How to Listen To (and Learn About) Any Piece of Music
The gift of music is so simple to give to our children.
Let's help you give that gift of music in three simple steps - and you can start TODAY.
Listening to music is one of the most natural, enjoyable activities for all of us, and to fine tune this skill takes a minimum of knowledge and a little bit of guidance.
Super Quiet UnInterrupted Listening Time is something that benefits everyone in your family; you will be AMAZED at the results it produces and how your children will ask for MORE music.
Step 1: Pick the Piece
First, choose a piece of music.
(I love what I saw a homeschool parent doing recently - she looks at the archived lessons index for SQUILT LIVE! and chooses pieces from that list.)
We also have many families who purchase our monthly listening calendar to have access to one quality performance of a piece of music each day.
Once you have chosen the piece of music, search YouTube or a streaming music service of your choice for a recording.
Step 2: SQUILT
Second, ask your children to just LISTEN.
Close eyes, lay head down, and just LISTEN.
You would be surprised how little we practice this skill. Children might be a bit uncomfortable with doing nothing at first - or, they might relish in the time to do nothing!
If they need a little encouragement, tell them to get a picture in their head while they are listening, or ask them what the music sounds like to them. Don't have them share any thoughts while the music is playing.
Step 3: Complete a SQUILT 4 Box Sheet
Listen again to the same piece of music, but this time give your children the 4 box SQUILT sheet to complete.
I've seen parents laminate one sheet so they can use it day after day. Other parents create a binder for their children with multiple copies of the blank sheet so children can keep track of their "repertoire" of music.
Children will obviously need a guide to help them complete this sheet.
At SQUILT Music, we've created the Elements of Music posters to be that guide. Many families print and laminate these posters and children can simply refer to them while listening. They are the perfect tool for helping children learn about the elements of music.
The goal is to have children listen for the different elements in a piece of music and then articulate their thoughts. They can either write or draw in each of the 4 boxes.
You would be AMAZED at what wonderful listeners children can be!
If your children are listening to Beethoven's Für Elise or Scott Joplin's Maple Leaf Rag, for example, you might ask them just to listen for the Dynamics on the second listening of the piece. More experienced listeners might be able to fill in all 4 boxes on just the second listening.
The instrumentation box is an easy answer for both of those pieces: PIANO.
Whatever the case, give your children SOMETHING to listen for.
(Your youngest children can Draw What They Hear on a blank piece of paper. This way, everyone can participate!)
Listen to the piece of music at least twice - and then however many times your children ask for it after that!
That's it. Keep music appreciation time short, sweet, and simple when you're just beginning.
If you'd like to go into a bit more detail, you will want to read Getting Started With Music Appreciation, which provides resources and ideas for diving deeper into quality music.
At SQUILT we have so many options for learning to appreciate music. Do-it-yourself volumes, flashcards with curated videos, and our very popular SQUILT LIVE! membership are among a few.
Let me know if you try the three step method and how it works for you!