One of my favorite bloggers, Lora at Vitafamiliae, is writing a “how we do it” series, and I’m joining her series with a few posts of my own. It’s an attempt to think out the details of my daily life and to throw open the doors and welcome you in. So, welcome, all of you, to my life and home!
Of all the chaotic things in our life right now, of all the things I’m doubting and rethinking, our music study is one of the things I’m super happy with.
- It’s been easy for me, even independent of me at times.
- It’s been a highlight for the kids.
- It’s been absolutely fun.
- And, it’s been economical.
That being said, a lot of what we are doing is thanks to the iPad that my husband blessed me with over Christmas. There are two apps that have made all the difference in our music study.
Classical Masterpieces is our go-to right now for our fine art study, studying the Classical Composers. We listen to the tunes listed for our composer of choice. I play it over and over throughout a day at different points. Littlest gets to dance and enjoy the tunes, too. Right now, we’re listening to Vivaldi. I pretty much wing it, here. Just teaching some basic recognition of the pieces. On one of our first “lessons,” I listened with the kids to each of the Four Seasons, and we talked about what the music reminded us of. For instance, the kids thought Summer sounded like running in a race, racing through meadows on a warm summer day. (And they enjoyed illustrating this for me in the living room.) Spring sounded like bees and butterflies. Winter reminded us of gently falling snowflakes. You get the idea.
After that, we played games trying to identify the songs, chalked pictures to match each song, read a biography of Vivaldi, etc. We listened to these tunes during art, during lunch, during cleaning, during playtime, over and over. And during our most recent snow storm, guess what tune was played by popular demand? Oh, yes. We listened to Vivaldi’s Winter and ate snow cream.
For music theory, I’ve loved Kinderbach. We reviewed the computer program more than a year ago, and the kids have talked about “Dodi” the donkey and have searched for sets of two keys on every keyboard they have seen since then. Those lessons have stuck with them for a very long time. Needless to say, the Kinderbach app was one of the first I downloaded. Though there is a free one to try out the lessons (with in-app purchases if you’d like more lessons), I went ahead and got the fully-loaded Kinderbach. I knew we wanted to do the whole thing.
The app comes with a keyboard, video lessons, and accompanying coloring pages (if you have airprint technology, which my printer doesn’t; I had to purchase the coloring pages separately, which was only a couple of bucks and totally worth it to me).
My kids are learning about the keyboard, rhythm, timing, notes, dynamics; and they have a blast. Best of all, they can do these lessons largely without me. There is no way I’d get piano lessons for the two of them for $20 (roughly what I paid for the app and coloring pages). Plus, it’s in-home at our convenience on a day and at a time that works for me.
Usually, Wednesdays are our music days. The kids literally count down to Wednesdays; they love it! And I love that I can mop the floor while they are learning their lessons.