I studied music in undergrad because I loved it. Digging deep into the theory and form allowed me to love it even more. So, as a homeschooler, I set out to not only help my children reap the benefits of music education, but to instill a love for the beauty of music. Now I am not a professional artist, but I have a deep appreciation for the visual arts, especially since I have witnessed how music and art go hand in hand, inspiring each other. Listen to Debussy while you view Monet’s paintings and you will see exactly what I mean.
I love literature. And no form of literature goes with music so well as poetry. Many songs and librettos were first poems. Several years ago, I set out to find a way to easily integrate this trifecta of beauty into any curriculum. Charlotte Mason’s work showed me how to teach children to appreciate art. I tried it starting about 17 years ago, and it has worked beautifully. I applied the same concept to classical music and found that is operated very similarly. Ms. Mason didn’t have the benefit of easily accessible recordings and streaming services, but I am confident, given her other methods, she would give my applications a thumbs up.
With all this in mind, I came up with a simple mini-curriculum that uses Charlotte Mason’s proven methods to supplement any curriculum with fine art, classical music, and poetry. I scoured four historical epochs (medieval and Renaissance edition comes out next year!) for poetry, fine art, and classical music that represents the era, is appropriate and accessible to children, is engaging for all ages, and educational. In other words, I never want anyone to waste their time. I want truth, goodness, and beauty in the arts accessible for busy parents.
Children who can appreciate beauty are happier children. Adults who can spot beauty are more contented adults. Children are going to contemplate something. Will it be the latest fad in pop music – which will make them cringe in a few years – or will it be something truly lovely that has stood the test of time?
Good taste is cultivated. I tell my kids that meaningless blockbuster movies, trendy dance pop, cool looking graphics, and most YA novels are like Laffy Taffy or Nerds candy. All sweetness, no substance. And too much causes an ache – in the soul. So I feed them nourishing arts. Roman Holiday is a colorful antipasto. Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony is a sumptuous steak dinner. Rembrandt’s The Storm on the Sea of Galilee is a nuanced souffle. And Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice is a healthy salad – but the kind with candied nuts, fresh berries, and a sweet dressing that makes you forget you are eating something healthy.
Using my Art, Music & Poetry Supplements, for a very little money and time investment, by the end of the school year, children will know six classical music pieces shaping their musical tastes, six famous paintings or sculptures will be etched in their minds, and six poems will have molded their love of language. If you try the four year cycle with me, that will be 24 classical music pieces, 24 poems, and 24 pieces of art for an investment of $16 and about 20 minutes a week. I really cannot think of any way to make it easier to give kids something beautiful to think about for the rest of their lives.
However you choose to integrate music and art into your lives, don’t wait to do it. Pick something lovely to share with your family today.
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