Music -- the often overlooked art
Music is one of those topics that we homeschool moms know we should teach our children. But whether it's because of our own lack of knowledge, a tight homeschool budget, or just a crowded schedule, music study often gets pushed to the back burner.
This information will help you painlessly educate your children about classical music through a unit study or lapbook approach.
A Plan for Teaching Music
I have chosen to home educate my daughter with a Charlotte Mason (CM) style. The CM way to study a composer is amazingly simple!
CM recommended studying one composer in depth for one entire academic term (6-12 weeks). You simply expose your children to that artist's music over and over during that term so that they come to associate the pieces with that artist. The listening can happen anywhere, anytime -- while doing household chores, while on the road, while playing. Additionally, you can read a good biography about the composer. That's it!
Learn About the Orchestra
Before you dive into a study of a composer, you may want to back up and learn a bit about musical instruments and the orchestra. This can be a really fun unit study for all of your children, no matter how old they are! There are many great resources online for learning about the orchestra -- printables, games, and recordings.
A classic tool for learning the instruments is Peter and the Wolf, a musical composition with narration to explain the story told through the music. Kiddie Records has converted old records into MP3 formats. You can listen to Peter and the Wolf there for free! This teacher's guide from the Dallas Symphony Orchestra is excellent.
Free Resources for Learning About the Orchestra
These fantastic links all deal with the orchestra -- instrument families, orchestra seating charts, sounds the instruments make, etc.
- FREE Orchestra Mini-book Templates
These mini-book templates are ready to print and assemble. And they are all free! To fill in the books, you can use the printables at Montessori Music (next link).
- Montessori Music
Printable cards of instruments and composers.
- Dallas Symphony Orchestra Lesson Plans
Loads of free printables
- New York Philharmonic
Instrument Storage Room -- pictures and names; good for younger children
- SanFrancisco Symphony Kids
Interactive Orchestra Seating Chart -- smaller pictures and text descriptions; good for older children
- Arts Alive Instrument Lab
In this Instrument Lab you can listen to and "virtually" handle all the instruments of the orchestra.
- Symphony Starter Kit
Produced by the Utah Symphony Orchestra, this PDF includes information on instrument families, what to listen for, and concert etiquette.
- Instruments Printable Minibooks
Scroll down to the I for Instrument section for these free printable minibook templates.
- Teacher Book Bag Musical Instruments and Their Families
This freebie at CurrClick is designed to go in a pocket chart. But you can adapt the cards for games and flashcards as well.
Online Games - about the instruments of the orchestra
These are really fun online games that will teach your children the instruments of the orchestra as they play.
- Instruments of the Orchestra
An online game of matching the instrument to its sound.
- The Young Person's Guide to the Orchestra
by Benjamin Britten for the Weill Music Institute at Carnegie Hall. This online game is amazing -- both fun and educational. If you log in, you can return later and contine the same game. Children ages 8 and above could probably play alone. Younger c
- Classics for Kids
This is an excellent radio program about many composers, types of music, instruments, etc. Look in the archives of past shows for something that interests you. This truly could be the foundation of your music study as you learn about each composer an
- Kiddie Records
Look in 2005 March week 10 for Rusty in Orchestraville -- a great old record converted into MP3 format! It's adorable!
- Opera for Everyone
Free MP3 downloads of four famous operas. Best of all, there are commentary audio clips that explain what you are about to hear in each section!
A small collection of music files in the public domain. Search by style or composer.
- Classical MP3 Files
Another small collection of free MP3 music files of many of the most famous composers.
Music Lapbook Photos
More Music Lapbook Images
- Wisdom's Way of Learning
This blog entry features a music lapbook complete with photographs and explanations.
- Preparation Education's Composer Unit Study
These homeschoolers used a product from Homeschool in the Woods for a beautiful finished product.
Notebooking Pages - free printables
If notebooking is something you use in your homeschool, you'll want to download these free notebooking pages. Use them during your music study to record biographical information about the composers or to write descriptions of the music you hear. Or create your own notebooking pages with the graphics and images linked above.
- Homeschool With Index Cards Notebooking Forms
Look for the Classical Music Listening Guide; it's a free PDF notebooking page.
- Famous Musician Biography Pages
Here you can find free notebooking pages in three different formats for these composers -- Ludwig van Beethoven, Johann Sebastian Bach, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, (Franz) Joseph Haydn, Wilhelm Richard Wagner, Antonio Lucio Vivaldi, Pyotr Ilyich Tchaiko
Baroque Period - Vivaldi, Handel, and Bach
Baroque music is very rich and textured, especially in comparison with the music that came before it. During the Baroque Period, both opera and the orchestra came into being. Three of the most important contributors to music at this time were Vivaldi, Handel, and Bach.
Music of the Baroque Period
Learn about Baroque Composers
Make your composer study come alive with a more narrative approach found in these excellent music resources.
Classical Period - Haydn, Mozart, and Beethoven
The Classical Period of music ranged from 1750 to 1820. The music had a considerably simpler texture that that of the Baroque Period. During this time, Mozart and Haydn developed the grand forms of symphony, opera, string quartet, and concerto.
Music of the Classical Period
Romantic Period - Mendelssohn, Schubert, Tchaikovsky
The Romantic Period saw the development of telling a story through musical compositions. Composers began to express their cultural identity through their music by adding elements of folk songs into symphonies.Many new instruments became part of the orchestra during this time as well.The Romantic era was a golden age for virtuoso performers, so much of the music is very demanding in its technical execution.