Monday, March 21, 2016

Music and Other Beautiful Things

Music and other Beautiful Things (Virtual Curriculum Fair 2016) on Homeschool Coffee Break @

I hope you've enjoyed the 2016 Virtual Curriculum Fair as much as I have! For this final week, we are focusing on all those things that bring beauty to our homeschools. Thank you to Laura at Day By Day In Our World, Chareen at Every Bed of Roses, and Kristen at Sunrise to Sunset for hosting and organizing this event! You'll find links to all the participating blogs at the end of this post.

Music has always played an important role in our family and in our home, but over the past few years it's been an increasingly important aspect of our homeschool as well. We all love music of many different kinds, and I've tried to include some music instruction for all the kids along the way - after all, I had at one time considered a career as a music teacher or worship director - but it wasn't until Kid #4 that music as a full credit subject in our homeschool really took off. Each of the boys got a little bit of piano instruction from me when they were young, and none of them were particularly interested. There were a couple of rumblings of wanting to learn a different instrument, but they weren't really serious. Our oldest did learn how to play drums when he was a teen, and did a bit of singing, but that was about the extent of it.

So when Kennady wanted to start learning piano as a little girl, I hoped that maybe she would stick with it, but I'd also learned not to hold my breath. I started teaching her a little bit and found that she had a great ear! She had a gift for singing too, and did a lot of that. But somehow we never found a way to be disciplined about regular piano lessons and practice, and we didn't get very far with that. Then she began to talk about a guitar. She wanted a guitar so badly. So I took her shopping with her birthday money and bought her a guitar in 2012, and she started figuring out how to play. Dad plays bass guitar, and I played guitar when I was a teen, so we got her started. Later on, we decided that since I seemed to lack the discipline to give Kennady regular piano lessons, and she deserved proper guitar lessons, and so she started taking lessons in both instruments.

This is when she got her first guitar in 2012

Last year she started taking guitar lessons from a teacher we know at church, a man who also plays guitar on our worship teams, and her abilities have really been shining!! She's also got an electric guitar now (and a ukulele) and has been playing guitar and singing as a regular member of my worship team at church. Between the lessons and the worship team commitments, she definitely earns at least one full credit for guitar now that she is in high school!

But she isn't done there! Since joining the Children's Chorus a couple of years ago, she's also been receiving top quality vocal instruction. The program she is in is far more than just a kids' choir for fun. It really is a comprehensive music education and performance program. They practice weekly through the school year, with a few extended practices on Saturdays. There are two major concerts each year for the full chorus (there are four age group divisions as well as a boys group) in winter and in spring. The smaller age group choirs also do several local performances. She is now in the upper level chorus (mostly high school age girls), and much of the music they learn are college level choral arrangements. Definitely another full credit - especially when they also go on choir trips like the one to New York City in June, when they performed at Carnegie Hall!

My Favorite Daughter on Homeschool Coffee Break
Outside Carnegie Hall, where her choir performed in June 2015.

Middle School Monday - Choral Singing
It's really difficult to get good pictures during performances. Oh well.

Middle School Monday - Choral Singing
Full chorus with the youngest age group joining.
Kennady has also enjoyed creating art, and although she is not doing a credit course in art this year, there's a decent possibility that she will at some point. (More about art in a moment!) So that one credit in Fine Arts required for graduation in our state and homeschool group? She's already doubled it in her freshman year. The Fine Arts credit requirement isn't a problem for her!

But what about the boys? The two that I've already graduated earned their Fine Arts credit with art and photography rather than in music. Spencer actually enjoyed studying drawing and did very well in art classes. Landon wasn't sure how he would earn a Fine Arts credit since he really didn't want to do an art class, and he wasn't thrilled about a Music Appreciation type course. Then we had a chance to review an online percussion instruction program called DrumsWithWillie and the dilemma was solved! Landon loved the program and has been doing so well with it! He recently had the opportunity to play with my worship team a couple of times, and he did a fantastic job and earned lots of praise and compliments! 

Playing DrumsWithWillie - A Homeschool Coffee Break Review for the Schoolhouse Review Crew  @

From the High School Lesson Book - Back to the Books - a homeschooling through high school link-up hosted by Homeschool Coffee Break @

You can read more about this percussion program in my recent post From the High School Lesson Book - The Fine Art of Percussion or in my full review of the course: Playing DrumsWithWillie (A Schoolhouse Crew Review)

From the High School Lesson Book - The Fine Art of Percussion on Homeschool Coffee Break @ - A link-up for all things related to homeschooling through high school!

I mentioned that Kennady does do some art, although not as a credit course this year. A favorite art curriculum we've used is ARTistic Pursuits. We've been privileged to review a couple of the ARTistic Pursuits books, and I've purchased some of them as well.  I've posted detailed reviews of Middle School 6-8 Book Two: Color and Composition (Read it HERE) and Sculpture Technique: Construct (Read it HERE). 

Virtual Curriculum Fair - Art and Music @

ARTistic Pursuits review

The strong art background Kennady has from working through those ARTistic Pursuits books paid off the past two Christmases when she had the chance to do some "extra credit" artwork at church. In 2014, she was asked to do a live art presentation during the Christmas Eve service and rocked it.

Virtual Refrigerator - Christmas Art: Last Christmas Eve on Homeschool Coffee Break @ #VirtualFridge #Christmas #art

Virtual Refrigerator - Christmas Art: Last Christmas Eve on Homeschool Coffee Break @ #VirtualFridge #Christmas #art

And last year, she was commissioned to create the backdrop for the kids Christmas play at church. Again, her own design, although she had help from a couple of friends in laying down the paint.

Christmas in Kid City Skyline on the Virtual Refrigerator - an #art link-up hosted by Homeschool Coffee Break @ #VirtualFridge
Christmas in Kid City Skyline, KAT - December 2015

Next week, for the Easter Sunday morning service, she will again be performing live art, and is busy working out her design this week. I can hardly wait to see what she comes up with!

It's an absolute delight for me as a mom to be able to create music with my kids, and even more satisfying to see how my kids are creating beautiful music and artwork that honors our Creator.

See also my related post: Fine Arts Favorites

How do you incorporate beauty in your homeschool? Leave a comment and let me know! Also, please visit my fellow homeschool bloggers as they share thoughts on "Seeking Beauty: The Arts and Everything that Brings Beauty to Our World" in this week's Virtual Curriculum Fair.

This year the Virtual Curriculum Fair is hosted by Laura @ Day by Day in Our World, Chareen @ Every Bed of Roses, and Kristen @ Sunrise to Sunset.

Chareen @ Every Bed of Roses - Seeking Beauty Through the Arts

Yvie @ Gypsy Road - Art Museum Staycation & Elements of Art Unit

Sarah@ Delivering Grace - First Things First

Laura @ Day by Day in Our World - Add An Element of Beauty with Fine Arts in the Homeschool

Lisa@ Golden Grasses - What Are We Fighting For?

Annette @ A Net In Time - Art, art, and more art

Kristen @ Sunrise to Sunset - The Sounds of Music

Kym @ Homeschool Coffee BreakMusic and Other Beautiful Things

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Annette said...

Good post. That drumming course looks interesting. It would be neat to find a good local children's choir that I could put my son in for a year or so to give better musical instruction. But not where I currently live unfortunately. Visiting through VCF.

Unknown said...

I loved your story! You've come up with great ways to earn the fine arts credits your children needed.

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