Short-term online music courses are an excellent way to introduce homeschoolers to the many joys and benefits that come from studying music. Great Bend Center for Music offers free and low-priced live online music classes for children of all ages, designed to build community through music and foster connections that nourish self-esteem, leadership, and a sense of belonging.
I was compensated for my time writing this post. All thoughts and opinions are my own.
Why I Introduce Music Early in Our Homeschool
Growing up, I had a latent interest in learning music and music production, but it wasn’t until I left home that I was able to start taking voice, music theory, and piano lessons. For a variety of reasons, these courses weren’t available to me as a child or teenager.
But once I fell in love with music—and musical theatre, in particular—I knew I wanted it to be a big part of my children’s education from the very beginning. It was important to me that they had the opportunities that I didn’t, so from first grade, my kids have participated in theatre productions, voice and piano lessons, and audio engineering.
However, over the past two years, finances, schedules, and restrictions have made it difficult for them to participate in all the music lessons they used to. So, when the opportunity came to try out a music composition course through the Great Bend Center for Music, I jumped at it.
The Benefits of Studying Music
Numerous studies have shown that the benefits of studying music spill over into all areas of children’s lives. When kids are exposed to music early, they:
- Experience higher brain function
- Learn to read more easily
- Retain more information
- Improve their math and problem-solving skills
- Improve memory and coordination
- Develop self-discipline and the ability to work toward goals
Beyond that, the Great Bend Center for Music believes the power of music goes far beyond these rewards. Based on substantial research, they see music as a natural resource that should be used for community development. They aim to bring people together—in both their local and online communities—by making musical education widely available to children and families.
Modern Musical Instruction for Kids of All Ages
Great Bend offers a variety of online music classes to meet the needs of kids of differing ages and abilities.
Their Sound Scholars program offers free live, virtual early childhood music education classes for kids in Pre-K through Grade 3.
The HighKey Kids program, on the other hand, caters to students in Grades 4 through 12. These online courses are affordable and accessible, with teachers who create a fun and supportive environment. We were particularly impressed with the instructor’s ability to meet kids where they’re at and encourage them in their efforts.
Older kids who want to learn music can sign up for weekly, 45-minute classes that run over a ten-week term or, for more of a taster, they can try an a la carte class. Courses include digital audio production, songwriting, video game music, group piano/keyboard, family ukulele, beats and loops, and general musicianship.
Our Experience With the HighKey Kids Songwriting Course
Last week, my teens and I sat in on one of the final sessions of the HighKey Kids songwriting course. Unfortunately, we had missed the more formal lessons as the group was at the end of their term, but we still got a good sense of the spirit of the program.
The class size was small—three students to one teacher. I appreciated how the teacher clearly had a connection with each of the students and tailored his lesson to their needs, interests, and ability levels. Because there were so few students, each one received ample opportunities to speak up and contribute to the class.
The class mostly consisted of games. Again, I’d say this was because it was the end of the semester and the actual lessons had already been taught. In one game students chose songs they knew and the teacher displayed them on the screen with several words missing. As a group, the class came up with new words to fill in the blanks, creating a new song of their own.
A lot of the lyrics they came up with were silly—as one would expect from a group of young teens—but the exercise still provided an opportunity for discussion around rhymes and syllables.
I think what I appreciated most about the class was the teacher’s patience and his ability to connect with his students. The kids had a tendency to get off-topic when it was their turn to speak, and the teacher acknowledged their comments while skillfully bringing them back to the task at hand. Although the class may have moved at a slower pace because of this, I think his gift for connecting with kids is something that would make them want to return to the class week after week.
Sign Up for Classes With Great Bend Center for Music and Save
Check out Great Bend Center for Music’s HighKey Kids online music lessons today and save 15%. Enter the code “homeschool” (without quotation marks) when registering for any HighKey Kids offering (any 10-week class term, one-time a la carte class, or any other paid HighKey Kids class). The code can be used multiple times and is valid until the end of 2022.