Singing & Music Appreciation deserve a list of compiled resources! So here is a list for your consideration. (Let me know what else you discover!)
While many kids pick up singing naturally from singing at church and in play, our society just doesn’t sing as much as it used to. An easy way to combat that is to pick a weekly hymn, sing nursery rhymes, and simply demonstrate to kids that adults sing, too. (You can look here for suggestions about weekly hymns.)
Sometimes boys (and men) think singing is more for women, but that’s simply not true. When cultivated, boys (and men) even have larger singing ranges. They might just prefer to sing different types of songs. (Here’s one of many online articles on boys’ change of voice and possible songs to sing at various ages.)
By the way, CPH offers a lot of song books and children’s hymnals.
If you want to teach a child how to sing, you could purchase “Singing Made Easy.” It’s easy to follow and includes stretches and breathing exercises. It’s basic enough for very young ages but applicable to all ages. (It’s recently changed venues so right now only level 1 is available. I think they are all scheduled to become available through Music in our Homeschool within 2021.)
Another common tactic is to play music in hopes that your kids will learn to sing along. If you want a focused approach, here are some options: a) nursery rhymes, b) the catechism, hymns, or Sunday school-type songs, c) classical music, or d) an eclectic assortment of folk, patriotic, Bible, camp, etc.
There is a whole lot you can google, but here are a few popular places to start.
- Wee Sing Nursery Rhymes and Lullabies incorporates sung nursery rhymes into a story “on the way to London town” for King Cole’s birthday party.
- Wiggles Nursery Rhymes (Kids might love their Australian accents!)
- CPH offers quite a few CDs, including several sung by, or aimed toward, children:
By the way, I love Evenings & Morning: Music of Lutheran Daily Prayer. Sometimes I put it on just to calm everyone down—myself included—or to start things off on a good foot. Various hymn CDs are great, too, of course.
- Maestro Classics is a great resource for music and children, including lots of classical resources.
- Classical Kids: Each disc combines music, history and dramatic story-telling to introduce children to the composers and their music.
- There is also a website, Classics for Kids, which features a monthly composer, games, and other musical resources.
Eclectic: Folk, Patriotic, Bible, etc.
If you want to google, here’s a list of genres to consider:
- Boy scout songs
- Camp songs
- Folk songs
- Girl scout songs
- Sea shanties
- Work songs, etc.
- Wee Sing has a lot of books & music for children, including two with common American Sunday school songs. The songs tend to be protestant and not necessarily include all the words.
- Cedarmont Kids is a group that has CDs and DVDs of kids singing, again, common American Sunday school songs.
The Singing Voice
Music lessons and field trips go a long way to cultivating music appreciation. You can also check out videos online for ballets, musicals, and concerts. The Snowman is a 26-minute, wordless book with beautiful music. You can also find other classic children’s videos like Peter and the Wolf.
Books (Youngest to Oldest)
- Kloria books are great hymn books for younger children!
- Can You Hear It? After a brief introduction to instruments, there is a piece of art paired with a song. Children are instructed to listen for certain things.
- Sing Me a Story: The Metropolitan Opera’s Book of Opera Stories for Children. There are only stories, but they are helpful before watching an opera.
There are various music appreciation studies out there, including:
- Meet the Great Composers: Short sessions on the lives, times and music of the great composers. Includes 17 units. Each unit is about four pages long with another page or two in worksheets. There are two book sets currently available.
- Music Appreciation I (Grades 3+): 26 chapters with tests
- Discovering Music: 300 Years of Interaction in Western Music, Arts, History (Grades 8+): This is a multi-sensory approach connecting music with visual arts, history, and Western culture from 1600 to 1914. (I think the author is Roman Catholic, fwiw.)
- Early Sacred Music: From the Temple Through the Middle Ages (Grades 8+)
Online-Based Unit Studies & Individual Study Guides
Unit studies I know of include:
- Here is a link to Karen Caroe’s free music unit study. It is for 4 to 6 weeks, including music theory.
- Here are a whole bunch of free homeschool music curriculum guides from Maestro Classics. Basically, you click on a title like “The Nutcracker” and then it takes you to a page with links and information on ballet, history of how Christmas is celebrated around the world, a museum of nutcrackers, the science of nutcrackers, plus a little explanation of fairy tales and different written versions of the Nutcracker, craft ideas, etc. So pretty great!
- Classical Kids Music Lessons
Here’s a link to some quick help on Musical Morals and Themes. Basically, it lists a piece, includes a moral, Bible verses, and some famous quotations.
Finally, here is a link to Music in Our Homeschool. That site offers reviews of music products, free music lessons and printables, tips, etc. Here is that site’s list of recommendations for music education in your homeschool.
Online Class options
Wittenberg Academy offers three high school classes: Music I, II, and III, in which students learn terminology, notation, and concepts of tonality through Bach chorales.
And, because I can, here are some websites to help with music theory:
- EarMaster.com: Understanding Basic Music Theory
- Music Theory for Musicians and Normal People
- pexels-kaboompics-com-5934: https://www.pexels.com/photo/the-piano-keyboard-5934/