How to Add Music to Your Homeschool Co-Op
Homeschool co-ops are the best, aren’t they?!
Our family has been so blessed to have a group of families to meet with weekly that are creative, intentional and adventurous! Plus, we all take on a subject to team teach once a week that we normally wouldn’t want to explore on our own! (Ahem….music anyone?)
Here are some ways that your homeschool co-op can include music either once a week, once a month or even a few times a semester. The best part? All of the lesson can be done together with a wide range of ages!
Choose one theme to cover over a span of 2-3 lessons.
For example, you could choose an instrument family like string instruments or brass instruments, or you could choose an era to cover like the Classical or Romantic era.
MIX and MATCH
Once you have chosen your theme, choose corresponding composers to study alongside your theme.
Here is a list of composers I would pair with certain musical themes:
RHYTHM - could be studied alongside Camille Saint Saens and the “Carnival Of The Animals” which includes a variety of rhythms and tempos, as would studying “In The Hall Of The Mountain King” by Edvard Grieg. “William Tell’s Overture” by Rossini would be a lovely piece of music to pair with a lesson on rhythm as well.
PERCUSSION INSTRUMENTS - this lesson could be paired with some more modern day composers as music included more percussion instruments as culture accepted them. John Philip Sousa was known for his exciting marches so I would suggest including him as the feature composer. Some more modern groups would include the music of Steve Reich who is known for his modern approach to rhythm and percussion.
THE VOICE - this lesson could be combined with a variety of composers including J.S Bach who was known for his choral works, Mozart who wrote a handful of very popular operas and then you could also include the writing of the lovely English choral composer, John Rutter who has written some of the most treasured music for choirs all over the world.
THE ORCHESTRA - This lesson is so versatile and would beautifully accompany studying composers like L.V Beethoven, Joseph Haydn and Vivaldi.
STRING INSTRUMENTS - Composers who shone with their compositions for string instruments would include Antonio Vivaldi (think The Four Seasons!), J.S Bach and his set of unaccompanied cello suites and also Mozart who wrote a lovely set of violin concertos.
BRASS INSTRUMENTS - When I think of brass instruments, I think of Aaron Copland’s “Fanfare for the Common Man" which features brass instruments in such a stately way. This would be a fantastic composer and feature piece to study alongside the brass instrument theme. Also, many of the Russian composers from the Romantic era used brass often in their instrumentation such as Prokofiev and Tchaikovsky.
WOODWINDS - The eclectic woodwind family has such diversity! Mozart wrote some fabulous clarinet concertos, as did J.S Bach. Studying either one of these composers alongside their woodwind compositions would make a great lesson plan!
THE PIANO - This lesson could definitely be stretched into a few lessons, depending on time! While most composers composed using a piano, some really shone. Composers like Frederic Chopin, George Gershwin and Rachmaninov would be fabulous additions to a lesson on the piano.
THE JAZZ ERA - This is such a fun lesson and would be a riot to combine with George Gershwin, Scott Joplin, and also modern composers from the early 1900’s like Louis Armstrong and Ella Fitzgerald, just to name a few!
WESTERN WORLD MUSIC - Again, this theme could be however long or short you want it to be! You could take it from a more classical approach and study Aaron Copland or the folk music of Stephen Foster, or you could jump into a lesson full of movie soundtracks with John Williams. Or both! How fun!
MUSIC AROUND THE WORLD - Music Around the World could be explored with any country that your co-op has been studying or you have an interest in. You could even have each family in the co-op choose one country to present and include the authentic and popular music from that specific country.
Music is something that can be done together!
The lessons that are included in both PRELUDE curriculum and the COMPOSERS curriculum includes an appropriate activity for 2 different age levels: young learners ages 4-8 and the older learners ages 8-12.
I know we all have our weak spots when it comes to feeling confident teaching a certain subject, but I’ve created these lessons to flow quite easily and I always say, “If you can read, you can do music - and these lessons!” So, take some time to read through the directions, grab the supplies needed and watch the inspiration that happens!
It’s also helpful if one parent takes a different theme to teach so one doesn’t have to do it all! As an add-on, teachers and parents can purchase my teaching videos as well if the enthusiasm for teaching is lack lustre!
Once you have completed a semester, I suggest putting on a “performance” for others with the activities, crafts, and musical skills the children have learned.
Here are a few ideas to get you started:
- Re-create or show and tell the musical crafts like trumpets (brass chapter), light sabers (John Williams), harmonicas (woodwinds)
- Display the composer artwork found in the Beethoven or Jazz Era chapter
- Dance the TREPAK (Tchaikovsky) or show off your new talent at waltzing (Johann Strauss) and call it a real life performance!
I hope these ideas are helpful as you teach your children and others about music!