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. 

 

You might also like:

25 Patriotic Classical American Pieces

10 Best YouTube Channels for Classical Music

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
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! 

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

10 Best YouTube Channels for Classical Music

We KNOW it is important to expose our children to beautiful music.

Each SQUILT Music Appreciation volume features carefully curated recordings of the best music to share with children.

In our quest to bring you the best curriculum, we have discovered several YouTube channels that are wonderful for children.

Use these channels throughout your day, during a Morning Time, meals, or at quiet and bedtimes.

It is our goal to help YOU bring beautiful music into the lives of your children.

10 Best YouTube Channels for Classical Music (to share with children)

Classical Tunes

This channel, designed to expose the novice listener to the best works in classical music by all of the major composers, is a treasure trove of listening!  It's perfect for just turning on as background music, or if you're looking to highlight a specific composer there is plenty here to choose from!

Halidon Music

Halidon Music is a European record label, and their YouTube Channel is fabulous! Take time to poke through the videos - one of our personal favorites is 10 Classical Music Pieces in the Movies. Children can learn a lot about music with this channel!

The Garden of Harmony

It was the art work on the covers that first attracted us to this channel, but there is an incredible amount of listening here - mostly from the 18th century, although you will find some from the late Renaissance to the present.  

Smalin

In many of our SQUILT Volumes we link to graphic scores. Children love to be able to "see" what the music looks like with a graphic representation. This channel will not disappoint!

London Philharmonic Orchestra

This channel is the official channel of the London Philharmonic, so there is A LOT here. Our favorite is The 50 Greatest Pieces of Classical Music playlist.  Wouldn't it be fun to listen to a piece each week? 

Classical Music Cartoons - King FM Family Page

So much fun! This radio station from the Northwest US has put together a playlist of cartoons featuring Classical music.  We like their whole channel, but the family page is really where you will want to focus!

Am4d3usM0z4rt

Yes, you are reading that right... look closely and you will see this is a channel dedicated exclusively to Mozart. We've all heard that Mozart makes us smarter and calms kids down, so this is a great channel! It would be wonderful to read some books about Mozart and immerse your child in his music - such an easy thing to do!

The Piano Guys

Ok, maybe this isn't purely "Classical", but The Piano Guys bring so much enjoyment, and do have many fun arrangements of Classical favorites.   (Our favorite is O Fortuna)

Valentina Lisitsa

The channel of this Ukranian pianist is beautiful - and a PERFECT way to share piano music with your children. She makes playing the piano look "cool" - you must share her simple performance of Fur Elise with your children!

SoliDeoGloria8550

Exactly what it looks like: "Soli Deo Gloria" - this channel is especially for all of the Classical educators out there - beautiful sacred music to share with your children.

 


10 Best YouTube Channels for Classical Music (to share with children)

Do you have any favorite YouTube channels to add?  

Let us know in the comments below!

You Might Also Like:

5 Pieces of Music Children Should Know

Best Books for Music Appreciation

Posted on March 27, 2017 and filed under YouTube Channels.

Lenten Listening Calendar

Music is an integral part of Lent.

The season of Lent (the time between Ash Wednesday and Easter Sunday - this year it is March 1 - April 15) is a time when we prepare our hearts and minds for the death and resurrection of Jesus.

From Medieval chants, Bach's liturgical music, and Martin Luther's hymns - to more contemporary hymns, there is a rich selection of music for the Lenten season.

Just as we can learn about eras of history through music, we can also learn about seasons of the church year through music. 

For Lent, we can immerse ourselves in music that quiets our hearts and minds - music that puts us in a contemplative and peaceful state.  We can memorize hymns rich with scripture.  We can place ourselves back in the early church as we listen to the Latin mass.

We can ultimately be drawn closer to God and his most precious gift to us, his Only Son.


SQUILT Music Appreciation is offering a free Lenten listening calendar.

This calendar includes a piece of music for each of the 40 days and 5 Sundays in Lent. Simply click the link on the day and you will be directed to a piece of sacred Lenten music. 

Also, we will send you a few emails to help you use the calendar in your home. At SQUILT Music Appreciation our goal is to make learning about and enjoying music as simple and low stress as possible!  It's such fun to hear from parents who are using and loving SQUILT in their homes!

I just wanted to thank you for making this available and sharing it for free. I have purchased a couple of your other curriculum and we really enjoy them. I can’t wait to use this calendar with my kids.
— Renee K. - SQUILT Customer
Posted on February 26, 2017 and filed under Free Lessons.

Learn About the Instruments of the Orchestra

Our mission at SQUILT music is to help parents and teachers foster a knowledge and appreciation of beautiful music in children. 

Through a series of volumes focusing on musical eras and composers, children are exposed to the essential musical pieces of the past and present. 

During a Super Quiet UnInterrupted Listening Time lesson, children are taught how to listen for the key elements in music: Rhythm, Tempo, Dynamics, Instrumentation, and Mood. 

The ability to articulate what the INSTRUMENTATION  (the instruments being used) is in a particular piece of music is a skill that must be developed over time and repeated exposure.

We are happy to announce a new resource in the SQUILT family.  

This resource teaches your children EVERYTHING they need to know about the instruments of the symphony orchestra. 


Meet The Instruments

Meet the Instruments: Exploring the Orchestra is really very simple.

It is ONE convenient PDF file (just like all SQUILT resources) - contained in this PDF are:

  • 32 beautifully designed instrument flashcards (set up for easy double sided printing)
  • access to a password protected resource page with over 30 curated videos to teach your children all about the sounds of the instruments
  • teaching ideas
  • game ideas
  • additional printables

 Meet the Instruments  can be used alone, or it can be used to supplement any SQUILT volume. 

Remember, INSTRUMENTATION is a crucial piece of the music appreciation puzzle, so if your children master these cards they will have mastered a huge part of music vocabulary!

We don't think you'll find anything quite as easy and effective to help you teach your children all about the orchestra. 


Knowing the sound of orchestra instruments seems to be a lost skill in today's fast-paced, pop music culture. Give your children the gift of a knowledge that will NEVER leave them -- and a knowledge that will allow them to appreciate and UNDERSTAND music for the rest of their lives!

Learn About the Instruments of the Orchestra - a new resource from SQUILT Music
Posted on January 17, 2017 and filed under products.

A Classical Music Playlist for Fall

As we're picking apples, getting out cold weather clothes, and carving pumpkins, there is something else memorable about fall - MUSIC.

Whether it is listening to Vivaldi's Autumn from The Four Seasons, or Grieg's In The Hall of The Mountain King, there is some music that is distinctly for THIS season.

Music triggers our senses and emotions. Music shapes our memories and our lives.

Music puts us in touch with our deepest selves, and for that I am grateful. 

As a parent, there is nothing I enjoy more than sharing music with my children. We play it in the car, while we are doing schoolwork, or during our morning time. Lately I've just been stopping the kids at random points in the day to sit with me and listen to a beautiful piece of music. 

Now is a perfect time to share a few beautiful pieces of Classical "fall" music with your children. This list is a good starting point - and  don't forget to download a free lesson at the end of this post to help you expand on one of the most famously "fall" pieces.

Celebrate Fall: A Classical Music Playlist for the Season - includes a free music appreciation download

Classical Music For Fall

Below are the pieces in the playlist - you can also view the entire playlist on YouTube. 

Our Town - Aaron Copland

This piece - Our Town - by Aaron Copland, transports us to a small American town. I can picture leaves falling and warm family room with apple cider and pumpkin pie. 

Have your children draw what they think this town looks like while listening to the piece.

Aaron Copland is studied extensively in SQUILT Volume 4: Modern Era

The Seasons: October - Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky

Many people don't realize the same composer who wrote The Nutcracker and the 1812 Overture also wrote a lovely group of pieces entitled "The Seasons".  This piece is tranquil and evokes images of leaves slowly drifting to the ground.

Tchaikovsky is studied in SQUILT Volume 4: Modern Era. SQUILT Music also offers an entire study on his Nutcracker Suite. 

Cavalleria Rusticana (Rustic Chivalry) - Intermezzo - Pietro Mascagni

You may think you've never heard this piece before, but you probably have at some point in your life.

If not - you are in for a relaxing treat! 

This  little piece is from the one act opera by Mascagni. The lush use of strings evokes images of the coming of fall.

Listening to this makes me want to iron some fall leaves between wax paper! Or, how about getting out water color pencils or chalk pastels and asking your kids to create their own fall leaves? 

Danse Macabre - Camille Saint-Saens

This is a tone poem - perfect for Halloween and children.

Danse Macabre or “Dance of Death” is a medieval allegory on the universality of death. It has been depicted for centuries in paintings and poetry. Some Hispanic cultures celebrate it as Dia de los Muertos. It came into being during a time when people in Europe were facing difficult situations like the Black Plague, famine and wars. Danse Macabre reminds us that life is precious and fleeting.   (source)

Older students could research this piece and find out the many ways it has been used in modern culture. Younger students can simply listen and draw a Halloween picture. 

Saint-Saens was a composer from the Romantic Era, a fun era of music history for students to study.

In The Hall of the Mountain King - Edvard Grieg

This piece uses a gradual crescendo to build suspense and interest. It is a favorite of all ages!

Part of Grieg's larger suite, Peer Gynt, this is an essential for any child's Classical music repertoire. There is SO MUCH that can be learned from this little gem of a piece.

If you'd like to expand on this gem, download a free lesson

It includes all listening links, teacher instructions, notebooking pages, and a supplemental activity to the main SQUILT lesson. It's a perfect addition to your activities this fall! 

Download the Free SQUILT Lesson!

 

Do you have a favorite piece of music for this time of year? 

Posted on October 7, 2016 and filed under playlists, Free Lessons.

Composer Study in the Homeschool

Composer study is an essential part of a full and rich home education for children. 

Whether it is exposing children to the ornate organ works of JS Bach, the tempestuous repertoire of Beethoven, the sweeping symphonies of Gustav Mahler, or even the iconic movie music of John Williams, learning about one composer IN DEPTH is of great value. 

Consider Charlotte Mason's instruction to parents on the subject:

Let the young people hear good music as often as possible, and that under instruction. It is a pity we like our music, as our pictures and our poetry, mixed, so that there are few opportunities of going through, as a listener, a course of the works of a single composer. But this is to be aimed at for the young people; let them study occasionally the works of a single great master until they have received some of his teaching, and know his style.
— Charlotte Mason (Vol. 5, p. 235)

How then do we go about teaching our children about composers? And, how do we do that if we, the parents, have little or no musical knowledge?


Giving our children the gift of a composer's music is so simple.

Choose a Composer! 

The first step is choosing a composer to study. 

Here are a few ways to go about doing that:

  • Choose a composer based on the historical time period you are studying. 
  • Choose a composer based on INTEREST (Do you have a favorite composer? Does your child love a certain piece of music? Have you always wanted to know about a composer?  Start there.).
  • Here's a list of 5 composers children will enjoy --- easy! 

Learn About the Composer's Life

Children love to learn PERSONAL details about composers.

And, let's face it: most composers have/had extremely interesting (and sometimes scandalous) lives!

The best way our family has found to learn about a composer's life is through quality biographies.

In Best Books for Music Appreciation we detail many of these books (and a few other resources) that help your children become intrigued with a particular composer.


Explore the Music!

This is the part that becomes a bit daunting for some parents.

How do you teach your children about a composer's music when you don't know about the music yourself? 

  • Use YouTube to find playlists of a composer's music
  • Purchase a "best of" collection  (many of these are available to stream for FREE if you have Amazon Prime)
  • Find a curriculum that guides you through the composer's music

SQUILT Spotlights

After homeschooling for many years and now authoring a music appreciation curriculum, I found a need for quality composer studies.

There are plenty of studies that focus on the composer's life and have a student listen to their works, but not many studies that really DISSECT the works and teach children the finer points of listening.

Wouldn't it be great if your child heard a piece by JS Bach and just KNEW it was by Bach because of the way it sounded?  

SQUILT Spotlights do just that.  

Each Spotlight includes PLENTY of biographical information about the composer, and it also includes three representative works by that composer, complete with listening links, directions for listening (and plenty of scripted teaching instructions for parents!), notebooking pages, and MORE!

The SQUILT listening sheet has helped thousands of parents break music down into its essential elements, and better still - it is training children to recognize those same elements! 

Each Spotlight also includes special access to a password protected resource page on SQUILT Music that provides additional resources for learning. 

By the end of a SQUILT Spotlight your children will know all about a composer as well as what their works SOUND LIKE, and what makes that composer's works unique to THEM.  

Currently, Spotlights are available for Bach, Handel, Mozart & Dvorak - with more coming soon!

 

 

Composer study doesn't have to get left out of your child's education.

In fact, it just might become something that sticks with them for the REST of their life. Wouldn't that be a great gift to give your children?

 

Composer Study in the Homeschool

Do you include composer study in your homeschool?

Posted on April 30, 2016 and filed under Composer Study.