Teaching preschool music appreciation lessons doesn't have to be hard. In fact, it can be quite fun! If given the right tools and guidance, I believe preschool music appreciation lessons have the potential to become a favorite time in your homeschool day.
Disclosure: This is a sponsored post and I was compensated for my time to review and write my honest opinion. I was not required to post a positive review.
Have you given much thought to how to teach music appreciation to toddlers and preschoolers beyond turning on the radio or a playlist? Or were you the kind of person that played music next to your pregnant belly to encourage development from the very beginning? I'd venture to say that unless you are trained musically or signing a child up for instrument lessons, you may not have given teaching music to young children a lot of thought.
Since both of my older boys take piano lessons using the Suzuki method, my 14 month old daughter is used to hearing classical music every day. In fact, she was exposed and responded to classical music so much during daily piano practice in utero before she was born that it was the only thing that would calm her down when she was really upset as a young infant. As she's grown, she's been drawn to the piano to bang on the keys during piano practices and has a daily music request, usually during mealtimes. Because of this, I was so excited when I heard about Clap for Classics! Online Music Courses because I knew she would enjoy the special music time with Mommy.
What is Clap for Classics!?
Clap for Classics! is an online music course subscription designed for children ages 0-5. There are a variety of courses available, but they focus on classical music and nursery rhymes to expose young children to musical concepts in a fun, multi-sensory approach. They offer multiple levels of subscriptions, including a choice of yearly, monthly, or individual course purchases.
What are Clap for Classics! online music courses for kids like?
Clap for Classics! Music Courses take a piece of classical music and present it in small, bite-sized pieces for young children in a variety of extension activities that include complementary songs, movement/dancing, puppets, instruments, hand motions, and more.
Each Clap for Classics! course has multiple, engaging videos for children to watch and participate in. These are not just videos for your kids to watch and zone out on while watching, but they are designed to engage you and your child in a meaningful music experience. While the majority of the videos are speaking directly to the children, there are notes to the parents about preparation, suggestions for even more ways to use the videos, and provide lots of modeling, so parents can replicate the experience with their children.
Our Experience with Clap for Classics! Online Music Courses for Preschoolers
Nursery Rhyme Baby Time
Due to the current ages of my children (13, 9, and 14 months old) we mainly focused on using the Nursery Rhyme Baby Time course from Clap for Classics! with our youngest. However, my big kids occasionally previewed the courses with us as models for the 14 month old with hand movements and dancing. My older kids are doting big brothers, so I have since found them engaging my 14 month old daughter in music during times when they are taking turns with playing with her.
I have always included nursery rhymes and fingerplays in our days with each of my babies, but it is always nice to get new ideas and a renewed focus on something that will benefit my baby's development. The Nursery Rhyme Baby Time course was full of nuggets of wisdom on how to engage your baby with nursery rhymes in a simple, easy way throughout the daily routine. There were a few nursery rhymes that I had never heard before and a few more personal favorites that I wish had been included in the course.
Preschool Music Appreciation Courses
While my 14 month old daughter doesn't quite have the interest or attention span needed to watch all of the videos for the Clap for Classics! courses designed for ages 2-5 that focus on specific pieces of classical music or specific musical concepts like the Peter and the Wolf course or The Carnival of the Animals course, she did still enjoy listening to the music while I previewed them. She went back and forth from her toys to my lap with full-body toddler wiggles and hand clapping. She participated in portions of each video course and I know that will get better with time as she gets used to sitting longer for activities and her attention span grows.
I have previewed all of the Clap for Classics! courses offered and I can't wait for my daughter to grow into them a little more. The way they highlight musical concepts like "Forte" vs. "Piano" and "Staccato" vs. "Legato" was so fabulously kid friendly. It is evident that the music instructors are trained music educators and moms because they use a variety of methods to help kids learn and remember the musical concepts. For example, in just one 8-minute video of The Carnival of the Animals course, they:
- use pictures of musical instruments
- preview the music piece before teaching their lesson
- teach kids sign language for chicken
- discuss how a chicken pecks the ground in a staccato movement
- show what a staccato and legato note marking looks like with music note cards
- use a chicken puppet
- and use a ribbon wand activity where the kids are supposed to move with the music while listening to the same music piece again
It was so fabulous and made me really excited to go back again and use it in the future with my daughter when she is ready. And let's be honest, the former-kindergarten-teacher-turned-homeschool-mom in me started planning out even more personal extensions to the preschool music appreciation courses like book lists and art that I could use to extend the music courses into a full-blown preschool unit. For example, while using the Peter and the Wolf Course Bundle, I could set up our Peter and the Wolf Small World Play that I used with the boys several years ago and gather our stack of Russia Books for Kids.
It left me very inspired to engage my daughter in some classical music inspired learning once she grows into those courses...which I kind of think is the point!
Please note: Absolutely NONE of the extra extension activities I just mentioned are necessary, but rather the unique, creative, overachieving way that my brain works. The Clap for Classics! courses stand up very nicely on their own if that's all you want or have time to do! Most of the time I plan much better than I execute.
Why We Love Clap for Classics! Preschool Music Courses
- Encourages quality time and bonding with my baby. Can I be honest? Intentional time (outside of breastfeeding sessions) with my baby is surprisingly hard to come by with a third child. Maybe it's the large age gap we have between our kids, but quality time to play with my baby girl just doesn't happen as often as it did when the boys were younger. So often, I have the boys play with her while I sneak in something house related and I'm guilty of not making intentional Mommy & Me baby play time because I don't feel like I've had the emotional bandwidth most days.
- Self-paced. I love that we can choose our own timeline for activities and we are not reliant on someone else's schedule. If we want to binge watch the course videos, we totally can. If we want to pause and linger on an activity, we totally can.
- Promotes a culture of music in the home. We already have this firmly established musical foundation due to piano lessons, daily piano practice, and daily Suzuki listening, but every musical activity just adds to the layers and the beauty of a culture of music in our home.
- Super convenient for mom. No need to get everyone dressed and loaded into the car to head to a class, just hit play. Also, juggling schedules for big kids and a baby just aren't as conducive to taking an in-person class anymore (even if we could.) In fact some of our favorite times for singing Clap for Classics! nursery rhyme songs are actually in the highchair at meals and right before bed.
- Early exposure to classical music and many other concepts that will help development. There is just so much richness in these courses. So much.
- I don't have to teach or plan. No tweaks necessary. Let's get real for a moment: I can only homeschool so many things with so many children within so many hours in a day. These are wonderfully planned and taught for me, so I can truly hit play and enjoy the music with my kids. That is a gift to a homeschool momma.
Free Mini Music Appreciation Course for Toddlers and Preschoolers
Are you interested and want to give Clap for Classics! a try to see if you'll like it before committing to a monthly subscription? They have a FREE mini music course available called Bumblebees, Birds, and Beethoven that is super cute and provides a great glimpse into what their full courses are like. Sign up and try it with your little ones!