08 June 2015

2015-2016 School Plans: Music

I'm almost done with my series of posts outlining our academic plans for next year. Next up is music.

{You can also check out our plans for mathlanguage artsgeographyhistory, science, and health and PE.}


I didn't feel like we accomplished what I wanted to with music this year. We concentrated on classical, and while we read some interesting biographies, and listened to a lot of wonderful pieces, it didn't come together as I hoped. 

{Note: If you've read any of the other "school plans" posts I've shared recently, you may have noticed a recurring point: Not feeling like the year overall had enough of a cohesive theme. We wanted to cover so many things, while continuing a relaxed, interest-led feel, but looking back I realize we needed a center to help tie everything together. Hence the new approach to introduce spine books as a starting point for each subject so we have something consistent to follow at first. Of course we will branch out as we feel necessary and likely get sidetracked following some topics longer than others, but we need a base from which to work.}

Our primary text for music will be DK Publishing's Children's Book of Music. It begins with early music (50,000 BCE to 1600 CE), then moves on to classical (1600 to 1900), and finally to modern (1900 to today). It also comes with a CD featuring samples of a variety of the music genres introduced in the book.

We have a number of go-to websites bookmarked for additional learning and printables, including Classics for Kidseducation {dot} comMaking Music Funmusic theory {dot} netOpus Music WorksheetsSphinx Kids, and TLS Books.

{Side note: We don't listen to current, popular music in our house, or in the car, or ever, really. The Agents would only recognize a handful of singers you might hear on the radio today. (Agent J is a bit of a Taylor Swift fan, however, having heard some of her songs while staying with relatives last year.) At one point I used to leave the Christian rock station on in the car (envision me cringing as I type that) but now it's pretty much all CDs (either classical, movie-related, or kid-themed) all the time. Part of it is I don't really care for them listening to questionable lyrics and part of it is in my limited exposure most pop music today sucks and I don't want to subject myself to it. So I'm pretty much dooming them to be terrible at music trivia. Judge if you must.}

Of course the big question this year will be, Is Agent E ready for formal lessons? She has indicated her interest in learning an instrument for some time, although I think she is just now to the point (at age 9) where she has the motivation and follow through to make it work. (I know lots of folks start their kids way earlier, but when I was an elementary student back in the stone ages, 4th grade was pretty much the universal time to begin.) I don't really have an answer to this yet, but we will definitely be investigating options near us for Agent E. I don't think Agent J (age 7, entering 2nd grade) is ready.

I should add here that we did buy a recorder and a simple songbook this year and Agent E has taken an interest in learning to read music and playing a short tune or two. I would definitely need outside resources to help her get past this very basic stage, though.

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