Posts filed under music appreciation

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

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:




The Washington Post March 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!

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.

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.

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.