by Kathryn Brunner, Owner & Founder of Musik at Home, LLC
Research shows that a child’s music aptitude is at its height from birth to age nine. After age nine, it dramatically declines. There’s never a time like the present to schedule music education into your day.
We are well into our new school year!
As a homeschooling mom, every day is a learning experience…for me! This is my first year homeschooling a primary grade. Three years ago, I began homeschooling my oldest for her first year of preschool. I loved it. She is in first grade this year. I am also homeschooling my three year old for preschool.
If you’re not a homeschooling momma, stick with me! This is for you too!
In order to prepare for this school year, I spent my summer pouring over books and choosing curriculum. I took a great deal of time to think about how to plan out our days for maximum productivity... if that really exists in a homeschooling zone? How do we fit everything we need to do into the day?
For me as a musician, music education is a huge part of my desire for bringing my girls up with a well rounded education. However, you don’t need to be a musician to desire a strong, solid musical upbringing for your child. There’s something in the heart of most parents – an intuition – that music education is not only a good thing, it is incredibly valuable for a child’s overall well being and development.
The question then remains, how do we provide this solid music education for our children when the schedule is already so full?
We plan it into our days. After that, we determine to make it happen even when the going gets tough…and it does.
What if all the determination falls to the wayside? We refresh our hearts and minds about the goals we have for our children’s education. We get back to it in even more creative ways because we believe it's worth the hard work (for us and for them!).
How do we make music education a part of our children’s lives?
The five step process looks like this:
Decide what would be the most valuable for your child’s development and desires: This could be a Musik at Home class or instrument lessons, etc.
Invest in the resources needed: Enroll in the right class or find a private teacher for your child to begin learning an instrument.
Schedule it! And…Schedule a back up plan.
Make it happen! If you miss a day or a week, pick up again as soon as you’re able! Give yourself grace.
Don’t give up. Stand your ground and don’t let your child give up. Stay the course even when it’s hard. This is the key to success in anything in life, especially music education!
There’s a bonus that comes with this 5 step process!
When you, as the parent, model making time for music education while your child is very young, your child will more readily desire to continue making music a part of life as he or she grows. This leads to a lifetime of well developed memory skills, executive functioning skills, pure enjoyment with the ability to play an instrument proficiently and so much more.
When your child is young, it’s all about cultivating foundational skills while your child’s development is most moldable from birth to age 9. We never get to hit rewind and redo the early years. As parents, we have to decide that WE won’t give up with the same determination we have when it comes to making sure our children learn math, reading and writing.
Ok! Now let's get down to the knitty-gritty. How do we plan music education into a schedule that’s already full?
As I began planning out this school year, I felt frustrated when I began looking for a daily planner. Most of the planners I found seemed to entail creating a detailed account of what I would get done each day. Yes, when I take the time to do it, I can plan a robust schedule down to the minute. The trouble is that in my real world life, it rarely plays out the way I plan it. Are you with me?
I needed to find a planner that would account for the flexibility required for every day life with kids. I may be type A in some areas of my life, but I’ve grown to understand that life is typically type B! Unplanned events come up. When I aim for structure and remain open to the possibility of change, I respond much more freely to the ebb and flow. When I respond more freely, more tasks actually get done. If they don’t get done, I am open to waiting until tomorrow to complete them.
Does such a planner exist?
In my search for planners, I came across many different options (Not all planners are created equal)! I printed out several. Then threw them away. Ack!
Finally, toward the end of the summer, I found ONE (yes one!) planner and planning system that allowed me to plan my schedule with total flexibility.
It’s a system called Loop Scheduling created by Tauna at TheProverbialHomemaker.com.
The best part is that loop scheduling can work for anyone. It has the potential to increase productivity and decrease frustration with the amount of tasks we are able to accomplish in a day.
With her loop scheduling system, you prioritize the tasks that must get done each day. Once you finish those, you can work your way through a second list of tasks that need to be completed on a rotating basis. The second list is the “loop” list. The tasks that remain on your list at the end of the day stay on your list for the next day or later in the week.
It’s working for me!
Musik at Home classes, Piano practice and Violin practice are happening in my house on a consistent basis! Sometimes, however, the attitude of the instrumentalist (a.k.a. violin student, ahem) precludes consistent practice, so we go with the flow. LOL!
So, what exactly is loop scheduling?
In Tauna’s own words:
Loop scheduling is simply a way of organizing your work into a rotating list.
Here’s how it works:
- --Write out a list of the tasks you want to accomplish over the course of 1-3 weeks
- --Do a certain number of those tasks each day (however many you decided ahead of time)
- --The next day, move on and do the next tasks!
- --Tasks that need to be done more than once in that timeframe are listed multiple times
- --When you’ve gone through the entire list, start over!
That’s pretty much it!
Loop scheduling is incredibly simple. It's easy to tweak for your own scheduling needs. It's flexible to fit any type of work you need to manage.
Find out more here in Tauna's Loop-Scheduling Blog post.
Tauna also has an entire loop scheduling workshop to help us plan, prepare, prioritize and succeed! Click here to check out her workshop. I've gone through the whole thing. It is amazingly helpful for me as a mostly Type A person living in a Type B world. LOL!
In addition, Tauna's loop scheduling templates helped me prepare for the new school year without feeling overwhelmed by the mountain of tasks on my list each day. At first, however, I definitely planned too much into my daily task list! But, with my loop scheduling templates, I felt free to tweak it!
Notice how my oldest daughter's schedule shifted from the August loop schedule to the October loop schedule. Once you realize what's working, you just shift the schedule around (and feel very proud of yourself for the things you accomplished!). :-)
Tauna also provides guidance on how to train our children to follow their own schedule.
Here's an example of my girls' personal schedules. I'm training them to go to this sheet when they are finished with a task to find out what to do next. In the center are things they take ownership of starting everyday. Once they finish those, they can choose one of the items from the flower petals. The flower petals are things they do almost every day, or at a set time in the week.
Making Music Education a Priority
As I’ve spoken with many homeschooling moms, I’ve found that music education can seem to be the most difficult to fit into the schedule. Part of the reason is that it can also be the most difficult to know how to teach for parents who don’t feel musical or artistically inclined.
I can relate! I have no problem teaching piano because that’s my instrument. Since my six year old turned four years old, however, she has been thrilled about the possibility of learning to play the violin. Seeing her desire, my husband and I decided to let her jump in after she had one year of piano lessons. She started playing violin in June 2018.
I know very little about the mechanics of playing the violin. Even as a professional musician myself, teaching an instrument I’m not familiar with is not easy! Even though she loves the violin, she doesn’t always want to practice.
I’ve had my own learning curve to climb! I didn't realize how steep it would be.
I've had to come to grips with the fact that it’s my role to step in and help her succeed. As her parent, it is my responsibility to help her stick with it when the going gets rough.
For me, it takes determination to constantly affirm her ability while she is pushing back on my efforts to help her succeed. I’m willing to do it because I know how valuable music education is for her very musical, growing heart, mind and body.
My six year old has an easier time practicing piano. After a year of group lessons and consistent practice at home, she is much more readily running to the piano to practice her songs because she is familiar with how to practice. So, I know it's possible! I’m confident that in a year, her desire to practice violin will be the same.
I have determined that I will never bring up the “Q” word (“quit”)… even though, when I’m honest, I can think of 100 other ways to use the time and money we are investing into violin lessons. I literally have to put those thoughts to rest when they pop up. I have to remember the long-term goal.
Proficiency at any instrument brings utter enjoyment, heightened skill development, strong executive functioning skills and so much more.
For my three year old, we do Musik at Home classes together once a week. We have it scheduled for Monday (or Tuesday!). If Monday doesn’t happen, we have our back up plan for Tuesday. She absolutely loves the special time with mommy. During class, she feels affirmed in her desire to learn to sing, move, and play musically. We sing the songs outside of class and keep the musical play going! She also loves to explore our piano, so I give her small piano lessons every now and then.
I make the time to invest in my three year old's music education because I believe it’s the small investments of time that count for her overall development and musicality. There have been a few times when she didn’t “feel” like doing a Musik at Home class, but I turned it on anyway. Once we got going, she was totally enthralled. When the class is over, she asks to do another class.
Music education is exhilarating for the entire heart, mind and body!
My guess is that you believe music is a valuable part of your child’s education because you are here reading about it!
Research shows that up to age 9, a child’s Music aptitude is at its height. After age nine, it dramatically declines. There’s never a time like the present to schedule music education into your day.
When to Schedule Musik at Home Classes
If you have a Musik at Home membership, you can make class happen after breakfast, after naptime, when you get home from work, on the weekends, or you could make it a Friday night date with your little. Put it on your task list each week.
If you are a homeschooling family, you can schedule Musik at Home classes into your weekly routine at any time that works for you. The most important part is scheduling it so it stays at the front of your mind for the week.
I am still learning as I go. :-)
To try to keep everything in one place, I recently purchased Tauna’s entire planning system. I am just beginning to see the benefits! If you need a flexible planning system, I recommend checking it out!
Rhythms & Routines Homeschool Planning System
Staying on top of the schedule is no easy task. With a system in place, however, we are more likely to achieve our goals!
Our children's music education is extremely valuable for their overall well being and well rounded education. Let's stick with it! We will see the results in the years to come!
Want to win a free year of Musik at Home classes for your child? We are not only giving away one year of classes, we are giving away all of the class materials to go with it! It's a $345 value. Click here to go to the giveaway!
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