How Parents, Music Teachers Can Create a Homeschool Music Curriculum

By supporting music education and creating opportunities for homeschoolers to play together, parents are helping to pass on the joy of music. Check out this great article entitled "Music Instruction For Homeschoolers"

Not all parents can teach music to homeschoolers, but they can help. Work with music teachers to design a creative music education curriculum with other families.

Music can be a problematic subject for homeschooling parents. Beyond the very first basic concepts, many non-musical parents have difficulty trying to teach musical concepts that they don't understand themselves. Adults who don't have prior musical training quickly realize that they are just as confused as their children, and need a professional music teacher to show the way.

In part, this is because of lack of familiarity with the complex skill levels involved. Unlike math or science, which most parents have studied previously in school (although maybe in the distant past), music may be totally foreign territory. And music is a difficult subject: It takes between three and four years of study and consistent practice before an average adult student is able to play intermediate-level classical music, fluent church hymns, or arrangements of popular songs that are labeled "easy" by the publisher.

Learning to play an instrument is also cognitively complex: It requires that students take in and process information aurally, visually, physically and intellectually – while performing tasks that require coordinating all of these elements. The pedagogy involved in teaching students to put all of this together is complex, and the solutions to specific technical and learning issues are often not intuitively obvious.

As a result, while it is certainly possible for non-musical parents to play an important role in their child's musical development, most non-musical parents choose to find an outside instructor for their children, especially as students become more advanced.

Creative Music Lesson Ideas for Parents and Teachers

Get a home-school group together. Sometimes, a group of homeschool families agree to host music lessons at one of the families' homes. A music teacher who normally doesn't travel to students' homes might be willing to make the trip if it means teaching four or five students back-to-back. The requirements are that the families involved must commit to the schedule and agree to the teacher's lesson policies, and that there must be a quiet distraction-free space where the teacher can teach. If piano lessons are involved, the family that hosts should be able to provide a good acoustic piano, it doesn't have to be a Steinway concert grand, but it should be well-maintained and regularly tuned.

Coordinated home-school lessons might include a regular group lesson, where students play for each other, discuss each other's pieces, and learn about performance and audience etiquette.

It's also important to communicate to children that music is a lifelong, enjoyable creative activity. Parent-child lessons are an excellent way to share the music learning experience and communicate to children that learning and enjoying music is a way to express and share their emotions,. Similarly, attending concerts broadens a child's exposure. Take groups of homeschoolers to local performances. The music teacher can provide advise on what concerts would be appealing to kids ("Carnival of the Animals," yes; Wagner's "Ring Cycle," no.).

Finally, host an ensemble event once a month. Many music teachers can coach groups and ensembles, even if they only play one of the instruments. Whether it's a rock band or a chamber music ensemble, music is fun to play in groups. Poll other homeschooling families for a list of instruments their children are studying, and then see if the music teacher can put together an ensemble program, whether it's a formal performance group or an informal jam.

By supporting music education and creating opportunities for homeschoolers to play together, parents are helping to pass on the joy of music.
Source:  Sep 3, 2009 Karen Berger

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