Monthly Archives: August 2015

A Great Education in Music, Naturally!

Twelve years of public school plus four years of liberal arts studies at a college plus four years of practicing the art of teaching music in public and private schools= one homeschooling parent who still thought if she was not doing the dissemination of information the way the state schools were doing it, she would be wrong.

Enter the challenge of training up and walking alongside my children,yet doing this in our own unique way and you see it has taken me 15 years to peel back the institution-speak onion.

Oliver and Rachel DeMille have shared a process with the homeschooling community in their book called, “A Thomas Jefferson Education” in which DeMille proposes that education should be reconsidered in scope and sequence, and largely built upon principles of the individual striving for it, self study and pairing with effective mentors who use time tested resources to challenge and inspire. To the homeschooler, we parents are given the mentorship task.

“Teachers teach, and when they do it well, students educate. This is at the center of all learning and is the key to success in any and every educational endeavor.”

Students must educate. The idea needs to sink in that unless and until a young person is ready and enthused, what they are getting is mere rote work. They are not getting the process of education, rather receiving what they are told they have to do to get by. Pass the test. Please the admissions officer. So you can do more years of the same.

Answering the question of a great music education experience for our seven students has brought this idea to light through the concept of “Music Naturally”.

Needing a violin teacher, another mom approached me, since I had a daughter who began the violin. I had been investing in quality used string instruments, so we did what many homeschooling moms of single income do..we bartered.

She taught 3 of my children piano, while three of her children experienced lap harp, piano and a group violin class which took over our basement. Using methods which teach independence and peer led tooling, we are seeing some pretty amazing things. I give my young people the choice each trimester of what role they would like to play during our weekly music sessions.

At present, I am thrilled to say that our teens are skilled in brass instruments, also, guitar, digital music creation, and classical piano…with no tense fighting about practice sessions. The younger children are working on violin and piano…Out of the 4 who are studying music right now, I can say without a doubt I hear 3 of them practicing diligently, intent on preparing for performances or to play with their friends, with no prompting from me, the Mom. None. I love it.

The other child who elected to serve the younger siblings this trimester has found herself sitting down to the keyboard with her sisters piano book and self teaching her sisters pieces. She just played them for me tonight.

DeMille has hit one out of the park, land sakes, it works, and I am cheering. We find we have a musical family with no infighting cajoling or negativity.

Students really are to be the ones teaching, we parents are to practice and love the arts, then stay close enough to the child so that it rubs off. I hope my children always remember these years of following their muse, of laying aside for a season, then taking up again, of getting curious about sounds, duets, and symphonies and the brothers, sisters and friends who make it all ring out in vibrant strains of possibilities.