While there are many resources related to music on the Internet, it is not easy to learn either to sing or to play a musical instrument without a teacher or guide of some kind. If you as parents are musical, this may be a natural part of your home educating day, but if you are not, then, as we did, you may want to consult an expert. If finances are tight, perhaps you could share skills with a musical friend, offering instead to teach her children maths (for instance…) or to bake or sew for her.
Nevertheless, there are a wide range of useful sites that can inspire and encourage children and teenagers in their general musical education. A few of them are listed below. If you know of others which would be of benefit to the home educating community, please do get in touch and let me know.
Classics for Kids – an extensive site with information aimed at primary age children, activity sheets for learning, instrumental sounds and games. Lesson plans and ideas for parents too.
Kididdles – large selection of nursery rhymes and other children’s songs, with midi files to play, lyrics, and activity sheets. Suitable for younger children.
Mama Lisa: Kids’ songs from around the world – lyrics of international songs from many countries, some of them with midi files to listen to, or videos to watch.
DSO Kids: composers – this has an excellent resource for children to learn basic information about selected famous composers from Gabrieli in the Renaissance period through to many who are still alive today. Excerpts from well-known examples of their music on each page.
BBC site: orchestras – various links for older children and teens to discover the different instruments of an orchestra, learn a little history, and play some musical games.
Beginning the recorder – detailed information about how to choose an instrument, and how to get started.
Percussion information – all you could ever wish to learn about the various percussion instruments, with diagrams and explanations.
Piano Nanny – free online piano lessons. Mainly theory, with an introduction to music and chords. Rather wordy, but could be good for an older child or teenager wanting to learn the rudiments on their own.
My Music theory – for students learning music theory with the ABRSM syllabus in particular, this site offers free, online courses with interactive exercises at different levels.
Music theory – explanations and large graphics to explain the basics of music theory.
Advanced music theory – extensive, full explanations about the various terms in music theory.
Noteworthy Composer – for composing and notating music (Windows only). There is a free evaluation version which has some annoying limits, but the full version is not expensive. We used this extensively for many years; it has an intuitive interface and is very useful for playing midi files as well as producing sheet music. Try the free version first.
Audacity – free, open source music software for recording and editing sound. Ideal for older children and teens wanting to experiment or do serious recordings.