As someone who doesn’t play an instrument I still call myself a lover of music and usually always have it on in the background. My kids do too, and sometimes I am concerned about how this helps or hinder their study. They seem to be aware though of those times that it helps and the type of music that works best for those times. Glad to see these findings backed up in this guest post from Nicole McCray on how we can enjoy music online, for learning, fun and even productivity.
Home learning online has become the new normal for many families during this pandemic. It is difficult as a parent to always be monitoring what your child is watching or doing, and safety and security are at the forefront, as well as making sure that your child is able to still learn and develop, even at home.
Music education is inherently important during this time since many schools that have gone virtual are not offering many music courses. The benefits of music education for students spans increased social, emotional, and academic skills, so it is important to incorporate music as part of their routine and curriculum. Here are some great ways to keep music education alive in the digital community.
ONLINE MUSIC LESSONS
One of the easiest ways to instill a music education in your child’s e-learning routine is to enroll him or her in online music lessons at home. Even though distance learning can be challenging, it is definitely convenient, as you won’t have to drive your child to their lesson every week. Through companies like Music To Your Home, you can choose from a plethora of well-trained instructors no matter where you’re based – which is something you may not have had access to outside of virtual lessons, depending on your location.
Online lessons are especially great for your child if they are interested in a particular instrument or really like to sing and want to work one-on-one with an instructor to grow their skills. You can build off of that interest and have them work with a professional who will give them great technique and an improved confidence in performing. The best part is that your child will be able to apply their music skills in a different, more personalized way compared to a normal music class in a traditional school setting.
VIRTUAL MUSIC CLASSES
There are some wonderful options for children to take extra music classes online, and this is particularly a great idea if your school’s virtual learning is not offering music in their shortened schedules and condensed curriculum. A service simply titled The Music Class has many interactive classes that won’t take up too much time in your child’s day, in case you are concerned about them having too much screen time.
The key selling point in having your child enrolled in some of these online group courses is that they are very interactive, giving children a chance to shine as well as participate in a multitude of activities. One day they might be creating their own instruments, and the next they might be asked to sing for the group and take their turn in the spotlight – and some days there’s even group dancing. The only requirement is that students stay focused and away from distractions, so you can easily include this as part of their regular scheduled schooling.
ONLINE THEATRICAL WORKSHOPS
This is a great option for your child if they need more variety. There are multiple music workshops that pop up from week to week, so you can feel free to enroll your child in multiple different workshops, as they usually only happen once or in a short, 2-part session.
There are even some amazing options where you can customize your own musical workshop package for your child. The Ten Dollar Tune-Up is a really fun service where your child can find out the best songs to sing or monologues to perform if they’re an aspiring thespian. Your child could also participate in a “Performer Potluck” where groups of people perform a musical online!
Another group that is geared towards children and performance is Broadway Bound Kids, and they have many new e-learning options for parents. Many community groups throughout the country are also providing workshops and other virtual opportunities for music and theater. Make sure to check your local theatre group sites to see what kind of services might be offered in your area.
Maybe you have a child that isn’t necessarily interested in singing or playing an instrument – maybe they’re not even musically inclined. If they have more of an interest in subjects like history or science, you can easily find online tutorials that can help them to understand the history of music or the science behind how your voice is able to sing a song.
One course that provides this type of education is called the Online Vocal Gym, which was created by the founder of Throga, Richard Fink IV. He takes you through the 7 Dimensions of Singing, but his main focus is on the anatomy of how your vocal tract actually works, from how your brain sends the message to your chords to how the sound is produced. It is almost more of an anatomy course than it is a music class, but it aims to demonstrate that anyone has the ability to sing with the correct techniques and exercises.
Sometimes school and e-learning can become just too much in a day, and an influx of screen time can be draining. One last and effective way to keep music alive in your child’s curriculum is through musical games. PBS Kids has an awesome virtual musical game center for kids, geared towards allowing them to just have fun. They will still learn music, but with options to sing, dance, or make rhythms, which will feel much more like playtime than learning time.
Working from home while having a child learning from home can be a struggle. Keeping your child engaged with these extra music-focused activities outside of the virtual classroom can be helpful in maintaining balance and rounding out their schedule. There are sure to be plenty of distractions, but having multiple options to engage your child with other than watching TV or playing a game can be helpful so you don’t have to feel like they are behind or missing out. Music education is an important part of a child’s development and should not be overlooked during these times of virtual education.
INCORPORATING MUSIC IN EVERYDAY TASKS
Sometimes, it can be truly beneficial for you to listen to music while working, crafting, or working on a project. Many choose to listen to music while they work without even realizing that there are benefits in doing so, and so the same can be said for children who want to listen while doing homework. Believe it or not, having music in the background can actually help you be more productive in the task at hand and increase your problem-solving skills.
Music can also help with sleep. Many of the calming applications that people use right on their phones have music to help them sleep because one of the many rewards is that it can relieve stress and relax you. It lowers blood pressure and triggers your muscles to relax, making it easier to drift off into an easy sleep.
The key here when you turn on your music is not to listen to music with an extreme or super upbeat tempo, because that can actually distract you from your intended focus (be it sleep or productivity), but listening to something soothing, maybe something even without any lyrics is the goal. Think instrumental or calming genres, something in the classical or easy listening fields. You will be surprised at how productive you will be!