As the parent of a homeschooled child, you may not have the same resources available as a parent whose child is enrolled in a traditional elementary school. For this reason, you may turn to online resources for guidance. If you’re wondering when is the right time for your homeschooled child to start music lessons, you’ve come to the right place. Although research shows that listening to music early in life is what develops a child’s musical ear, you can further that development by enrolling your child in professional music lessons. In this article, we’ll dive into both the Suzuki and Waldorf methods of music instruction, and give our opinion on when you should enroll your child in lessons. Have questions? Head into your local Music & Arts, or visit this page, for more information about lessons.
What’s the Suzuki Method?
Under the Suzuki method of music instruction, students are taught to play beautiful music by ear before they’re taught to read music. Just as students learn to speak before they learn to read or write, Suzuki students learn to play music before learning to read notes. At its core, the Suzuki method focuses on the emotional aspects of music–it’s more important for a child to strive to be a beautiful human being than a perfect musician. And, when he or she is experiencing beautiful thoughts and feelings, he or she will produce beautiful music as a result.
The Suzuki method is a good choice for homeschooled children, as the parents are expected to be involved in the learning of their child–something homeschooled parents are already accustomed to. Parents attend lessons with the child and serve as “home teachers” during the week. In some cases, one parent chooses to learn to play the instrument before the child does, so he or she understands exactly what the child is going through.
What’s the Waldorf Method?
The Waldorf method is quite similar in nature to the Suzuki method, with some minor differences. In the early stages of Waldorf music education, it’s not obvious that the child is acquiring musical skills. They won’t be reading traditional notation or learning how to keep time to a strong beat–instead, the focus is on awakening certain qualities of the soul that will help form them into stronger musicians down the line. Rudolf Steiner, the founder of anthroposophy and whose educational philosophy the Waldorf method is based on, felt that developing a child’s inner life to become a full human being is more important than filling a child’s head full of knowledge.
Under the Waldorf method, music education is often divided into three stages: one that focuses on practical, hands-on activities and creative play, another which focuses on developing artistic expression and social capacities, and the third which focuses on developing critical reasoning and empathic understanding.
Music & Arts is Flexible
At Music & Arts, we’ve worked with plenty of parents and teachers of homeschooled students throughout the years. We understand flexibility is key when it comes to homeschooling, which is why we offer lessons seven days a week. Plus, with our custom curriculum, our lesson programs can be catered to the specific needs of your child or student. Have questions about how lessons at Music & Arts can become a part of your homeschooling curriculum? Give us a call or head to your local store for more information
So, What’s the Best Age?
The primary disagreement between the two philosophies is in regards to what the ideal age is to start music lessons. Under the Suzuki method, students begin lessons by age two or three, and under the Waldorf method students typically begin music lessons around the age of nine or ten. Many music educators and professionals agree that the Suzuki method begins too early, and the Waldorf method begins too late–and that somewhere in the middle is the ideal age to begin music lessons.
If your homeschooled child is between the ages of 5-7, it’s probably a good time to enroll them in lessons. Obviously, a professional music instructor should be able to evaluate your child one-on-one and determine if they’re of the appropriate age, both physically and emotionally. Head to your local Music & Arts for more information about taking lessons.