Thursday, April 20, 2006

Saving on Music Lessons: Performance Groups

Are you looking for a way to give your children music instruction without forking out the big bucks for a private teacher and a baby grand piano? One way to do that is to join a performance group. The first place to look would be your church. If you have a good music director, your child can learn quite a bit by joining the children's choir. Also look to your homeschool friends. Many homeschool support groups are forming bands and orchestras.

My children belong to a small performance group - The Renaissance Singers. Several years ago, when we were studying the Renaissance, my friend Becky asked if my children would be interested in joining the group along with her children. I told Becky that it sounded wonderful, but my children had no previous experience in music. Though our homeschool was dripping in music appreciation, music instruction was pretty much ignored. (Boy, do I feel like the bad homeschool mommy writing that out.)

Becky told me that was okay, the music director of the group was willing to work with the children and they would learn music as they went along. Wow, no kidding!

I accompanied my children to the first lesson. I expected nursery rhymes and simplistic pieces. I sat there the entire hour with my mouth wide open as the children were asked to sing a song not only in French, but in three-part harmony. As we drove away from the director's home, I braced myself for a flood of complaints. I was in for a surprise, as all of the children were thrilled and couldn't wait to return the next week. It's true, children do rise to high expectations!

We are now heading into our third year with this group. In that time, my children have learned how to read music, play recorders, and perform Renaissance dances. They dress in period clothes sewn by the music director's husband (he has also created costumes for the Smithsonian Institute!). And the only expense has been for the children's recorders, which cost very little.

So, if you feel the pull to introduce your children to some practical music instruction, start asking around as well as praying over the situation. You never know what you will find!

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