So you have made the leap to pursue the study of music with your children. I’m truly excited for y’all and the new learning journey on which you are about to embark. You have your easy teaching method as a map to guide you, and now all you need is to pick a piece of music for study to start your course. We usually choose our selections based on the Catholic Church’s liturgical calendar and pull from the following.
6 resources we use to find music:
1. Ambleside Online
Ambleside online is a free homeschool curriculum based on the education principles of Charlotte Mason. Their Composer Study schedule is a fantastic place to begin your music search. It is impossible to choose a bad piece from this list. I pull my favorites pieces from each composer and add the ones that are missing, usually just related sacred music. Once a piece of music has been selected for study, we listen to it via YouTube.
2. Local Radio Stations
It’s old-school, but your local classical music radio station plays a wealth of quality music from which to choose. The only issue with this resource is that it can take more time to discover which piece you are actually hearing. I think it is common, however, for the day’s playlist list to be posed on the station’s website organized by time of day.
The simplest way to choose a composition to study is to start with what Pandora’s classical stations chooses first, or keep listening until a piece piques your interest. For our purposes, you can pick a station by genre, musical era, years, or composer. If you are wanting to spend time with the works of a specific composer, however, you don’t know the names of any, a Pandora station will play their popular pieces. The composer stations will also play similar music of that time, making it a great resource when looking for other music of the same type or period. We use this feature for our unstructured listening the rest of the week to help us get a little more familiar with the other works of our composer.
Spotify in another user friendly resource we utilize to find pieces and for unstructured listening time. If you know the title of a piece or a composer, you can search them and albums containing those keywords will be pulled up. My favorite Spotify feature is the ability to create your own playlist. It will only play the tracks randomly without a paid subscription, but for our purpose of additional unstructured listening during the week that is perfect.
Wikipedia is another option to draw pieces from, when the composer you want study is known. Most of the composer articles have a list of influential works included. The musical era can also be searched on Wikipedia to bring up a list of composers from a certain time.
Another alternative is to use the suggested videos from Youtube. If, like us, you play your pieces on Youtube, similar content will be suggested below your current video. Sometimes playlists are included in the suggested videos. These playlists are troves for future music study options as they often contain more popular pieces you may have heard before.