5 Reasons to Keep Music Notebooks


Lots of homeschoolers are familiar with the process of using a nature notebook as part of their science and nature study through the years.

But today let’s talk a little about our family’s twist on that practice for the subject of music appreciation or composer study with five reasons why you should consider adding music notebooks to your homeschool too. 

5 Reasons to Use Music Notebooks in Homeschooling

Our children keep what we call music notebooks: little spirals of mixed media paper filled with their various musical discoveries.

Really though, a music notebook is any booklet, binder, composition book, notebook, etc… where your child’s collection of music observations can be stored.

It doesn’t have to be expensive or swanky, just a form to which they can easily add things. Which brings us to our first reason for keeping a music notebook. 

A Place for Observation

Music notebooks provide a special space for your children to record musical observations and inspirations as they listen to different genres of music.

Children of all ages can be moved and make connections when they are exposed to beautiful music. Your children can draw what the music sounds like to them with dynamics, tempo, and the shape of the melody in an abstract style or draw the instruments played along with musical symbols like the treble clef for high notes.

They can sketch the tone or mood of a piece with a scene the music reminds them of. Your children can also simply write their observations and musical narrations down or pen short composer biographies from what they found particularly interesting in their history.

Keep Everything in One Place

The last thing we need as homeschool moms is more loose papers. And a music notebook, with its many possible versions, gives all the accouterments like drawings, narrations, composer portraits, and older children’s parts of scores a permanent home safe and out of the way.

This also cuts down on search time when your child comes across a familiar composer or piece in another context and wants to revisit and add to what they’ve already learned.

Create a Music Dictionary

Music has a language all its own that your children can learn over time and gradually apply more and more to their writings on music. These musical terms not only help remind them of what they saw in the music studied, but also give them the vocabulary to share about and discuss music in a clear way with others.

Using a musical notebook fills their music dictionary with terms they have already made a connection with organically through study, thus making their use less intimidating and more natural.

Nurture Music Detectives

Music notebooks distinctly show the similarities and differences in a composer’s different works of music. And all composers have an arc to their collection of completed works. Different events in their lives may have an impact on what and how they chose to create music.

Likewise, pattens can be seen in the instruments they chose to include and the symbolism a composer attributes to them in different pieces. And each of these connections, and many more conclusions, can be noted by your children when looking over the entries of their music notebook, especially when a certain composer is solely focused on for a term or semester. 

See Music Study Progress 

As your children grow in music knowledge they are able to make deeper observations about the music and composers they hear and study. With a music notebook, your children have a tangible illustration of that progress as well as a resource to which they can continue to refer.

This is particularly noticeable when the same piece of music is revisited at a later date. In this context, your child can add to an existing entry then compare the different elements they heard each time.

Music notebooks have been such a sweet blessing to our homeschool and with their flexibility, they can be easily adapted and started at any age.

So as we kick off this new school year, I hope my words will be a gentle encouragement to devote a little time to try out music notebooks with your children and that they will be a blessing to your homeschool as well.

Genie Shaw

About the author

Genie (Jenny) is a second-generation homeschool mom to 5 rambunctious boys and 2 equally energetic daughters, all 10 years old and under, deep in the heart of rural Texas.

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