He positioned the guitar to the left side of his body and held its long neck like a hunter with his prized goose. He looked straight ahead, his new dress shoes creaking as he ascended the three steps to the vast stage which consisted of one lone chair. The audience was oddly silent except for one lady who coughed. I sat there in the second row and wondered if my nine-year-old son had practiced enough. This was his first recital....
Have you ever thought of the many opportunities we have to introduce our kids to music as we teach at home? Whether we listen, play an instrument, or simply teach our kids to appreciate great compositions and composers, homeschooling provides an excellent opportunity for families to enjoy the blessings that God has given us in music.
During our eleven years of homeschooling we made music a core subject. We decided to have the twins take lessons from elementary through high school. One chose the guitar, one chose the violin. (Later, they changed to classical guitar and viola). We started out with inexpensive instruction, rental instruments, and huge amounts of praise!
I remember those repetitive reminders:
- Keep practicing!
- Don't give up!
- Wow! Great job. That song is really coming along.
If possible, at around age seven or eight --- consider allowing your child to study an instrument. But even if you choose not to invest in music lessons or make a significant time commitment for practicing, you can still give your students the experience of hearing exquisite music. Music appreciation doesn't have to be expensive or time consuming.
For musical enrichment, you might consider having your family attend a symphony (often free for kids) or listen to beautiful orchestral recordings. I love hearing romantic Italian pieces from composers such as Puccini and Verdi.
Vivaldi's Four Seasons, performed by world renowned violinist Joshua Bell with the Academy of St. Martin in the Fields is fun to listen to. You might also consider doing a unit study on great composers.
Because of its sequence and order, I believe that music helps our children develop imagination, concentration, and analytical thinking. Whenever I taught math, I always had the classical music station playing softly in the background. I'm convinced that it helped all of us think straight!
Back to that first recital .... After the first note shattered the silence, I breathed a big sigh of relief. He got through the song! And I felt so relieved and proud (in a thankful way) when he walked back down those steps. Now the audience wasn't silent; they were clapping!
P.S. Please check out these other blogs about my life as a music mom: