The kids actually turned on classical music by themselves yesterday! For my regular readers, I’ve mentioned before that we’ve had fits and starts at using music as a part of our school day. However, I am learning a lesson about how to relax and not force learning. As embarrassing as this is to admit, at least one of our earlier starts included me playing music ‘whether you like it or not’, and short oral quizzes over what we talked about. I’m sure the kids are praising God for my deliverance. In our home, we only play classical music once per week, and very softly while we’re covering Bible and reading. The preteen’s self-proclaimed need to concentrate means the music goes off once the math book opens. The music plays while I read—with no expectations other than that they listen. I’ve used the same approach with poetry this year. I find that not only do they listen, they enjoy. Opal Wheeler’s biographies are written for children from elementary to middle-school age. They are worded simply enough for even my toddler to keep up with what’s happening, but also “meaty” enough to hold the attention of an older child. Yesterday we read about how Bach as a child was so hungry for more difficult music until he snuck into a locked cabinet of his brother’s nightly, copied the works of the masters, and carefully put the book back each night. This caused him to fall asleep during the day at his regular lesson, but he found that even after his brother took away his copied sheets, he had memorized the music! What a lesson in passion, which is part of a conversation that we have constantly with our children—not taking opportunities for granted. As a word of caution for the technologically-impaired (as I found out humbly that I am), the CD is only playable from an MP3 player, not on a CD. After not hearing anything on our CD player, I stuck what I thought was a CD into our computer, and it works perfectly with a Windows Real player. That player, by the way, is a free downloadable from the Microsoft website.
So anyway, after school, the kids were talking and getting excited about the upcoming dance season (they all take classes in ballet, jazz, and/or tap). Suddenly, I heard Beethoven! The funniest part of this was the conversation that followed. The kids began to talk about where they hear “this music” the most. Top on their list? Bugs Bunny and the Looney Toons! HA HA! I’m sure there’s a lesson in there about literacy regarding classical music in this pop culture, but personally, I was just happy to see them enjoy the music enough to listen and dance without duress!