpse into the culture and “vibe” of the people we are learning about.

Another thing I have started doing in the last few months is playing classical music during our school time. After we have completed our circle time, and Rylan moves onto his workboxes and I am doing one-on-one time with Damian, I turn on some classical music. It plays quietly in the background while we are all working. I can say, without a doubt, that it has the most wonderfully calming effect on our school time. It aides in quiet concentration, it is uplifting, and it helps to feed Damian’s passion because he is definitely happier when music can be heard. On the weekends Ramtin gives the boys little tidbits of information about classical music – the composers, the type of music, etc; during the week we just listen to it and enjoy it.

I am just starting to research Suzuki piano lessons, as a possibility down the line for him. I have heard a lot of good things about this program, but I am uncertain about him starting so young in more formal lessons. I am going to try to attend a preview lesson with him this summer, so we can both see what it is all about.

IMG_3353 [800x600]To those out there who have musically inclined children, I would love to hear what you have done to nurture this interest in your children?

6 comments:

  1. Love what you are doing at home!

    We take E to We Joy Sing classes. Here is their website. www.wejoysing.com

    They have some interesting articles under their blog section of their website!

    Kerri

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  2. My four year old has always loved music. He is a very active, very emotional child and music and singing together has a very calming effect on him. I have several books of children songs that I have printed from DLTK's song section that we often sit and sing together. We also play CDs when he is going to sleep both at naptime and at night. I'm hoping to soon be able to get him involved in the children's choir at church as well.

    I used to play a lot of classical music but somehow slipped away from that. I think I'll work on doing that again.

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  3. I love your ideas Kami. Besides our devotional CD in the morning and singing prayers morning/naptime/evening, I do not have any specific routines for music. I do play various CDs maybe once a day, and we sing a lot. I have been thinking about Suzuki too though as I took Suzuki violin from age 5 and it was great (even though I stopped when I was 13, still had a lasting effect). I was telling my mom just the other day I wanted to go ahead and get the Suzuki CDs for Zorion so he can learn the songs by ear (since that's what you do anyway) before he starts taking lessons but I havent decided between violin or piano yet. I also printed out the Instrument Cards from Counting Coconuts to use in the future, was thinking of featuring an instrument per week and finding a CD at the library that used it.
    Let us know how your research into Suzuki goes, would love to hear how Damian takes to it :-)

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  4. Thank you to all of you for your comments. It is so nice to hear what others are doing!

    Chelsea, I will let you know how the Suzuki goes. :) Thanks for mentioning the CD, I didn't know they had one, I will look into that.

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  5. Yep part of my Suzuki "training" was listening to the music every day, so I knew all the songs before I even started learning to play them. I assume this is the same with all Suzuki students but have no idea really!

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  6. I wouldn't say my children are musically inclined, but we also did Music Together for a number of years but stopped recently when dd #3 came alone. Right now we just play lots of music and I'm planning to teach dd 7 how to play the fife this summer as a segway into playing the flute (which I do play)

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