Music Appreciation and Education: Ultimate Resource Guide for Kids and Families

Music Appreciation, Musical Education, Homeschool Music, Ultimate Resource Guide
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Many of us hope our children will grow up to love and appreciate music.  But sometimes it feels overwhelming, especially if you don’t feel confident in your own musical knowledge!  Sometimes it even feels too expensive… going to live performances, buying instruments, and even paying for music lessons can be out of the reach of many families.

Music appreciation is not a luxury.  Nurturing a love of music doesn’t have to be complicated and it doesn’t have to be perfect.  Let me share some of the tips and tricks our family uses to incorporate the study of music in our home!

Music Appreciation, Music Education, Homeschool, Children, Families, Ultimate Resource Guide

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Online Resources for Music Appreciation and Musical Education

SQUILT: Super Quiet UnInterrupted Listening Time

SQUILT is an open-and-go, multi-age musical education and appreciation resource that can be used no matter how much (or little) musical knowledge you previously have!  You will learn the basic building blocks of music as you explore across a range of genres.

Our family has purchased and loved the SQUILT Musical Era guides.  Each volume includes notebooking pages, background information, listening guides, and more!  SQUILT also has composer guides if you want to focus on a particular composer. They even offer meet the composers and instruments guides and games!

SQUILT is perfect for morning time, but you could also use it as part of a more formalized music history or appreciation study.

Children of the Open Air

Children of the Open Air is a YouTube channel produced by a fellow homeschool mom.  She explores singing technique, practicing solfa with curwen hand signs, and folk songs.  Her lessons are accessible even if you don’t have a musical background yourself!  You can also hear her interviewed on the Your Morning Basket Podcast.

Philharmonia Orchestra

The Philharmonia Orchestra has an amazing YouTube playlist where the professional musicians introduce their instruments!  Highly recommended.

Khan Academy

If you want to learn a bit more about rhythm, note reading, etc (or to give a more detailed instruction to your older students), there’s an entire basic music course available for free on Khan Academy.

Books, Audio, and Visual resources for Music Appreciation and Musical Education

An Introduction to the Classics

I love this series!  I listened on cassette as a child, and now we have them on CD.  Each album tells about a famous composers life and music.  Here is just a small sample of the composers offered in this series:

First Book About the Orchestra

This is a fantastic board book for introducing even very small children to the various parts of the orchestra!  It’s one of our children’s favorites!

The Musical Life of Gustav Mole

Gustav Mole is born into a musical family, and the story of his life introduces children to various styles of music and many different instruments.  The accompanying CD is great!  We even have a Gustav Mole puppet in our stuffed animal basket.

Year of Wonder

One of my dear friends gave this to me for Christmas, and I hope to incorporate it in our morning time soon!  Each day of the year is assigned a piece of classical music, and the book gives a brief introduction and listening guide for each piece!

Story of the Orchestra 

When Stravinsky Met Nijinski

Beethoven Lives Upstairs, Mr. Bach Comes to Call, Hallelujah Handel, and other productions by Classical Kids are great fun!

And of course, you can also watch Beethoven Lives Upstairs on film!

Meet the Orchestra

Another gentle picture book introduction to the orchestra.

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Carnival of the Animals

New poetry has been written to accompany Saint-Saëns famous music, and the illustrations are delightful.

The Musical Instruments Coloring Book  or Composers Coloring Book would be perfect to color while listening quietly to music!

Peter and the Wolf– a perfect way to introduce children to various instruments and their sounds in  delightful story and orchestral form!  You can enjoy it via audio recording or combined creatively with ballet (we own this older version, but it looks like it was re-staged and recorded more recently).

Mike Venezia’s composer biographies are hysterical, colorful, and informative!

Opal Wheeler’s composer biographies are classics for a reason!

Echo, Pam Muñoz Ryan

This YA novel is a great audiobook listen, illustrating the value of music in the intersecting lives of 3 children.  The description given by the publisher is perfect: “Music, magic, and a real-life miracle meld in this virtuosic, genre-defying tour de force from storytelling maestro Pam Muñoz Ryan.

I have personally loved several of the Great Courses taught by Professor Robert Greenberg.  The first one I listened to was the history of the symphony, but he also has a series on listening and understanding great music, the 30 greatest orchestral works, the concerto, and more.

Even if you’re not a Charlotte Mason Educator, the Ambleside Online Composer Study guide is a great free resource!

Don’t forget that music appreciation can also be plain fun

Don’t take all this musical study too seriously. Music education can be silly sometimes…just check out a few videos from The Piano Guys and you’ll see what I mean!

You can even explore the music of Star Wars with this free printable pack!

Or see this old throwback family movie when my then-4-year-old attempted to replicate Beethoven on the piano. 🤣

Music Appreciation Should Be Hands-On

Get hands-on with your children, practicing basic rhythm and note-reading skills.  This will even help while singing hymns at church!  This begins as simply as clapping or marching along to the beat of the music with your toddler.  Rhythm instruments are always a big hit with children, too!

I have also found these music flash cards to be of great use!

If there are opportunities for your children to learn an instrument or participate in choir, I encourage you to make this a priority.  You don’t have to have the best and most expensive experiences here!  Don’t allow a desire for perfection keep you from simple, local, affordable opportunities.

There are affordable live music options

Look for opportunities in your area to attend live performances on a budget!  The NC Symphony offers amazing education concerts each year to schools (and homeschools) in NC at an extremely low cost.  The trick with many of these types of programs, however, is that the tickets go on sale at the end of summer when school teachers are planning their years.  Put a reminder on your calendar now for next summer to start checking their websites so you don’t miss out!

Here’s a Facebook Live I recorded after last year’s symphony concert.  A few photos from this year’s excursion can be seen on Instagram.

Sometimes our local library also offers “meet the instruments” special programs with area musicians.  Cultural centers, community programs, amateur ensembles, coffee shops, state fairs…there are many places to find free or inexpensive live music for your whole family!

How do you incorporate music study in your family?

Come by Facebook or Instagram and let me know.  Don’t forget to sign up for my email list for subscriber exclusives!

Happy listening! 

Music Appreciation, Musical Education, Homeschool Music, Ultimate Resource Guide

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3 thoughts on “Music Appreciation and Education: Ultimate Resource Guide for Kids and Families”

  1. Pingback: How We Homeschool Preschool – Humility and Doxology

  2. I just shared this list with somebody looking for composer resources for her homeschooled children – and it reminded me! – have you ever checked out Classics for Kids They have short web programs for kids covering major time periods and composer. I haven’t listened to all of them by any means, but the ones I have I’ve liked!

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