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.

Learn About The Nutcracker - with SQUILT LIVE!

The story of The Nutcracker provides an array of learning opportunities for children.

It is so much more than the childhood story of the Nutcracker fighting the Mouse King, or being able to recognize The Dance of The Sugarplum Fairy. 

The Nutcracker is a classic tale (actually first called "The Nutcracker and The Mouse King" by ETA Hoffman), commissioned as a ballet in 1891. The music, composed by Peter Ilyich Tchaikovksy, was almost an instant success, but it took over 100 years for the ballet as a whole to become a Christmas tradition.

Learning about Tchaikovsky's Nutcracker Suite is an enjoyable, meaningful, and worthy activity during the holiday season. Wouldn't it be wonderful to have your children become well versed in The Nutcracker - without you having to do a THING? 


Learn About the Nutcracker

One of our most popular products at SQUILT is The Nutcracker Unit Study, is a open-and-go curriculum piece that teaches children a little about the history of the story, ballet, and four prominent selections from the Nutcracker Suite.

This is a wonderful little introduction to a much LARGER and complicated work.

This year we are diving into the music of The Nutcracker in our SQUILT LIVE! music appreciation lessons.


SQUILT LIVE! is a new, membership-based option to make teaching your children about music appreciation EASY! 

It's been my heart's desire to teach children about beautiful music - my experience as a elementary music teacher as well as a homeschooling mom and curriculum developer - have uniquely equipped me for this exciting opportunity to work with children all over the world! 

Here's what people are saying about SQUILT LIVE!:

I am so pleased with what you put together. I am teaching 5 children in a co-op in Fridays. Their ages and abilities vary. It’s so rewarding to see them learning this material, and being excited about it.
— Lisa, homeschool mom
Mary’s vivacious spirit and love of the subject kept her attentive to the lesson. The music maps made following the music and learning easy and interesting. My daughter also enjoyed interacting with Mary and other learners by typing responses in the chat box.
— Cheri, homeschool mom

SQUILT LIVE! and The Nutcracker Suite

If you're looking for a fun study during December that is 100% done for you - with two live 45-minute music appreciation lessons, this is just the thing for you! 

What you receive:

  • A listening calendar for the month of December, featuring every piece from The Nutcracker Suite, as well as other popular Classical Christmas music.
  • TWO live lessons -- the week of December 4 and December 18 - focusing on The Chinese Dance and The Dance of The Reed Flutes.
  • TWO extensive lesson packets for each of the pieces, including listening maps, supplemental activities, and background on the ballet and Tchaikovsky.
  • Access to the ENTIRE SQUILT LIVE! archives - which includes 8 recorded lessons and all listening packets and calendars - this is a HUGE VALUE!
  • 20% discount on all SQUILT products as long as you are a member.
  • Extra surprise supplemental Nutcracker material available to members only! 



All of this is only $15 -- that's right, only $15!

I'd love for you to join us for a month of Nutcracker and fun! Let me be your private music appreciation consultant. 

And, of course, I hope you decide to join us for longer than that -- most of our students ask to stay for longer than just one month.


Until the end of 2017 if you join for one year you receive 2 months free!



Do your children know about The Nutcracker? Tell me about it in the comments below!



    Posted on November 15, 2017 and filed under holidays, SQUILT LIVE!.

    Free Advent SQUILT Lesson

    Advent is all about waiting, expectation, and preparation. 

    What better way to convey this to our children than through the beautiful music and words of traditional Advent hymns? 

    When we finally arrive at Christmas Day our hearts have been yearning for the birth of Jesus - yearning for that peace and hope that only He can provide.

    Super Quiet UnInterrupted Listening Time can be used with hymns as well as with instrumental music. We are teaching our children the habit of listening, analysis, and appreciation. We are teaching our children when they hear a hymn there is SO MUCH MORE to it than we would realize.

    In each of our SQUILT Christmas Carol volumes we explore five different carols - this free lesson gives you a great idea of what a typical SQUILT Christmas Carol lesson looks like.  Enjoy!

    Free Advent Hymn Study from SQUILT Music Appreciation

    This download includes all listening links, notebooking pages, and teacher instructions.

    Two versions of this traditional Advent hymn by Charles Welsey are included.  The history of the hymn, as well as particular music elements, are explored. 

    The goal of each SQUILT lesson is expose your child to beautiful music, and to train them to listen for the essential elements of music - and then articulate those thoughts. 

    If you are familiar with the SQUILT lesson format, then you know exactly what this lesson looks like. If you AREN'T familiar with how a SQUILT lesson works, this is a perfect way to try out a lesson for FREE!  



    Click here to download the free Advent SQUILT lesson.

    More Holiday Music

    Take ONE thing off your plate. Let us teach your children music appreciation.

    Sit back and enjoy a cup of coffee... Or learn with us. 


    Posted on October 28, 2017 .

    5 Fun Classical Pieces for Kids

    Raising musical kids can sometimes seem challenging. One of the easiest ways to instill musicality is through LISTENING to music, and one of the easiest ways to introduce your children to Classical music is through GREAT Classical music.

    These five pieces are guaranteed to have your children asking for MORE.  Not only are these pieces staples in the world of Classical music, they are also fabulous examples of how much FUN music can be.

    Classical music need not be lofty or daunting. We must make it approachable and enjoyable for our children, and that is exactly what we do through the SQUILT Music Appreciation curriculum.

    Enjoy these pieces with your budding music lovers!

     5 Fun Classical Pieces for Kids

    Zadok the Priest - Handel(Coronation Anthem)

    This piece, written for George II's coronation in 1727, has been used at the coronation of EVERY British monarch since that date!

    The entire piece uses only five lines of text:

    Zadok the Priest, and Nathan the Prophet anointed Solomon King.

    And all the people rejoiced, and said:

    God save the King! Long live the King!

    May the King live for ever,

    Amen, Allelujah.

    Ludwig van Beethoven considered  Handel the greatest composer, and once said of him: “I would bare my head and kneel at his grave.".

    We guarantee your children will fall in love with this gem of a piece!

    The Pizzicato Polka - Strauss

    Johann Strauss composed it with his brother Josef in 1869 for a trip to Russia. It was published in 1870. 

    This piece is a simple example of a piece in TERNARY FORM - which simply means there is an "A" section, then something different (the "B" section), and then the return of the A. It's a common form used in music and easily recognized by children.

    In a recent SQUILT LIVE! lesson we learned about the meaning of PIZZICATO -- the plucking of strings on a stringed instrument with one's finger. The Pizzicato Polka is a perfect illustration of the definition.

    This interpretation of the Pizzicato Polka is sure to drop some jaws.

    We love it! 

    Hungarian Dance #5 - Brahms

    Also completed in 1869 were a set of 21 Hungarian Dances by Johannes Brahms.  One of the most popular of this set is the fifth.

    This piece has so many changes in TEMPO (speed of the beat) and DYNAMICS (louds and softs) that it makes it very interesting for children.

    We especially love Charlie Chaplin's interpretation in the video below! 

    The Can Can (from Orpheus in the Underworld) - Offenbach

    Offenbach, a French Romantic composer, leaves us the legacy of The Can Can -- a piece that your children will surely know once they hear it! 

    The cancan first appeared in the working-class ballrooms of Montparnasse in Paris in around 1830. It comes from Offenbach's operetta 'Orpheus in the Underworld'.

    The word Can-Can in french originally meant "scandal," or edge, because the dancers performed on the edge of the stage.

    (We won't go into the complete history of The Can Can, because it was actually the beginning of some risque dancing in Paris in the 1800s -- we simply know it today as the high kicking dancers that amaze us with their flexibility and agility!)

    Flight of the Bumblebee - Rimsky-Korsakov

    Finally, this piece - coming in at just 1:20, is an example of a very fast TEMPO -- Presto, meaning fast and furious, is perfectly illustrated.

    You can find many different versions of this piece out there, but we love this particular one by The Canadian Brass, because it is SO difficult to play this piece on a brass instrument.

    Little did the composer of this piece (Rimsky-Korsakov) know that this incidental music - included in one of his operas - would turn out to be one of the most popular pieces in the entire world. 

    To learn more about great music, SQUILT Music has a series of volumes and a live lesson option to assist parents and music educators.

    Check out our offerings and see how we can help you today!  

    Do you have a fun piece of classical music you'd like to recommend?  Share it with us in the comments below. 


    Take ONE thing off your plate. Let us teach your children music appreciation.

    Sit back and enjoy a cup of coffee... Or learn with us. 


    Posted on September 30, 2017 and filed under music appreciation.

    Music Appreciation for Fall

    Fall is the perfect season to include music appreciation in your children's education. The days are growing shorter and chilly weather inspires us to spend more time indoors with cozy activities. 

    Super Quiet UnInterrupted Listening Time is the perfect way to build a love of great music as well as a habit of attention in children. 

    We want to help your children "fall in love with music" this fall! Our latest offering, SQUILT LIVE!, brings a music appreciation expert into your home to engage and excite your elementary and middle grades children.

    From Autumn (from The Four Seasons) by Vivaldi to The Maple Leaf Rag by Scott Joplin, we will be exploring music from the Baroque and Modern eras this October. Through live online lessons and a PDF listening calendar, students will learn about these two extremely different eras of music. They will become familiar with instrumentation, rhythms, composers, and much more.

    Here's a sneak peek of how we'll fall in love with music this October:

    The Maple Leaf Rag

    This piece, written by Scott Joplin in The Modern Era, is the unofficial anthem of Ragtime - a distinctly American style of music. 

    As we listen to this piece (performed on the piano) we will talk about syncopation, form, and the beginnings of jazz. 

    The Maple Leaf Rag draws children in because of its catchy ragtime rhythms. Often we need to meet children where they are, and a piece like The Maple Leaf Rag does just that.   In our live lesson we will use a listening map to follow the music and learn about its form.



    "Autumn" from The Four Seasons

    This piece, quite the opposite of The Maple Leaf Rag, has a stately elegance and inherent beauty that appeals to children and adults alike. 

    One of the most popular pieces ever written, The Four Seasons, is a piece we can learn so much from - form, instrumentation, and mood will be discussed in our live lessons. 

    Antonio Vivaldi was one of the Baroque greats, and we will listen to many more pieces by him in our October listening calendar. 


    Each of these live lessons comes with a printable lesson packet.  SQUILT LIVE! students will make a notebook with listening maps, notebooking pages, and more. It allows them to create a beautiful collection of repertoire they love and have become familiar with - what a gift! 

    We also suggest extra musical activities for families that want to go a little bit further with their studies. 

    If you'd like to give your children the gift of music appreciation, we'd love to have you join SQUILT LIVE! Membership is flexible and affordable, designed for families on a budget that desire to give their children an exceptional music education.

    Posted on September 18, 2017 .

    Music and The Special Needs Child

    Music is powerful - especially powerful for children.

    If we exclude music from our children's education, we are depriving them of an entire WORLD of experiences, emotions, and creative processes.

    Music can help children relate to others, express themselves, and improve reasoning skills. (I could go on and on - there are SO MANY benefits.)

    Music is good for ALL CHILDREN - but it is especially good for children with special needs.

     Music and the Special Needs Child

    During my tenure in the elementary music classroom I taught thousands of students. These students were on all areas of the educational spectrum - from profoundly gifted to profoundly handicapped. 

    It was during those years I came to see the powerful affect music had on our special education children.  It shouldn't be all that surprising, really.  Music is the universal language. It appeals to each of us, and stirs up our deepest emotions.  It is a unique way to communicate our thoughts and feelings with and about the world. 

    Hans Christian Anderson once said:

    "Where words fail, music speaks."


    Why Music is Good for the Special Needs Child


    1.  Music Calms & Soothes

    I vividly recall having a child who was extremely agitated most of the time. He would come into our second grade music classroom and sit directly next to me on the piano bench.  

    That was my signal to start playing - normally I would play my favorite spiritual, "All Night All Day" - and this precious child would immediately become calm. It was as if his anxiety would melt away while I was playing the piano. 

    Consider what music can do for your own soul - then think about the gift it can be for a child who struggles with their emotions. 

    Simply playing beautiful music for a special needs child (no matter what their special need) can dramatically change their mood - and on a very practical level this can make life a lot easier for both them AND you.

    Try it:

    Here are a few pieces you can try -- just play them for the child and see if you don't notice a difference:

    The Swan - Camille Saint-Saens

    Lullaby - Johannes Brahms

    Air on the G String - Johann Sebastian Bach



    2. Music Provides an Outlet for Expression (Physically & Emotionally)

    Especially for children who struggle to communicate, music can provide them a vehicle for expression. 

    Give the child a simple rhythm band kit and let them experiment with the different instruments. 

    Many children are able to play a steady beat, come up with their own rhythm patterns, or copy what you are doing.  The wonderful thing about this is that NOTHING IS WRONG.   Creating and responding to music is subjective and non threatening - easy success for all children.

    What about marching, clapping, and dancing?  I have fond memories of a severely autistic child who loved to circle dance with me. That smile plastered on his face will live in my heart forever. 

    Try it:

    These pieces are fun to play for a child and see what response you will get -- just remember that sometimes it will be loud and not what you might deem beautiful - but that's OK.  It's about the joy and expression for our children.

    Tritsch Tratsch Polka - Johann Strauss

    Russian Dance from The Nutcracker - Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky

    Slavonic Dance #8 - Antonin Dvorak


    3. Music Can Motivate

    Do your remember the Clean Up Song?  I think millions of teachers and parents have used that song to motivate children to clean up!

    Take that same principle and apply it to your special needs child. 

    Perhaps you want to motivate your child to get more gross motor activity -- a piece that inspires marching and large movements might do the trick.  The same can apply for fine motor skills -- playing finger cymbals, triangles, and a host of other instruments can inspire a child in this area.

    I've seen non verbal children play a particular pattern on a drum to communicate "yes" and "no". 

    Having a special music time can also be a wonderful reward for a desired behavior.

    The list goes on and on --- there are so many ways you can use music to motivate the special needs child. 


    SQUILT and the Special Needs Child

    When I authored the very first SQUILT volumes, I had ALL CHILDREN in mind.  It is my prayer that these simple music appreciation volumes can be used with a variety of children. 

    Anyone can learn to appreciate music -- it's very non threatening, but highly rewarding.

    Super Quiet UnInterrupted Listening Time exposes children to all the great pieces of music, and gives teaching strategies, movement suggestions, listening cues, and so much more. 

    Remember, I WAS a teacher of children with special needs.  I've been there.  (We used SQUILT at the end of every single music class.)

    This music appreciation curriculum can work in your homeschool, co-op, or classroom - with special needs children. 

    • SQUILT is something everyone can do!
    • SQUILT provides a variety of music -- from calming and soothing music to active and loud -- there is something for everyone.
    • SQUILT allows you to dig deeper -- for the child that just can't rest until they know MORE.  I offer tons of supplemental listening suggestions and ways to dive into the music beyond the scripted lesson.

    Do you have an experience with music and the special needs child?  

    Share it in the comments below!

     Music and the Special Needs Child

    Take ONE thing off your plate. Let us teach your children music appreciation.

    Sit back and enjoy a cup of coffee... Or learn with us. 


    Posted on June 22, 2017 and filed under Special Needs.

    The Importance of Music in Children's Lives

    Knowledge of beautiful music enriches our children in so many ways. 

    This music represents all that is true, beautiful, and good - not to mention the emotional and intellectual benefits it provides.

    To be well rounded adults, our children should have a basic knowledge of music history - certain composers, certain pieces, and a basic understanding of the eras of music.

    Music Appreciation is something that often slips through the cracks because it's seen as secondary, or because we don't feel equipped to teach the finer points of a piece of music. 

    Never fear. At SQUILT Music we equip parents and educators to easily and enjoyably share great music with children and teach them its intricacies. We want to  spread the word about the importance of music and how to teach it to children.

    10 Reasons Music is Important for Children


    1. Music brightens the mood.

    The next time you are having a bad day, turn on your favorite music and take a break to sing, dance, or listen. You will be amazed at what music can do for a child who is in a funk. Try it next time!

    2. Studying music increases mathematical and scientific reasoning skills.

    From spatial awareness and pattern recognition in young children, to complex rhythmic (math) skills and discernment in older children, music is just GOOD for our children's math and science skills.

    3. All things become easier with music.

    Whether it is learning the capitals of the states, multiplication tables, or the three states of matter, facts can be more easily committed to memory with the aid of music.  Playing relaxing Classical music for children can also increase concentration.

    4. Learning to play an instrument builds a high level of decision making.

    Playing an instrument requires FOCUSED concentration with no distractions! The average piano player makes 7 decision per second while they are playing. 

    5. Learning to play an instrument builds DISCIPLINE.

    To achieve success on an instrument, a player must keep a disciplined practice schedule. This discipline is much like a muscle, that when strengthened helps in many other areas of life.

    6. Listening to beautiful music builds PATIENCE and FOCUS.

    Patience and focus are two things lacking in our children's lives. Through listening to a piece of music, a child may have to just SIT for as long as 10 minutes and simply LISTEN. (Do you know many adults that could do this without reaching for a device to check their email or social media?)

    7. Listening to music from a particular culture/time period gives children a glimpse into life at that point in time.

    Children can learn so much about history through music - the emotions conveyed by the composer and the style of music teach so much about an era of history.

    8. Sharing music with  family and friends increases emotional connections.

    Music is a universal language. Everyone has the ability to understand love music. Children can forge connections across generations with music. Children can bring so much joy to others through sharing musical talents. Knowing the same piece of music and being able to discuss it with someone builds commonality.

    9. Music allows children to express themselves.

    Whether it is through writing their own music, playing an instrument, or choosing their favorite piece to put on in the car - music is a unique form of expression for our children.

    10. Music is a reflection of all things beautiful in the world.

    Children inherently appreciate beauty, and the more we expose them to beautiful music, the more they appreciate their Creator. 

    How to Teach Music Appreciation to Your Children

    At SQUILT Music we have a very simple, three step approach to teaching music appreciation.

    Let's use Mozart's Rondo Alla Turca (Turkish March) as an example.


    Listen Quietly to the Piece of Music

    Have your child lay their head down, close their eyes, and simply LISTEN.  )Start with a short piece of music.) Tell them to just LISTEN for the music to tell them a story.  Maybe they can get a picture in their head while they listen. Do they recognize any instruments?  Just ENJOY the music without talking.


    Listen Again and This Time Record Your Thoughts

    In the SQUILT curriculum, the littlest of children can Draw What They Hear, and older children use a SQUILT Notebooking sheet. In the curriculum (almost scripted for the parent to read), we walk you through the elements of a piece of music - Rhythm and Tempo, Dynamics, Instrumentation and Mood.

    In Rondo Alla Turca we would emphasize that this is written for the PIANO, the tempo is Allegretto, the dynamics vary anywhere from piano to forte, and the mood is whatever a child feels it to be.

    Children learn, through exposure in several lessons, what instruments sound like, what the different terms are for tempo, dynamics, and other musical aspects. 

    We are teaching them the grammar of music, so they can apply this grammar to any piece of music they listen to in the future.

    The image at right is from Volume 2: The Classical Era -- notice how everything you need to know about walking your child through a piece of music is provided for you.


    Dig Deeper

    After listening and analyzing this Mozart piece, maybe you will be inspired to listen to more music by Mozart, learn about his life, or explore the history of the piano. 

    Once children listen consistently to great music you will find they want to know MORE! 

    In the SQUILT curriculum we provide follow up to each lesson, so that you can dig deeper with your children.  That's the fun part!


    Questions about how to teach music to your children?

    We're here to help!  Please download a lesson sample and give SQUILT a try! 

    Posted on June 1, 2017 and filed under music appreciation.

    25 Patriotic American Classical Music Pieces

    Music is a universal language we all have the capacity to understand and appreciate. 

    The ability to recognize and appreciate varied types of music is a gift we can give our children. Here at SQUILT Music it is our mission to equip families and educators to share music with children - to give that most precious of gifts to the next generation. 

    One of the many uses of music is preserve history. 

    In the 1700s a young America was developing its own national identity - and with that identity came a particular musical style. Over the course of the next 250 years that music would evolve and change. It would be written to commemorate battles, wars, victories, struggles, hopes, and fears. 

    When we teach our children to be familiar with this particularly "American" music, we are passing along our national pride and heritage. We are giving them a glimpse into the feelings of the people during that time, as heard through that music.


     25 Patriotic American Classical Music Pieces

    Whether it is the music of the march king, John Philip Sousa,  the stirring orchestral landscape music of Aaron Copland, the prolific compositions of Leonard Bernstein, or the rousing American music of George Gershwin, there is so much richness and beauty in American music.

    We've compiled the following 25 pieces for you to share with your children. You can research each piece and discuss its origins, or you can simply just LISTEN.  

    (These are just 25 of our favorites - there are so many more!)

    You will be amazed at how often your children will hear these pieces (especially around the American holidays) and they will feel such pride that YES, they do know them! 

    Our hope is that this supports you in your endeavors to pass along our uniquely American heritage to your children. 

    America is a tune. It must be sung together.
    — Gerald Stanley Lee

    Download your Patriotic American Music List.

    This download is open-and-go: simply click the links in the document to begin listening!



    To learn more about great music and share it with your children, check out our many Super Quiet UnInterrupted Listening Time options! 

    Take ONE thing off your plate. Let us teach your children music appreciation.

    Sit back and enjoy a cup of coffee... Or learn with us. 


    Posted on May 26, 2017 and filed under playlists, holidays.