Homeschool Reading Blog

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Find Some Fresh Music


Hopefully you were able to find some kind of live music experience for your child to attend; either a short orchestral concert or a high school musical, etc. Maybe you have a neighbor or relative that would even be willing to give you a personal concert on the dulcimer or guitar. Use your imagination. As much as recordings are wonderful, there is no substitute for live music. If you absolutely can't get anything worked out (or in addition to the live music), you may wish to expose your child to one of the classic musicals this week. Our children have enjoyed all of these at very young ages: Oklahoma!, Seven Brides for Seven Brothers, Annie Get Your Gun, The Music Man, The Sound of Music, The Wizard of Oz, Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, Mary Poppins, and Annie. If you've not seen any of these yourself, this would be a great week to check one of them out of the library & enjoy together.
Leigh Ann's picture

Philharmonic Fun


Play around at the New York Philharmonic site for kids. Soooooo much great stuff there! I would highlight the best parts of this site, but the whole thing is great. You can listen to the different instrument families there, hear each instrument IN the family, introduce composers by countries or style, get ideas on making your own instruments, make your own musical creations in the Composition Workshop, & play some fun musical games! Excellent musical site.
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Make Instruments


This is the week to make instruments together & play a few CDs to accompany. Here's a good site to get your creative juices going in that direction. Here are ideas for balloon bongos, a box guitar, ( or a simpler version here), a popsicle stick harmonica, and of course you can always just get out some pots & pans to let your child drum away! Put various small things in plastic eggs for shakers (rice, dried corn, beans, dice, etc.). I save the little spice containers for this purpose. The lids make it less chance for crazy mess. Use your imagination & have fun. Use the instruments to explore loud & soft playing, fast & slow rhythms, etc. Teach your child how to keep a steady beat throughout a song. After playing LOTS this week, keep all your musical creations in a large box to pull out & accompany CDs this week and in the future.
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Discover a Piano


If you have access to a piano (if not at home, think church or a neighbor/relative's home), let your child count the white keys, black keys, etc. Point out the pattern: three black, then two, then three, then two. If you know how to play, start at C and show your child how to play 8 notes in a scale. Point out there are 8 notes in a scale. Play it softly, them louder. Let your child do it. Even if you don't now how to play, you can watch a video to learn yourself & pass on to your child.
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Parts of the Orchestra


Watch this cute old story about the tuba in the symphony to help your child hear all the parts of the orchestra...

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VIrtual Field Trip


Watch Mr. Rogers go to a guitar factory under "How People Make Things". You can also listen to tuba & french horn music there, as well as see a visit from Yo-Yo Ma there under "Field Trips".
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Major & Minor


Talk about the difference between major & minor chords by letting your child listen to both here. Scroll down to listen to the demonstration clips. Explain how major chords sound more "happy" whereas the minor chords sound "sad".
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Unison & Harmony


Explain the difference between "unison" & "harmony". Here's a little clip of three girls singling first in unison, then the same song in harmony for your child to hear the difference...

 

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Musical Biographies


Watch the Nest DVDs on lives of Thomas Edison and/or Beethoven. Beethoven was a famous composer, & Edison invented the phonograph/ record player which revolutionized music.

After watching Nest's Beethoven, you could listen to a few of his pieces here (3rd Symphony), here (5th Symphony), and here (9th Symphony - you can point out it's minor key).

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Jazzy Book Series


If you haven't seen Pete the Cat, now's the time. He's a crazy jazz cat with a cute series of books, each with a very simple song. Go here to get the author reading each book & singing the song on line for you to get the tune. (Scroll down to "free song downloads" to hear.) You can also find other Pete the Ct activities there. Each song is so simple, anyone can catch the tune & join along. My personal favorite is Pete the Cat & His Four Groovy Buttons. We happened upon these books when our youngest was so in love with shoes & we were looking for any kind of book on shoes. Pete the Cat: I Love My White Shoes had just come out. Our little boy LOVED it. If your child really gets into Pete, you can even watch him move to the groove here. Cute.