by Amy Tjaden
Homeschool.com News Editor
I do not enjoy daytime television. Unless there is a good documentary on, we leave the TV on one of the radio channels. We enjoy jazz or classical because it is good background noise while we’re doing school.
I’m sorry to say I know very little about classical or jazz music. I know enough to know I like it. I can spout off names of musicians from both genres but I know little about those musicians.
My oldest son plays guitar. My 6-year-old plays piano. I’m very proud of both of them and happy with their progress. However, I have often thought it would be nice to give them background in both classical and jazz since neither are what you would consider mainstream. Most people can tell you which song is currently #1 on the pop charts but how many can tell you which composer wrote Golliwog’s Cakewalk. (Please note that I wouldn’t know had I not looked it up.)
I was recently thinking about how overwhelming it would be to start teaching history of classical music. Where would I start? Then a friend emailed me a link that has given me a starting point and inspired me to give it a shot. Classics for Kids has a lot of information. You can explore composers by country or musical period. There is even an interactive timeline.
There are games that teach music and rhythm. My 6-year-old loves the game that allows you to compose your own music. You can even explore various instruments. Classics for Kids is also a radio show. You can listen to past shows online. It highlights a different composer each month. There are quizzes and activity sheets as well.
I was so thrilled with the site that I started looking around for something about jazz. I found a fun interactive resource at PBS KIDS GO! It includes a timeline, brief bios of some jazz greats and games. My kids love it.
If any of you know of fun sites that offer great resources for teaching musical history to kids, I’d like to hear about them. Send an email my way or jump on our news discussion forum.
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