Free Beginner’s Music Curriculum: Learning Notes, Rhythm, Music Notation and More!
I had a realization recently. While the kids can play pieces on the piano, they cannot read music! So, the plan is to slowly but surely make sure they learn and build on those skills. I hope they learn at least two octaves of notes and their corresponding location on the piano/keyboard. I also want them to learn some of the basic music symbols and music notation.
I gathered a lot of materials and put together a music action plan! I wrote out 8 or 9 weeks of quick music lessons. This will be in addition to the time we sit together at the piano. The girls also want to learn the recorder this semester – so these lessons will hopefully help with that as well.
There are some amazing free music resources that we will be using in our music curriculum this fall. The pdf has clickable links to these worksheets, matching cards, rhythm materials, sight reading activities, etc. I’ll give you a glimpse of some of these below (though there are a lot more resources in the packet, I just didn’t want to spend too much time recreating all of that here on the blog.)
My kids have a basic understanding of music, so we are not starting from zero. I love the playful, fun materials shared by Susan Paradis and Layton Music. Those worksheets and games and material from The Big Book of Music Games, Grades K – 5. (affiliate Link) are the basis for our semester of music study.
The pdf I’ll share below, shows how we’ll use these music worksheets and music games each week, but I’ll give you a glimps of the materials I printed out recently.
To start with, we will use sheets where the kids can fill in the notes. Plus, we’ll use the Fly Swatter Game (I’ll call out a note, kids will wack the card with a wood spoon!) These are all from Susan Paradis’s blog.
Then over the course of the semester we’ll add in other worksheets, building on their knowledge of rhythm and making sure the kids can build their sight reading skills. (There are clickable links to these in the packet.)
I like all the playful cards Susan Paradis has made for learning the notes on the piano and music notes on the staff. We’ll be using the Ladybug piano keys & notes game and Heart Matching Game as well.
We will also be using The Big Book of Music Games, Grades K – 5. (Affiliate Link) This is a great resource for learning music symbols & notes. It is NOT a book for playing musical games like singing games or group games (such as square dancing type activities), but is absolutely perfect for our purposes (learning notes, various music symbols, learning about intervals, etc.). This book of more than 275 pages of games and activities you can photocopy.
If you would like to download our Homeschool Music Curriculum Plans, feel free. The download is free and in it you will find links to all of the materials I mentioned above — and more!! Hopefully, I have it planned out well enough that I can just grab the materials and GO! There’s also a daily music practice chart. This packet is about 15 pages or so.
I am incredibly grateful to Susan Paradis and Layton Music for all of the fun activities they have shared on their blogs.
And just before I go, a couple of other music books we’ve used fairly regularly through the years. The first is Story of the Orchestra : Listen While You Learn About the Instruments, the Music and the Composers Who Wrote the Music (affiliate link) which has very short descriptions of the major composers (from Vivaldi and Back to Copland and Bernstein). It highlights the orchestra instruments. It comes with a CD with 37 selections from many of those famous composers (about an hour). I *really* like the CD.
The other book I like a lot is Carnival of the Animals: Classical Music for Kids.(affiliate link) Each animal had its own special music and the book is a wonderful companion to the CD. Did you know the famous French composer, Saint-Saens. wrote this famous musical as a joke for his students? It become one of his most famous and well known pieces of music. The book highlights the animal’s instrument you hear in each piece. My kids have enjoyed both of these books immensely through the years.
That’s about it for now. Hope someone else finds this helpful.
Disclosure: Please note that some of the links above are affiliate links, and at no additional cost to you, I will earn a commission if you decide to make a purchase.
Follow our Musical Journey in Pictures this Semester:
- Music Curriculum: Week One — See what we actually did during the first week with photos. 🙂
- Music Theory Curriculum: Week Two, Rhythm Pizza, Rhythm Game and more
- Music Curriculum: Week 3 in Pictures – Music Note Identification Game and More
- Music for Elementary: Music Symbols (Week 4)
P.S. You might be interested in these related notes. These are also free!
One last thing before I go, DD decided she wanted to learn flute this year. (Actually, she wanted to play last year, but we couldn’t make it happen.) We had a local flute teacher lined up, but then that fell through I started googling for local lessons. As I was hunting around, I came across a site called Take Lessons which allows you to arrange lessons through Skype. I thought we would give that a try because it saves us from driving/waiting and all that.
DD absolutely LOVES her flute teacher, Sarah F!! DD has her lessons via Skype for a half an hour. She can actually get notes out (no small feat on the flute!) and can play a couple of easy pieces (She’s had 5 lessons.) We are incredibly happy with the lessons. And having the lessons via Skype is working out well. We highly recommend DD’s teacher, Sarah, and the Take Lessons platform in general. You can arrange for lessons not only for musical instruments but for languages, math, and other subjects. (I am not an affiliate for Take Lessons, but I wanted to mention this option because I thought other homeschoolers might find this convenient too!). DD’s (wonderful) teacher, Sarah, is currently taking on new students (as of Oct. 2015). Here is a link to Sarah F on takelessons.com or click on the photo below.