As a parent, trying to find ways to incorporate musical education into daily life can be challenging. Many parents fill their homes with music, hoping that their children will learn to love music almost by accident through their immersion in the sounds of the classics.
While this may work to an extent, a thoughtful and careful approach to introducing your children to music may increase your odds of success. One aspect of musical education that is often overlooked but still essential is the study of composers - the people who write the music that we enjoy.
With a few simple additions, parents can offer their children a well-rounded education in the study of music. This not only gives them an introduction to music, but to the masterminds behind it as well.
If you are interested in adding a study of composers into your music related activities at home, here are five easy strategies:
Check your local library and ask your child questions.
First, determine which composer you want to introduce. Select a song by that person that you may have already listened to, or choose one of your favorite songs to start. You may want to find a book about that composer. The library is a great resource for this; there are often numerous books at different reading levels.
Alternatively, have your child research their favorite modern song. Who is the composer? Who is the performer? What was the inspiration for the song? Have others performed the song? Talk about how composers allow others to perform their music, usually for a fee. Discuss how the advent of new technologies has changed the music industry and the possible ramifications for composers and musicians alike.
Use online resources.
When looking for creative activities for your child, there are numerous online resources. These include, but are not limited to:
An activity resource covering a variety of topics, Homeschool Share provides free resources of printable pages that you can use to study composers and their music.
Making Music Fun
Filled with dozens of resources, this website gives users the information they need to fill their homes and their kids with knowledge.
A user-generated resource, Squidoo allows users to upload files for sharing with others. Doing a search for music or composers will yield multiple results.
Learn to play the music of the composer.
Another valuable way to learn about a composer is to learn to play their music. If your child is musically inclined, find resources to help them learn to play the music of your chosen composer. Printable books for many composers are available online, or visit your local music store to find books on your child’s ability level.
Listen to their music.
Fill your house with the sounds of your composer. Visit your local music store to find CDs of the composer you’re studying. Devices like MP3s as well as streaming services make it easier than ever to find music. Need a good place to start? Here are a few:
Spotify is a subscription-based service that allows you to choose to listen to any music available.
Subscription-based, Pandora enables users to create their own stations based on a selected theme. Create a station based on the composer you’re studying and have an instant playlist available.
Meet the Musicians
A DVD series, Meet the Musicians allows your child to see (and hear) information about your composer.
Follow a complete program.
The website 52Composers.com offers a weekly study of composers categorized by time period, country of residence, or in alphabetical order. This easy-to-use site enables people to learn about a different composer each week.
Video and audio clips of composers’ most famous works are available, along with information about their lives. Complete with printable graphics and links for more information, this one-stop resource of material solves the dilemma of which composer to study. Simply log onto the 52composers website each week to find information and printable material.
The Benefits of Structured Learning
Finding ways to add music into your daily activities requires creativity and planning. By exposing your children to the rich world of music, you teach them about the individuals who create music. Additionally, you help them discover that there is more to music than what they hear on the radio.
Today’s composers are using new technologies and musical styles to create the sounds of mainstream music. Contemporary classical composers, on the other hand, balance new styles and techniques with an adherence to the past.
Perhaps, thanks to your influence and inspiration, your child may aspire to become the next Beethoven or Mozart, composing songs that will change the course of music. Perhaps they will simply learn to appreciate the craft required to write music for others to play and enjoy - a lesson well worth your time and effort. For parents wishing to give their child a love of music, upping the ante by studying the people behind the music is a bonus, for you and your child.