Learn About Beethoven

“Music is a higher revelation than philosophy.” ~ Ludwig van Beethoven

The music of Beethoven has spoken to listeners for nearly 250 years. His symphonies, sonatas, concertos, chamber music, and MORE have gained him the reputation as one of the most important composers in history - if not THE most important composer in history.

Giving our children a knowledge of the life, times, and music of Beethoven is a gift they will carry their entire lives. It will build an appreciation and love for music that will stay with them forever.

Learn About Ludwig van Beethoven - resources and ideas to teach children of all ages

Children’s Books About Beethoven

Children learn so much through stories. Quality stories of the composers give us a glimpse into the life and times behind the music.

Beethoven certainly had a colorful life (to say the least), and stories about him are engaging, funny, and often sad. It is good for our children to see the many facets of the composer, and to understand what drove him to write so many beautiful masterpieces.

Learn About Beethoven - simple resources for children

Movies About Beethoven

Download and print this picture of Beethoven to include your SQUILT binder - or just to put up in your schoolroom as you are learning about Beethoven!

Favorite Beethoven Recordings

One of the easiest ways to expose our children to the music of Beethoven is just to play the music everywhere and often! Use these recordings to help:

And of course, the best way to learn about a composer’s music is to LISTEN. This video should give you enough to listen to for a while!

Learn About Beethoven in SQUILT LIVE!

In October we are celebrating the music of Ludwig van Beethoven.

Join us for the month and receive TWO live lessons (taught by Mary, a degreed music specialist), a 31 day Beethoven listening calendar, and access to our ENTIRE archives, which includes over 25 video lessons and printable lesson packets.

A SQUILT LIVE! membership is perfect for children preschool - middle school. Our lessons appeal to all ages learning together.

Posted on September 26, 2018 and filed under Composer Study, books, how to teach music apprec, music appreciation.

3 Ways to Build the Habit of Attention Through Music Appreciation

In an increasingly fast-paced age, our children are left with precious few opportunities to slow down. They are left with little time to be STILL, silent, and contemplative. 

The education pioneer, Charlotte Mason, so aptly stated this concern:

It is impossible to overstate the importance of this habit of attention. It is, to quote words of weight, ‘within the reach of every one, and should be made the primary object of all mental discipline’; for whatever the natural gifts of the child, it is only so far as the habit of attention is cultivated in him that he is able to make use of them.
— Home Education by Charlotte M. Mason Vol. I, p. 146

Our children are unable to make use of their natural gifts unless we cultivate the HABIT OF ATTENTION in them. 

Listening to music is a perfect way to cultivate this habit. 

It is good news for parents and educators there is no shortage of beautiful music to place in front of our children!


3 Ways to Build the Habit of Attention Through Music Appreciation


Sustained Listening

Any habit we are wanting our children to master should be approached in incremental bits.

Start with short periods of listening and progress from there. 

Preschool and Kindergarten age children may only be able to listen quietly for two minutes. Older children can work their way up to an 8-10 minute piece.

This Super Quiet UnInterrupted Listening Time Essentials playlist provides many pieces your child can practice with.


Encourage your child to close their eyes, place their head on the table (or lay in a comfortable spot) and simply listen. Ask them to form a picture in their heads of what the music sounds like.

The more a child practices this skill, the better they become.

One day you will be able to take them to listen to a 45 minute Beethoven symphony and they will have no trouble listening and attending.


Active Listening

What if you have a child who simply CANNOT sit still and quiet for any amount of time to listen to a piece of music?

Give your child one simple task to complete while listening. Tell them you are going to play a piece of music and as long as the music is playing they must be engaged in that task - NOT talking or doing anything else!

  • building with LEGOS
  • drawing
  • playing with Playdoh
  • coloring a picture of the composer or instruments
  • a type of handicraft - stringing beads, knitting, etc...

Download our popular Draw What You Hear sheet to use during this time. 



Captive Listening

This is the sneakiest way to build the habit of attention through listening to music.

There are many situations when our children are captive during the day - meal times, rest times, and riding in the car are among a few of these.

Start playing beautiful music during these times.

The SQUILT LIVE! Spotify playlist can help.

At SQUILT Music we are partnering with parents and educators to build a love and appreciation of beautiful music from all eras.

Investigate our learning opportunities today!


You might also like:

15 Picture Books About Music

5 Fun Classical Pieces for Kids

Learn About Charles Ives: What Charlie Heard

Let's add to our growing list of music and book pairings!

Our subject is Charles Ives, the American composer who changed the landscape of music in the Modern Era. 

Through the book, What Charlie Heard, (along with another picture book about Ives), and the music lesson presented in this post, your children can learn about this musical pioneer - whose music was often SHOCKING and UNANTICIPATED.

Complimentary Lessons About Music & Stories: What Charlie Heard (Charles Ives)

Read the Story: What Charlie Heard

The extremely busy illustrations draw children into this picture book immediately. And, from the very first sentence we know that Charles Ives was going to become something great: 

"Charles Ives was born with his ears wide open."

Taking the reader on a trip through Charlie's childhood in New England, the author (Mordicai Gerstein) shows all of the places, events, and influences that would shape the music of the older Charles Ives. Interestingly enough, music was Ives' second career - his first was as an extremely successful insurance salesman.

His Third Symphony won a Pulitzer Prize, and when Leonard Bernstein and the New York Philharmonic broadcast his Second Symphony from Carnegie Hall, his music was known all across America - and eventually all around the world!

The fun thing about Ives' music is the way he chose to combine instruments (even two marching bands at one time!), and use snippets of already familiar folk tunes and hymns to create a uniquely American sound.


Learn About Charles Ives' Variations on America

Before we learn about one of Charles Ives' most famous pieces, his Variations on America, let's listen to the original "America" - also known as "My Country 'Tis of Thee". 

Samuel Smith wrote this song (which eventually became America's unofficial national anthem). It was his intent to write a song that would allow the American people to give their praise to God for their wonderful land. 

My Country 'Tis of Thee has become even an international favorite - being used in England as "God Save the Queen/King".

(You might also enjoy the picture book My Country 'Tis of Thee, which chronicles the interesting history of the song.)

Have your children watch this video. Note the beautiful chorus that sings the song, and how it stirs up our patriotic emotions. It was these emotions that Charles Ives wanted to build upon when he composed his Variations on America.

Theme and Variations?

In music, we have a certain form (a way of organizing a piece of music) called Theme and Variations. 

In Ives' piece the THEME is the main theme  -- the "My Country 'Tis of Thee" melody. The VARIATIONS are those changes to the main theme that Ives makes throughout the piece. 

The overall form of this piece is a theme and 6 variations

Charles Ives wrote this piece for pipe organ - although over time it has been arranged for band and orchestra as well. 

Listen to the piece -- can you hear the main theme?  Can you hear the variations?

( Hint:  The first variation begins at 1:46. )

This piece is SUCH FUN!  Just watch the organist explore the possibilities of sound on the organ and you will be delighted!

Now, how about a different arrangement of the same piece? This time - a symphony orchestra!


In our SQUILT LIVE! lessons for the end of June, 2018 we explore this piece in greater depth - following a listening map to learn where the variations begin and end, characteristics of each, etc...

Draw What You Hear

As your children listen to the music, encourage them to draw what they hear.

They can also listen for the different variations and what makes them sound different - different instruments, major vs. minor, etc...

Some children may want to complete a drawing for each of the variations they hear. 

Let them be creative - the point is to enjoy the music and to think critically about what they are hearing. 

More Music By Charles Ives

Play more music by Charles Ives for your children. Here are a few good pieces to get you started.



Variations on America will be one of pieces I teach about LIVE this summer in the SQUILT LIVE! membership.

We'll spend 45 minutes learning about the piece - the instrumentation, rhythm, mood, tempo, dynamics, and more!

It's going to be a wonderful summer of learning about patriotic music. Don't miss it!

Posted on June 18, 2018 and filed under books, Free Lessons.

15 Picture Books About Music

Children can learn just about anything from a beautiful picture book.

In our ongoing efforts to bring quality music to children, we're bringing you complimentary music lessons that go along with some of our favorite picture books. 

Following is a list of 15 of our favorite picture books that have music connections. There are SO MANY MORE, but these are 15 that have been used, well-loved, and requested time and again. They are also books that will naturally go along with many of our SQUILT self-directed music appreciation volumes and our SQUILT LIVE! lessons.

Let these suggestions provide a springboard for developing a love and appreciation of composers, instruments, and music in general! 


15 Picture Books About Music

Picture Books About Performers

{The four books in this category spotlight Jazz musicians who have broken racial barriers to become legendary performers, composers, and musical pioneers.}

In our SQUILT LIVE! studies this year we will focus on African-Americans and Jazz in February, Black History Month. 



This Caldecott Honor book, written by Troy "Trombone Shorty" Andrews is the story of his childhood growing up in New Orleans and falling in love with the "musical gumbo" of the city.

The message of the book is very powerful - and it also inspires young children to become musicians.  Children can learn about Jazz, New Orleans, the trombone, and much more!


When Marian Sang

When Marian Sang: The True Recital of Marian Anderson


 This book serves as a wonderful, approachable introduction to opera and also the struggles of an African-American opera singer in the United States.

~ "Marian knew about prejudice. She had seen the trolley drive past her family as they stood at the corner. She knew that her people were always the last to be helped in a store. But she could not understand how anyone who was surrounded by the spirit and beauty of music could be so narrow-minded."

Marian Anderson's (1897-1993) journey to a performance on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial was long and fraught with prejudice, presidential involvement, and the breaking down of walls that sometimes only music can accomplish. The gorgeous illustrations and text from so many famous songs will engage readers of all ages. 


Skit-Skat Raggedy Cat

This book - actually a short first chapter book - is the perfect introduction to Ella Fitzgerald and Scat Singing! 

To learn about an African American music pioneer - who was also a woman - is important for our children. And.... this is ELLA FITGERALD, whose music is fun and engaging for adults and children alike. 

Children will love learning a little more about Ella and listening to her radio hit from the 1930's, A Tisket A Tasket!




Duke Ellington: The Piano Prince and His Orchestra

The perfect companion to Ella Fitzgerald is Duke Ellington, one of the pioneers of Jazz.  (He can really fall into the composer category, too!)

The Duke Ellington Orchestra played at the Cotton Club in New York City for five years and brought the new sounds of Jazz to that city. 

Duke Ellington is now regarded as one of the most innovative performers, composers, and conductors in history. 

"Because of Duke's genius, his Orchestra now had a musical mix like no other. Now you've heard of the jazz-playin' man. The man with the cats who could swing with his band. King of the Kyes. Piano Prince. Edward Kennedy Ellington. The Duke."

Picture Books About Composers

Most people have heard of Bach, Mozart, Sousa, and Gershwin;  you may not, however, know about Cristofori or Ives.

The six books in this category cover composers from the Baroque to Modern Eras. 

(And, if you are familiar with our SQUILT Musical Eras series, being able to place a composer in a musical era and identify the era by the sound of the music is a skill children can get quite good at!)


Becoming Bach

JS Bach is one the composers all children should learn about. (He's even one of our SQUILT Spotlight composers!)

This GORGEOUS book - told from the perspective of Johann Sebastian Bach - features large two-page spreads that completely captivate the eye. Younger children, in particular, will gravitate towards this book because of its simplicity and vivid illustrations.

The story also provides a lot of information about the legendary Bach family tree and JS Bach's obsession with patterns in music. 



We don't often give much thought the invention of the piano - when it was invented, why it was invented, and WHO invented it. 

This book is perfect for your young piano players, as well as any reader who wants to learn about this instrument. 

We like the book because it also gives readers a lot of musical terms, which we strive to incorporate in all of our SQUILT lessons!




Mozart: Scenes from the Childhood of the Great Composer

This is one you'll just have to reserve from your library, because it is difficult to find it anywhere to purchase. 

Narrated by Mozart's sister, Nannerl, this book provides an insight into the childhood of Wolfi (Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart). It is interesting because it also provides a glimpse into the fact that his sister could have been every bit as famous as Mozart - if it weren't socially unacceptable for women to be professional musicians in the Classical Era. 

The book takes us on the travels of Nannerl and Wolfi - with their triumphs and tragedies. 

Mozart was quite a character as a youngster, and children can relate to him quite well. For this reason, Mozart is always a favorite when we learn about him in our SQUILT LIVE! classes!



Anything written by Patricia Polacco is wonderful, and her historical fiction picture book about the ducks at the Peabody Hotel in Memphis is no exception! 

Based on the actual ducks at the hotel, Polacco gives us John Philip Duck - one very special duck who is trained to perform to the music of the legendary John Philip Sousa - known as The March King. 

You might also enjoy our complimentary music lesson to go along with this book! 

(And we think a trip to the Peabody Hotel is definitely in order, too!)



The Music in George's Head

This story - which traces George Gershwin's life and what influenced him to write Rhapsody in Blue - helps children learn more about this American Modern Era great.

"It was on the train, with its steely rhythms, its rattle-ty-bang that is often so stimulating to a composer...And there I suddenly heard - and even saw on paper - the complete construction of the rhapsody, from beginning to end."

A reading of this story will naturally be followed by listening to Rhapsody in Blue, which is a piece all children be familiar with. 




What Charlie Heard

The illustrations in What Charlie Heard perfectly reflect the music of Charles Ives - unexpected, sometimes chaotic, and FUN! 

One of our SQUILT LIVE! composers for the summer of 2018, Charles Ives developed a unique AMERICAN sound. He gained inspiration from everyday things in his daily life in New England. 

After reading this book we might wonder where the future of music history (does that make sense?) is headed -- in 100 years what will children be studying that reflects our current day?


Other Picture Books About Music


The Story of the Incredible Orchestra

This book serves as the perfect general introduction to the instruments of the orchestra. Once children are able to identify instruments by sight and sound they are then able to speak quite articulately about a piece of music!

( Tip: Use our Meet The Instruments cards and curated videos to learn along as you read this book. )



A retelling of the classic Brothers Grimm story, The Bremen Town Musicians is just a FUN read for your children! It's one of those "must know" stories for childhood.

Younger children especially will enjoy making sounds to go along with each of the animals in their journey to Bremen Town - maybe even gathering some rhythm instruments and playing along to make it extra fun. 




This book - a Reading Rainbow selection - is a sweet story that encourages children to think about their elders in different ways.

Reading the book can spark discussions about the music our grandparents enjoyed, and how favorite music can vary from place to place. 

Such a SWEET book that your children will remember for a long time.



The Singing Snake

Teach your children about the DIGERIDOO with this beautifully illustrated book!  

We guarantee your children will ALWAYS remember the instrument and where we get the expression "snake in the grass". 

In a recent reading of this book to a group of children, you could have heard a PIN DROP because of the children's anticipation of what was going to happen to the main character in this story. It's truly a fun story that will have your children begging you to play the sound of the digeridoo when it is over!


My Country 'Tis of Thee: How One Song Reveals the History of Civil Rights

A large part of music is SONG, and this book teaches children about the history of Civil Rights through one song.

Tracing the song from Colonial days all the way until modern times, we learn the power of a song and its lyrics - and how those lyrics can inspire and empower generations of people. 

This is a song all children should know - and this book does a beautiful job of helping us teach it to them! 



Trombone ShortyWhen Marian Sang: The True Recital of Marian AndersonSkit-Scat Raggedy Cat: Candlewick Biographies: Ella FitzgeraldDuke Ellington: The Piano Prince and His OrchestraBecoming BachThe Music of Life: Bartolomeo Cristofori & the Invention of the PianoMozart: Scenes from the Childhood of the Great Composer (Windy Edge) (2005-04-30)John Philip DuckThe Music in George's Head: George Gershwin Creates Rhapsody in BlueWhat Charlie HeardThe Story of the Incredible Orchestra: An Introduction to Musical Instruments and the Symphony OrchestraBremen Town MusiciansGeorgia MusicThe Singing SnakeMy Country, 'Tis of Thee: How One Song Reveals the History of Civil Rights


Join us at any time for live music appreciation lessons - let your children do the learning while you take a break!

Posted on June 15, 2018 and filed under books.

John Philip Duck & The Washington Post March

Music and literature can be paired together beautifully.

As we teach our children to appreciate good music, we can engage them with quality literature as well. 

This post is the first in a series of music and book pairings.

These quick, easy (and 100% FREE) lessons will expose your children to a piece of music, a composer, and a story.

Of course, we're always here with music appreciation volumes and our SQUILT LIVE! program to help you give your children MORE, as well.


Music and a Story: John Philip Duck & The Washington Post March

Read the Story - John Philip Duck


This is a delightful story that immediately makes you want to turn on that march music. What a perfect way to learn about The March King, John Philip Sousa.

"Edward loves his pet duck more than anything. He raised it from a baby, and now it follows him everywhere - even to the big fancy hotel in Memphis where he works with his father. Everyone at the Peabody loves to watch that little duck do tricks; why, it can even waddle up and down in time to a John Philip Sousa march, which is why Edward decides to name it John Philip.

But one day the hotel owner finds John Philip in his lobby fountain and he is NOT amused. Until Edward has an idea. What if he can train a bevy of ducks to march along behind him, swim in the fountain all day, and then march out every evening? If Edward can do that, the owner tells him, he and John Philip will have a permanent place at the Peabody. But can it really be done?"

(via Amazon)


Learn More About The Washington Post March

Watch the following video with your children - it uses the first section of the music to give some interesting facts about the march.


Watch this United States Air Force Band perform the entire march. 

Can you move around the room to the beat?

Maybe you have drums or other rhythm instruments to use to respond to the beat?

This isn't "sit still and listen" music - it's is MOVEMENT music!


Draw What You Hear

Give your children this Draw What You Hear Sheet. Have them listen to the music and draw whatever comes to their minds.


Learn More About John Philip Sousa

Use the following links to learn more about the composer, John Philip Sousa:




When you join SQUILT LIVE! you receive access to our entire archive of recorded lessons. In the summer of 2018 we focused on Patriotic Music - there is a gold mine of lessons to be enjoyed by your children!

Additionally, all SQUILT LIVE! members receive 2 live lessons each month, a specially curated monthly listening calendar, and 20% off all products in the SQUILT store.

SQUILT LIVE! will take care of your child’s entire music appreciation education for you! It’s easy!

Music Appreciation for Summer

Summer is the perfect time to give your children something different - something you might not have included during the regular school year.

The summer months are also the time when we celebrate our patriotic holidays - Memorial Day, July 4th, and Labor Day. 

A knowledge of American music is essential - the music of American composers reflects our history, values, emotions, and attitudes. Music allows us to celebrate, reflect, and truly see into the spirit of people.

Join us this summer as we explore American music - best of all, parents/teachers don't have to do a thing. Let ME teach your children in live music appreciation sessions each month!

Music Appreciation to Celebrate America 

Several broad categories of American music are included - March, Folk, Broadway, and Symphonic.  (We have already studied Ragtime and Scott Joplin in our SQUILT LIVE! lessons this past year.. download a video sample of that lesson for FREE! )

(In our LIVE! lessons we will celebrate the life of Leonard Bernstein. His 100th birthday would have been in August. The impact he had on American music is tremendous.)

Play these pieces for your children. Do a little research about each one. Learn about the composers. Draw pictures. Encourage your little ones to respond with movement.

A list of books to go along with this theme is also provided at the end of the post.

Six pieces are given here. If your children want more, simply look for other pieces by the same composer. You can always fall down a music rabbit hole quite easily! 


In our monthly SQUILT LIVE! lessons we will be exploring these pieces in greater depth, and learning more American music through our monthly listening calendars. PLUS, when you join SQUILT LIVE! you immediately receive access to over 200 hours of archived lessons and teaching materials. 

Join before June 1 and take advantage of our low introductory rates!


The Waltzing Cat by Leroy Anderson


Variations on America by Charles Ives


Washington Post March by John Philip Sousa


Oh, Susanna! (arranged for orchestra) by Stephen Foster


Overture to Candide by Leonard Bernstein


Mambo from West Side Story by Leonard Bernstein



Books to Enhance the Music

What Charlie HeardJohn Philip DuckMy Country, 'Tis of Thee: How One Song Reveals the History of Civil RightsAmerica My Country 'Tis of Thee: An American Song About Freedom (Patriotic Songs)Music Was IT: Young Leonard Bernstein88 InstrumentsM is for Melody: A Music Alphabet (Art and Culture)


Enjoy a summer of music appreciation with your children!

I'd love for your children to join us in SQUILT LIVE! this summer -- parents love the flexibility, convenience, and ease of use for MULTIPLE ages!

“We began using the SQUILT program last year and my daughter has enjoyed it but having the opportunity for her to learn directly from you is a blessing!”
— SQUILT LIVE! parent
“I am so pleased with what you put together. I am teaching 5 children in a co-op. Their ages and abilities vary. It’s so rewarding to see them learning this material, and being excited about it. “
— SQUILT LIVE co-op teacher
“You are such a blessing. We are thankful to have you and your love for music as part of our homeschool and part of our lives. Though we may only spend an hour “with” you during our Live sessions, your spirit and passion stay with us long after.

Thank you for making music magical.”
— SQUILT LIVE! parent
Posted on May 17, 2018 and filed under books, holidays, SQUILT LIVE!.

5 Reasons to Join SQUILT LIVE!

Children deserve a quality music education.

Music represents everything beautiful in the world. It gives us a window into the lives of composers in different eras. It puts us in touch with each other's humanity. It elicits feelings and emotions like nothing else can.

Music is a gift - one that is so very simple to give to our children.

Through Super Quiet UnInterrupted Listening Time, children learn the essential elements of music through listening to beautiful music. They practice the habit of attention. They develop a repertoire of pieces they enjoy and can keep in their memory bank forever.

Children have been using our SQUILT PDF music appreciation curriculum for years. 

Through our simple, effective lessons - that are 100% scripted for the parents/teachers - children's vocabulary of and appreciation for music can be broadened and nurtured. 

Now, we've made things even EASIER for parents and teachers. 

Enter SQUILT LIVE -- where a music appreciation expert (Mary) teaches live, online lessons to children.


Here are the top five reasons to join SQUILT LIVE!


SQUILT LIVE! Makes Music Fun!

Our students are engaged throughout their live lessons. 

Through listening maps, chants, hand motions, silliness with their teacher, and interactions with each other, SQUILT LIVE! lessons are something children anticipate with joy! 

Many times a composer's life will provide interesting tidbits for children to latch on to - such as the fact that Tchaikovsky was afraid his head was going to fall off while conducting, so he conducted with one hand while holding his head on with the other! (I'm pretty sure when children hear The Nutcracker from then on they will imagine Tchaikovsky holding his head on! )

In the weekly email sent out to SQUILT LIVE! parents each week there will be suggested resources, books, and other engaging materials to make the subject come alive for children.

Music is FUN! 

And guess what?  If our children associate learning about beautiful music with fun and happiness NOW, those feelings will translate throughout their life.


This student is moving according to which instrument family she hears during a lesson about The Chinese Dance - from The Nutcracker.


NO Work for the Parent

Wouldn't it be nice to not have to worry about this one thing?

A membership in SQUILT LIVE! assures you of this: all lesson preparation and teaching is DONE. Not only that, but it is done by a professional music teacher (Miss Mary) with over 25 years of experience in classrooms, churches, piano studios, co-ops, and homeschool. 

One of the hidden benefits of SQUILT LIVE!, however, is that parents are learning right along with their children. It's a great opportunity for YOU to reclaim your own music education!

These children are learning that the Modern Era of music can be SURPRISING!


SQUILT LIVE! Builds a Habit of Attention

Each live lesson includes an extended period of time to simply LISTEN. 

The children, however, aren't just letting their minds wander. They are listening for the specific elements in a piece of music - things like Rhythm, Tempo, Dynamics, Instrumentation, and Mood.

Even our youngest listeners (ages 3 and 4) are able to listen to 4-5 minutes of a piece of music and articulate their feelings about that piece, whether it is through verbal narration or drawing what they hear. 

How often in our world today do we require a child to sit for five minutes and just LISTEN to something without words?

(I would challenge many adults to do this without becoming restless.)


Children Learn the Vocabulary of Music

Our seasoned SQUILT LIVE! students know their Elements of Music well and can use them in a discussion about a piece of music.

This child is listening to Mozart's Variations on a French Nursery Theme (we now know it as Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star) and recording her impression about each one of the variations. 

Our Elements of Music posters can be quite helpful to children when learning to speak and write about music, too.


Children OF ALL AGES Gain a Lifelong LOVE of Beautiful Music

Children are sponges, and if we expose them to things of beauty consistently they will naturally crave them. 

We are building happy memories around music - creating a musical culture in the home. 

Just as an adult who loves reading was most likely exposed to books as a child, so an adult who loves music probably grew up in a home where music was valued and appreciated.

These children demonstrate how music from the Romantic Era can be happy AND sad.

Children ranging in age from 3-13 enjoy our live lessons. In fact, the lessons work particularly well with multiple ages sitting around the kitchen table learning together! We provide something for all ages to keep their hands busy and express themselves while listening.

It's a BEAUTIFUL thing.

Watch a SQUILT LIVE! Lesson and Decide for Yourself


Click below to gain exclusive access to a SQUILT LIVE! lesson about Scott Joplin's Maple Leaf Rag. This is a fun one! Children following a listening map to learn about one of the most famous Ragtime pieces ever written! 


What are you waiting for? 

Begin giving your children a quality music appreciation TODAY!


Posted on May 3, 2018 and filed under Free Lessons, SQUILT LIVE!.

Learn About Chopin's Minute Waltz

One of the most approachable and memorable piano works for children is the "Minute" Waltz, by Frederic Chopin.

As we seek to spread a feast of beautiful music before our children, we must not neglect the piano music of Chopin. 

Known as the Poet of the Piano, Chopin was one of the defining composers of the Romantic Era.

Learning about the Waltz in D flat minor, Opus 64, no. 1 (otherwise known as the "Minute" Waltz) is the perfect entry point. The piece is short, evokes a vivid mental image, and has quite the clever story to accompany it. 

The Minute Waltz is the perfect piece to add to your child's growing music appreciation repertoire.


Learn About Chopin's Minute Waltz

The Minute Waltz

Written in 1847 by Frederic Chopin, this waltz was first known as The Waltz of the Little Dog, because Chopin watched a little dog - named Marquis - chasing its tail while he was composing the music! The dog was a friend of Chopin's and Chopin actually wrote about him in several of his letters.


Children can learn all about Frederic Chopin through reading the beautiful biographies,

Son of Poland (Early Years) and Son of Poland (Later Years). 


This piece is now commonly referred to as the "Minute" Waltz. (and yes - pronouncing it like the unit of time - one minute)

As your children listen to this piece, point out to them that the TEMPO (speed of the beat) is Molto Vivace, which is Italian for very lively.

But here's the thing...

The piece takes LONGER than one minute to play.

It is actually called the "Minute" Waltz because it is a small (miniature) waltz.   (How about a lesson in homonyms?)

If you listen carefully, you will hear that the waltz has two distinctly different sections - an A and a B section. The overall FORM of the waltz is ternary (3 parts) - or ABA.

Chopin's Minute Waltz


Enjoy this video all about the Minute Waltz - including a challenge for your children at the end!

This piece is one of many we learn about in our live music appreciation lessons - SQUILT LIVE! To access our ENTIRE ARCHIVES of recorded lessons, lesson packets, teaching videos, and more, simply join our monthly music appreciation membership! 

Designed to make music appreciation easy, enjoyable, and approachable, the lessons are engaging and fun. If you cannot attend the live lessons, we make recordings available.

AND, a subscription to SQUILT LIVE! also comes with monthly listening calendars, product discounts, teaching tips, and a special members-only SQUILT volume - SQUILT Goes to the Movies.

Come learn about beautiful music today in SQUILT LIVE!


Posted on March 16, 2018 and filed under Composer Study, Homeschool Curriculum, music appreciation.

Classical Music Inspired by Birds

Nature is the inspiration for so many beautiful pieces of art and music.

With spring just around the corner, it's a good time to listen to classical music inspired by birds. 

Whether you share these pieces just for their intrinsic musical value or incorporate them into a study of birds in your home, school, or co-op, we think they're a charming addition to any child's music appreciation repertoire!

Included are a few teaching and listening suggestions and a free printable to make the most of this charming music with your children.

We hope you enjoy this music "for the birds"!

Classical Music Inspired by Birds

Teaching This Music to Children

Each piece below has a few points for discussion. Children can also draw while they are listening, using this Draw What You Hear Sheet.

Children love this activity because it is creative, low-stress, and allows them to actively listen. Of course, we always encourage a first listening of the piece when everyone is SUPER QUIET - thus Super Quiet UnInterrupted Listening Time! Then, the second time they can respond verbally or by drawing.


There are pieces from each of the four major eras of music. To explore these even deeper you might be interested in our Musical Eras series


10 Pieces of Classical Music Inspired by the Birds


Vivaldi - Concerto in D Major ("The Goldfinch")

Listen for the flute in this concerto. Why is the flute a good instrument to imitate bird sounds?



Vivaldi - The Four Seasons, "Spring"

A very familiar piece, your children should easily hear the birds in this piece - can you hear the violins sounding like birds?


Handel - Concerto in F ("The Cuckoo & The Nightingale)

Listen for the pipe organ and how it imitates Cuckoo and Nightingale songs. Your children will also hear a Baroque orchestra and harpsichord. 



Beethoven - Pastoral Symphony

In this video from Fantasia it should be easy to picture the birds (although they are flying unicorns!) that Beethoven had in mind. If your children close their eyes can they picture a pastoral landscape that Beethoven was imagining when he wrote this symphony?




Saint-Saens - "The Swan" from The Carnival of the Animals

This Romantic era composer was a master at depicting animals! In this piece, from The Carnival of the Animals, Saint-Saens used the cello to imitate the graceful and peaceful movements of the swan. While not actually sounding like a bird call, this does sound like a swan, doesn't it?



Saint-Saens - "The Cuckoo in the Depths of the Woods" from The Carnival of the Animals

Here's another lovely piece by Saint-Saens - this time he uses a clarinet to depict the sound of the cuckoo. How many times do your children hear the cuckoo call?



Messiaen - The Blackbird

Messiaen was actually a master of musical ornithology. Listen to the play between the piano and the flute. What do you imagine is happening? Messiaen, a 20th century French composer, was known for meticulously depicting birdsong in his compositions.



Vaughn-Williams - The Lark Ascending

What does the word "ascending mean"? Can your children hear the violin music moving upwards? This music depicts the very free sounding song of the Skylark. This piece is a staple of classical music.



Rachmaninov - The Sea & The Gulls

In this musical painting, ask your children if they can hear the sea with the gulls swirling overhead? Can they use adjectives to describe the sounds? Remember, all answers are correct - you simply want to get your children listening critically.




Joplin - The Silver Swan

How about some Ragtime? Scott Joplin, the King of Ragtime, wrote this rag, "The Silver Swan". Why do you think it sounds like a swan?


Did you know we offer LIVE music appreciations online for children?  SQUILT LIVE! is a fun way to check music off of your list of the many things you have to do with your children - learn music from an EXPERT and fun doing it! 

Posted on February 28, 2018 and filed under Free Lessons, music appreciation.

Learn About Mozart - Free Listening Calendar

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart - perhaps the greatest composer who has ever lived.

(He is also one of our picks for the 5 Composers Children Will Enjoy.)

Children can relate to Mozart (affectionately nicknamed "Wolfie") because of his precocious nature and playful spirit. Children AND adults feel an immediate connection with Mozart because of his ordered, soothing, and quintessentially "Classical" music. 

Whether your children know a lot about music or just a little, learning about Mozart and HIS music is a gift they will retain for their entire lives.


Mozart for Kids - How to Easily Teach Children About This Composer - includes a free listening calendar

Keep it Simple

When you teach children about a composer, keep it simple. Don't force it. Learning about a composer should be enjoyable and stress free.

Many times you can sneak music in the back door - include it in your Morning Time, listen in the car, listen throughout the day. Add a read aloud about the composer you are studying. Provide yummy snacks while doing Super Quiet UnInterrupted Listening Time.

Be creative! Music is just a part of our lives!

Three things are essential for a memorable study:

  • Provide quality books about composers.
  • Immerse children in the composer's music.
  • Dig deeper to teach about the music itself.


At SQUILT Music we believe in a lot of Super Quiet UnInterrupted Listening Time to train children how to LISTEN TO , ANALYZE, and APPRECIATE beautiful music. 


Listen to a piece of music one time being SUPER quiet - after that initial listening you can listen again and begin to discuss what you heard. You would be amazed at how effective just LISTENING can be. 

Books About Mozart

 Our favorite biographies about composers are by Opal Wheeler. If a biography for a composer exists by Opal Wheeler, we always start there. Mozart, the Wonder Boy is a beautiful book about Mozart as a child. It gives our children insight into his genius - and they can relate to his childhood shenanigans, too! 

Thomas Tapper wrote very sweet biographies about composers, too. Most often you can find these on Project Gutenburg free of charge. The books are printable and a great keepsake for your studies. The Child's Own Book of Great Musicians: Mozart is perfect!

More Mozart books:

Who Was Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart?World History Biographies: Mozart: The Boy Who Changed the World With His Music (National Geographic World History Biographies)Mozart (Famous Children Series)Musical Genius: A Story about Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (Creative Minds Biography) (Creative Minds Biographies)Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart: Musical Genius (Famous Lives)Mozart : The Young MusicianMozart: 59 Fascinating Facts For Kids About Wolfgang Amadeus MozartWolfgang Amadeus Mozart (Famous Childhoods) by Turner, Barrie Carson (2003) Library BindingWolfgang Amadeus Mozart: World-Famous Composer (People of Importance)Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (Famous People)Mozart Finds a MelodyYoung MozartMozart, The Wonder Boy (Great Musicians Series)Child's Own Book of Great Musicians: Mozart (Illustrated)Lives of the Musicians: Good Times, Bad Times (and What the Neighbors Thought) by Krull, Kathleen [Paperback(2011/9/13)]



A Month of Mozart

Immerse your children in the music of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart by providing one piece of his music each day for your children to enjoy.

By the end of the month your children will EASILY be able to recognize a piece by Mozart and talk to you about what makes Mozart's music uniquely MOZART! 

This listening calendar is provided free to you this month - SQUILT LIVE! members receive a calendar like this each month to complement our music appreciation studies. 

Included are 31 pieces (with 2 by Leopold Mozart, Wolfgang's father) - and a few directions to make the most of the calendar. This calendar will provide your children with a rich exposure to Mozart's music.


Mozart Composer Spotlight

Our Mozart Composer Spotlight is then the perfect way to dig deeper into the life and music of Mozart. It will be the perfect addition to the month of Mozart should you choose to extend your child's learning.

Included in the spotlight are teaching instructions for three of Mozart's most famous works, notebooking pages, listening links, and supplemental activities. 

We explore the music of Mozart in depth and teach your children how to critically listen for rhythm, tempo, dynamics, instrumentation, and mood. You can use the study exactly as directed, or you can pick and choose what you have time for and will enjoy.

SQUILT studies are good for ALL ages, and especially for multiple ages learning together!

Mozart LIVE! Lessons in January

In January, 2018 our SQUILT LIVE! lessons will focus on the works of Mozart. 

Basically, you receive two live lessons - which includes instruction from Mary, lesson packets, and supplemental activities. You also receive access to EVERY SINGLE lesson in our archives - and the recorded lessons that go with them. 

Let us do ALL THE WORK of teaching for you - simply login to the webinar and let your children enjoy themselves while learning. 

Simple. Easy. Affordable. DONE.

Find out everything you need to know HERE.

Learning about beautiful music should be enjoyable and memorable. We hope this equips you to teach your children about Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart!




Posted on December 29, 2017 and filed under SQUILT LIVE!, Spotlights, music appreciation.