by Michelle Noonan, SPED Homeschool Partner Blooming Sounds
The benefits of music based learning are many and clear. Music helps development, cooperation, self-regulation and expression, and activates both sides of the brain, resulting in significant benefits to learning retention, motivation, and more! Luckily for homeschoolers on the go, music is all around us and lessons are readily available anywhere your classroom might be.
Music in Nature
Are you homeschooling on the trail? There are so many opportunities to study music in nature.
Listen to nature’s songs: Nature is full of little critters that make music–birds, bugs, and frogs, to name a few. Have your child note the different pitches and patterns of “song” they hear while out on a hike or around the campfire. Have your child mimic the bird’s call and response. Add a writing component by having them recount what they imagine the animal is communicating based on the tone and tempo of its call.
Make music with nature: Kinesthetic learners will appreciate the feel of the crunch of the leaves under their feet and the clicks of pebbles in their hands. Tap rhythm patterns for them to copy with pebbles or stomp them on leaf piles. Once they get the hang of it, let them lead you into rhythm patterns. They will receive reinforcement of the beat through the tactile patterns and a boost of self-confidence by having you follow their lead! Find different natural music makers, twigs vs stone, for example, and compare the timbre of the different materials.
Describe what you hear in musical terms: Teach musical dynamics by putting the proper vocabulary to the sounds you hear in your nature walks. Is the bird singing legato: smooth and connected between notes or staccato: distinct and separated between notes? Is the babbling of the stream piano: quiet or forte: loud? As you approach a body of water, do you notice the crescendo of sound, the gradual increase of volume? What about the decrescendo as you leave?
Be sure to check out the live local music options wherever you take your homeschooler. Early exposure to diverse music, genre, meter, tonality, etc. benefits your young one for a lifetime. It makes it easier for them to identify, enjoy, express, and play music in the future. Besides the children’s music scene, take your kids to the local symphony, opera, music festivals, and other live events. Bring a sketch pad and crayons and have them draw how the music makes them feel. This can help solidify social-emotional connections and keep them quietly occupied. Add music history to the lesson by having older students research the composer and write a report on their life and legacy.
For those looking for more formal classes on the go, the internet offers many options! Families with consistent internet access can sign up for private, group, or family lessons for all ages. When choosing your class, be mindful of your internet availability, choose an instrument that is easy to travel with (for class and practicing in between), and your schedule availability. Many online options will be flexible, but you and your young one will benefit from being as consistent with class time, practice time and frequency as possible.
Make Your Traveling Homeschool Soundtrack
Make up your own songs together, documenting your travels and experiences. You can simply change the lyrics to your favorite songs to suit your story, or you can compose your own tunes to go with it. Collective music making is such a great bonding experience and putting your adventures in song will ensure you will remember them for a lifetime!
Michelle Noonan is the owner and lead instructor of Blooming Sounds LLC, an online music center licensed by Music Together LLC and Canta y Baila Conmigo LLC to provide these amazing early music programs to 0-8 year olds and their grown-ups, including homeschoolers on the go!