Why be concerned about music education when homeschooling? What if your child isn’t interested in music? If you took piano lessons growing up, maybe you hated it and didn’t want to practice, so why should you make your child do the same? There are many reasons parents don’t encourage their kids to try music, but I hope you will consider some of the very best reasons to consider adding music education as a part of your child’s curriculum.
There are many studies that document the fact that music improves self-discipline, thinking skills, spatial reasoning and creative abilities. Spatial reasoning is the ability to visualize with the mind’s eye. (think picture smart) In other words, it’s the ability to think in three dimensions, like 3D.* (see Music for Kids)
Music Education and Schoolwork
Adding music education doesn’t have to be extremely difficult. It can be very interactive and shouldn’t take long periods of practice. In fact, in my opinion, private music instruction shouldn’t begin until about the age of eight or nine. Before that time, courses in movement, dance, rhythm instruments and even singing should be encouraged. This comes from my years of experience as well as observations and scholarly studies.
If a parent encourages at least a small amount of music training right along with their other schoolwork, it becomes part of daily studies. With the Keys to the Keyboard online course, we encourage just 10-15 minutes a day of simple practice for beginners. (you can download a free 24-month guide) With basic piano instruction, a student will learn to coordinate both hands which increases hand-eye coordination. With a program like Keys to the Keyboard, (start free!) learning basic chords will help to develop sense of pitch, harmony and translate well to learning other instruments. (Free download on keyboards here)
Benefits of Adding Music Education
There are many other benefits to adding music education to your child’s studies, but one that also benefits parents is the calming and relaxing power of music. Music can be a wonderful diversion, is used in therapy and can even lower the heart rate! Think about the last time you visited a spa with the type of music that was piped in the room. It was probably slow and soothing. Music is very powerful in helping us relax!
With a strong introduction to music, which doesn’t have to be expensive or super time-consuming, you will enrich your child’s education, increase their appreciation of different musical styles, and build a respect for the arts in general. There are many examples of students who stayed in school because they were involved in the band or chorus. They found their place in those groups. But very few will actually pursue a career of music, just like a select few will pursue being a mathematician or physicist. However, the introductions of the basics of math and physics in a general education will expand a student’s world view and ability to choose a particular direction of interest. The same principle applies to music.
Overwhelmed? Think Rewards!
Many parents are overwhelmed with the prospect and reality of homeschooling. Adding another subject like music education seems like one more thing to fight over. But if you make it fun with small rewards along the way, it can work to both you and your child’s advantage. Here are some ideas:
Go to the dollar store and get small prizes. Either wrap them separately, put them in small boxes or easiest, just stick them in a grab-bag. If they practice for five days during the week, they get to choose a prize. Consistency is one of the most important aspects of improvement, learning and even enjoyment in music education.
This can be a simple as going out for ice cream or getting lunch in a drive-through. You can change up the rewards week to week. You will need to be firm in the follow-through or they will quickly learn that you don’t really need to do the work for the reward—they will get it anyway!
There are many other ways to reward consistent practice. Be creative and use the method most applicable to your situation and your child. If you have multiple children, they will probably be motivated by different types of rewards. (This is actually a distinct possibility!) So be creative and make it fun for you as well as them. If you reward them with ice cream, get one for you as well!
Learn Along with Your Student
This is a great opportunity for you to learn right along with your student. Adding music education in your life for your personal benefit and health is a great idea! Even if it’s been years since you’ve been around an instrument, there is never a better time than now! Enjoy doing the same work in music you are asking your child to do.
If you want more than one online program, you can look into our Learn Music Again program. The V.I.P. level gives you monthly inspiration and a new song to keep you going! Did you even know there are many studies validating the fact that music can diminish the onslaught of Alzheimer’s? That should be reason enough for you to start now!
There's Never a Better Time Than Now
Many people put this off until next year or next time. What we have learned recently with a worldwide pandemic is that there’s no better time than now. Our time and our lives are precious. This has been one of the greatest periods of learning for our present generation because we’ve been forced to work both online and remotely.
So, don’t put this off! There are many online programs available but go with one you trust. And go with one you won’t outgrow. When you add music education to your homeschool curriculum, remember there is always the benefit of adding a person-to-person live teacher to online training. The value of a good private teacher should definitely be considered. I wish you all the luck in the world and hope to see you in one of my online courses soon!
*Pryse-Phillips, William. Companion to Clinical Neurology. New York: Oxford University Press (2003) 611, defines the term as “Slight and transient improvement of spatial reasoning skills, detected in normal subjects as a result of exposure to the music of Mozart, specifically his sonata for two pianos (K448)