Teaching music can be a daunting task for many homeschool parents, but thankfully it doesn’t have to be that way. As it turns out, introducing music appreciation to our kids can be as simple as reading the right books.
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My ten year-old enjoys learning about music through Zeezok Music Appreciation, but it’s written for elementary-age kids. I have every intention of going that direction with my four year-old daughter later on, but for now I’m introducing music appreciation through children’s books since she’s a bit young for that curriculum.
10 Books for Introducing Music Appreciation
Here’s a look at some great book choices for introducing music appreciation to younger children. I read most of these with my son when he was younger, but there are a few on here that I’ve learned about since then. Old and new, I’m excited about sharing these music books with my daughter!
1. Story of the Orchestra by Robert Levine and Meredith Hamilton
The Story of the Orchestra is a wonderful starting point for introducing music appreciation to kids. It’s packed with information, but that information is broken down in doable chunks for younger kids. This book and its included CD would be a great tool for introducing instruments and composers.
2. Getting to Know the World’s Greatest Composers by Mike Venezia
Our first introduction to Mike Venezia’s work was through his series on the world’s greatest artists. Just as that series is a fantastic tool for learning about individual artists, his Getting to Know the World’s Greatest Composers is perfect for introducing one composer at a time.
3. Can You Hear It? by William Lach
This is a new one for me, but I’m excited to check it out! The concept of great works of music being illustrated through great works of art is one that intrigues me.
4. My First Orchestra Book by Genevieve Helsby
The focus of My First Orchestra Book is instruments and their families. It includes a CD for listening at noted points and a multiple-choice quiz at the end of the book.
5. Welcome to the Symphony by Carolyn Sloan and James Williamson
As a general rule, I cringe when books require batteries. Here me out on this one, though. Not only does this book introduce the symphony experience to young readers, it allows them to hear the sounds as they see the images and learn the terminology. With the addition of the sound buttons, Welcome to the Symphony becomes a multi-sensory music appreciation book!
6. Zin! Zin! Zin! A Violin by Lloyd Moss and Marjorie Priceman
This was such a fun book to read! The text is lyrical and the illustrations are vibrant and whimsical. Better yet, it incorporates counting, making it a great music appreciation selection for young learners.
7. Meet the Orchestra by Ann Hayes and Karmen Thompson
It’s one of the oldest books on my list, but that classic feel is what sets it apart from the rest. My favorite things about Meet the Orchestra are the way it introduces instrument families and describes each instrument.
8. My First Classical Music Book by Genevieve Helsby
I love that this book is more than a look at the symphony. While its focus is classical music, it emphasizes the place of classical music outside of the concert hall. And, if your kids are anything like mine, this book gets major bonus points for including music from Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone.
9. Listen to the Birds by Ana Gerhard and Cecilia Varela
This book wasn’t around when I was introducing music appreciation to my son, but I’m happy to have the chance to enjoy it with my daughter. Listen to the Birds explores several musical selections that were inspired by birds and their songs.
As a side note, my ornithophobia somewhat limits my excitement about this one, but I know my little one will love it. All things considered, this is a much better option for me than listening to bird calls in person and comparing them with music that way. But enough about me and my bird issues…
10. The Carnival of the Animals by Jack Prelutsky, Camille Saint-Saens, and Mary GrandPre
This combination of gorgeous illustrations and poetry from Jack Prelutsky is set to The Carnival of the Animals by Camille Saint-Saens. The CD includes the musical selections and Jack Prelutsky himself reading the verses, while the book includes suggestions for enjoying the music through imaginative play.
What about you? What are your favorite ways for introducing music appreciation in your homeschool?