There are a multitude of reasons why we want our children to grow up listening to and appreciating classical music — tomes have been written on the subject. Listening to classical music:
- Makes you smarter in some ways (according to a considerable body of current research).
- Develops the imagination in a positive way.
- Reflects beauty — the good, the pure, the lovely, etc.
Like most things we learn to do by doing, we learn to appreciate music by listening. In fact, our musical talent (to whatever degree we possess it) grows by music appreciation!
Of course, adding music to an already tight homeschool schedule is never easy. What’s a mother to do?
Here are 10 easy ways to incorporate music appreciation into your homeschool day:
1. Play it.
Simply let classical music play as you go about the day. Yes, actually sitting down and actively listening is a better option, but for those with little time, simply letting the music play is better than not listening at all!
- WDAV 89.9 Classical Public Radio
Streaming free without commercials.
2. Listen in the car.
You can tune in to your local classic music station, or download a podcast. Listening to classical music on the road is a great way to learn during “car time.”
3. Work through the Greatest Hits series.
We really love the greatest hits series put out by Sony Classical as an introduction to classical composers. There over a dozen composers included in the series:
- Bach: Greatest Hits
- Beethoven: Greatest Hits
- Brahms: Greatest Hits
- Chopin: Greatest Hits
- Debussy: Greatest Hits
- Gershwin: Greatest Hits
- Grieg: Greatest Hits
- Handel: Greatest Hits
- Listz: Greatest Hits
- Mendelssohn: Greatest Hits
- Mozart: Greatest Hits
- Rachmaninoff: Greatest Hits
- Ravel: Greatest Hits
- Schubert: Greatest Hits
- Strauss: Greatest Hits
- Tchaikovsky: Greatest Hits
- Verdi: Greatest Hits
- Wagner: Greatest Hits
4. Follow a free lesson plan.
There are many of these available. Cindy Downes has always been a favorite. Enjoy her free music appreciation lesson plan.
5. Use Classics for Kids.
6. Work through the musical periods chronologically.
Use this composer timeline at ClassicsForKids.com, work through the composers and their works chronologically. The advantage of this method is studying composers of the same period at the same time.
7. Color through the classics.
We spent a couple of semesters enjoying the Color the Classics series by Carmen Ziarkowski. Each book in the series covers four composers. The idea is that children can color the coloring pages in the book while listening to the story of the composer along with his music. You can learn more at the publisher’s site where you’ll find listening samples and samples of the book.
8. Complete a unit study.
You’ll find several unit studies on our site including:
- Johann Sebastian Bach: A Unit Study
- John Philip Sousa: A Unit Study
- Peter and the Wolf: A Unit Study (Sergei Prokofiev)
You can use these units as they are or use them to create your own unit study based on a composer you are interested in.
You also might enjoy this free music unit study by Karen Caroe.
9. Enjoy our free music studies.
Based on the series the Child’s Own Book of Great Musicians by Thomas Tapper, in our free music studies we’ll be covering one composer each week — but you can go at your own pace!
10. Work through The Gift of Music.
The Gift of Music: Great Composers and their Influence by Jane Stuart Smith and Betty Carlson Covers 42 composers in chronological order (from Heinrich Schutz to Dmitri Shostakovich) with studies on Shakespeare’s influence and Christmas carols included. This excellent resource provides the background history, a recommended reading list (biography), and a recommended listening list for each composer.
Free 18-Page Composer Notebooking Set
Perfect set for notebooking your way through any music appreciation study.