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Can I Teach Music in Homeschooling?

Gerald Crawford

Learning about music can be very benificial as music can be very relaxing and soothing and help alleviate the stresses and strains of everyday living.

But while teaching Maths, Science and Literature might be relatively straightforward, although I wouldn't say easy, teaching Music to your children can be a little bit trickier. Opting to teach music at home can certainly be more cost effective when compared to relatively expensive music classes, and even if the parents are not musicians themselves, its still a very achievable goal to teach your children how to play a musical instrument.

Here's what I found to be helpful on the road to teaching my son and daughter to play the guitar and the piano:

One thing I've realised is that its better to be specific in what you want your children learn, its all very well deciding that you are going to teach music to your children, but the term music can be a bit vague. You can teach a child all about the theory and history of music, and how to read music, but its got to have a purpose.

What I mean by this is that you should try to determine quite early on what type of musical instrument your child is interested in learning to play. Now this can take a bit of time to find out what it is, so its a good idea to let them try out a few different instruments so they can find this out for themselves, and it has to be the child who makes that decision because in order for them to learn and progress they must enjoy it. They need to see it as a fun experience, which it will be if handled in the right way.

Once your child indicates that they want to learn to play a specific instrument then thats great, but be flexible and be prepared for a change of mind although this isn't very common, but just in case, buy an inexpensive model to begin with, and assure them that they can have a better quality one if they show that its really something that they want to pursue.

In order to keep the focus on the music I found it useful to keep the instruments on their stands and in the most occupied rooms in the home. It is very important to keep the musical instruments at central locations in your home so that your kids have easy access to them which will ultimately increase their interest in them.

If you pack the instruments away in their cases then they are simply not going to play them nearly as often. If your child takes a notion to have a strum on their guitar and its upstairs in its case, then more often than not they'll put it off or get distracted with something else while deciding whether they can be bothered to go and get it, I should know, I used to pack my guitar away after practicing on it and thats exactly what happened. Now I always have it displaying on its stand in our living room and I'm forever picking it up even if its only for a five minute strum, and time on the fretboard or keyboard is the only way you are going to improve.

I was able to teach my son how to play acoustic guitar because I play guitar myself, but my daughter wanted to learn piano and neither her mom or I were pianists, so went looking for one.

I asked my dad if he knew of anyone because he plays saxophone in a band but the pianists or keyboard players he knew were all too busy playing in bands but he suggested asking the local schools to see if any music students would be interested.

We found a music graduate from a local college for very little cost. She was only too pleased to give our daughter lessons for the extra money, plus the experience she was getting in teaching could be used as a reference when she was looking for full time employment. So if you have no musical experience yourself then this could solve your problem.

If you prefer not to hire a teacher then the internet is probably the next best thing, it has a multitude of resourses available for any type of musical instrument you can think of, my son has moved on from the acoustic guitar to the electric guitar and is progressing through increasingly more challenging electric guitar lessons online to improve his skills. Many of these courses are for little or no cost depending on what you are wanting to achieve.

If you know of other homeschooling parents whose children are learning to play an instrument then you could try to get them together. My son is studying for a degree at Strathclyde University in Scotland and two of his room mates also play guitar and they are always jamming together and learning from eachother new riffs and ways to play songs.

Another idea would be to find other homeschooling parents who are musical and maybe come to some arrangement to exchange lessons in some way, or you may have a particular talent in some other area which may be of use to them.

At the end of the day the key thing is to encourage your children to keep on practicing without forcing them, this can be a bit of a balancing act but if you remember to praise them on each improvement they make and keep it fun then they will develope in their own way and thats all you can really ask for!

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Beverley Paine with her children, and their home educated children, relaxing at home.

Together with the support of my family, my aim is to help parents educate their children in stress-free, nurturing environments. In addition to building and maintaing this website, I continue to create and manage local and national home educating networks, help to organise conferences and camps, as well as write for, edit and produce newsletters, resource directories and magazines. I am an active supporter of national, state, regional and local home education groups.

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We began educating our children in 1985, when our eldest was five. In truth, we had helped them learn what they need to learn since they were born. I am a passionate advocate of allowing children to learn unhindered by unnecessary stress and competition, meeting developmental needs in ways that suit their individual learning styles and preferences. Ours was a homeschooling, unschooling and natural learning family! There are hundreds of articles on this site to help you build confidence as a home educating family. We hope that your home educating adventure is as satisfying as ours was! Beverley Paine


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