Homeschooling: Why Music

One of the questions many of my friends wonder as they look at the way we spend our time is why we put so much emphasis as a family on music.  The kids spend hours practicing every day.  We spend hours driving to and from lessons, participating in group events and competitions.  We spend a large portion of our income on lessons and music-related events and books.  We frequent the symphony and other concerts.  We talk about music and listen to music all the time.  Why put so much time and effort into just one subject?

There are a huge variety of answers to this question, but they all boil down to two important things: value and enjoyment.  Music has great value to us.  It is a subject that requires concentration, coordination and talent to succeed.  As  my children practice, they build character skills such as patience and self control.  They build small and large muscle coordination, and hand eye coordination.  They learn to listen.  They begin to appreciate beauty.

As they grow older and become more accomplished on their instruments, they do reap more enjoyment.  But even the six-year old who is just beginning finds real joy in making good sounds come from the piano.  In fact, as I write this, he is enjoying himself at his piano practicing.  They begin sitting down to play just for their own enjoyment, and some of the best times at our home are when Grandma and Grandpa come over for a concert.

We stopped having practice wars several years ago with the two oldest, but occasionally one of the younger ones will protest that they “hate the piano!”  Lucy never says she hates violin, only piano, and perhaps someday she will be able to concentrate only on the violin.  Until then, it is up to me never to give in, but to keep requiring her daily practice.  After all, if she does not practice, she will never enjoy her music.

An important path to enjoyment of practicing and music is listening to other musicians.  We are not able to dream of being something we have never seen or imagined.  When the kids see the musicians at the symphony, or at a local fiddlefest or jazz concert, they are able to project themselves into an adult life where music plays an important role.  In fact, the two oldest are considering pursuing careers in music.  Of course, not everyone who enjoys music has to be a concert performer, and in fact most are not.  But wouldn’t it be a fulfilling life to be able to teach what you love?  If they do truly love music, this is a good choice for them.  Many adults wish they had learned “when they were younger” to play an instrument.  Luckily, my kids won’t have to wish this!

Do you think music is an important subject for homeschoolers?  As an adult, do you continue to enjoy listening to and playing music?  Please leave me a comment.

 

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5 Comments

  1. cammiejustus

     /  January 13, 2012

    I can remember ‘hating’ the piano when my mom or piano teacher commented about a lack of practice. However, since becoming an adult my love of both flute and piano, and music in general has been something that I value now even without a strict practice routine. I love just sitting down to unwind at my keyboard, or play as an adult in my local community band. I even enjoy being able to describe what more pop artists are doing with their work to my friends. But besides just the joy, I think it is a great way to learn exactly what you mentioned above: motor control, patience, and dedication. For me it is similar to playing a sport (which I did too), where a kid can see the wonderful outcomes of a job well done. Their dedication and energy creates a beautiful product for them and something they can share with others. I don’t currently have kids, but plan to be a homeschooler when I get there, and I definitely plan to teach them all piano and either a wind/string instrument. (I never learned a string, but always had that thought of wishing I had when I was younger – learning later in life has proven to be exceptionally hard). I think the music focus is AWESOME.

    Reply
  2. I wasn’t homeschooled, but I also took piano lessons, and I say absolutely. Having any sort of music education for at least five years or so to establish basic to intermediate competency ^^ Music is a huge part of everyone’s lives, so it’s nice to be able to appreciate it on a higher level. If there was one thing I’d want to do differently, it’d be to learn a string instrument at the same time.. (I did play the flute for around 5 years).

    Michelle

    Reply
  3. I currently homeschool my youngest and I home schooled her two older brothers until 8th grade. They all play music on the instrument of their choice and practice daily. Music is very important in our lives. Studying music has taught my kids so many lessons in the benefits of practice to achieve a goal even in other subjects and taught them how to learn something that isn’t always easy to them. They each have a skill they will be able to enjoy throughout their lives. It also helped us deal with some early perfectionist tendencies in my youngest, teaching her to take chances and to practice to make things easier.

    I took piano as a child and disliked practicing so did not advance very far though I can pick up music and read it with some practice. I love to sing and sang to my kids from a young age and we always are listening to music around here either classical or Irish.

    Reply
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