reviews

Learn how to introduce music and an instrument to your early elementary child even if you have absolutely no idea how to do it.

Living Music from the Heart

(Disclaimer: this post contains affiliate links. This means if you buy after clicking through a link, I may earn a small commission at no extra cost to you.)

You’ve thought about a piano or keyboard like Charlotte Mason recommended, but that’s just too expensive right now. Besides, you have a small house with nowhere to put one.

You need a simple way to introduce an instrument to your young student that’s easy for you to fit into your life. Oh, and it has to be engaging for your wiggly child. AND it can’t break the bank.

If this sounds like you, then consider Volume 1: The Magic Flute by Jodie Messler 

I bought this program for my own 6-year-old and we’ve been working through it joyfully this year. (edit – we are now at 8 years old and going through it again)

Living Music from the Heart comes from a Waldorf background, but as with other Waldorf-inspired curricula I’ve reviewed and loved, it isn’t specific to a Waldorf style.  By that I mean, there’s nothing in it that you’d have to throw out to use with our Charlotte Mason education.

NOT HAVING A RHYTHM IS EXHAUSTING


Ever feel like you’re running around in circles? Our Jumpstart Your Rhythm Email Challenge will help you get your rhythm back on track in just 3 simple steps. It’s a game-changer – get it free for a limited time!

In Waldorf circles, students don’t start academics until the year they will be 7 for most of it.  In other words, if your child turns 7 in spring, they will generally wait until the following autumn to begin studies.

I recommend the same thing for most kids in a Charlotte Mason education, because most children at a young 6 just aren’t ready for “school.”

Living Music from the Heart is a lovely transitional program for your Kindergarten-at-6 year, and is also suitable up to age 9 for a child with no musical training.

Let’s get down to what the program actually consists of.

Features of Living Music from the Heart Magic Flute

Living Music introduces music theory to your child by teaching her to play the penny whistle by ear.  You can also use it to teach yourself the recorder or pentatonic flute, but you’ll need to YouTube the different fingering for those.

The tin whistle/pennywhistle is an inexpensive instrument that is easy for both a child and an adult to learn, so it is perfect for this age.   Waldorf methodology calls for a “blowing instrument” at these early years, but I like it for Charlotte Mason also because a piano is simply out of reach for many of us.

The program itself is a course on the thinkific platform and includes not only pdfs but videos as well, of every lesson. 

And… there are 9 teacher lessons, to teach YOU  how to play the instrument.

Not only that, but there is a video of Jodie teaching her own son a lesson. You can see just what can be expected of a young student!  It was so reassuring to see that even Jodie had to call him back a few times to keep him on track.

When my own daughter started giggling and ran out of the room during a lesson, I knew it wasn’t a problem with her. It was just the age — because I’d seen Jodie’s son do the same thing!

The entire course consists of 20 lessons, divided into four blocks over the entire calendar year.  Each lesson is marked with what time frame it works best for, like “May be used for weeks 1 & 2 of September”.

If you fall off schedule, it’s not a big deal.

It’s seasonal in that, for example, October music has a Jack O Lantern song. But as a bonus in the program are songs for autumn, Christmas, winter, spring, and summer songs. It’s so easy to just substitute an appropriate song. Those are also songs that the parent plays, so you don’t have to worry that your child doesn’t yet know those notes.

In addition, your child will knit a case for his tin whistle over the course of the year.  If you struggle to get any sort of handwork into your life, this is a simple, no-fuss way to do it!

Breakdown of lessons

Let me break the program down to an easy-to-digest format:

7 Teacher Lessons

20 lessons for your child

The 20 lessons are divided into 4 blocks (Wind, Fire, Earth, Water)

The first 16 lessons are to be done at a pace of 2 weeks per lesson (totally flexible though — let’s be honest here, sometimes that pace just doesn’t work for our family life!)

The last 4 lessons are to be done at 1 lesson per month.  These are scheduled over May, June, July, and August.  They are a really nice way to keep up over the summer, without feeling like your child is still keeping to a school schedule.

Each lesson consists of reviewing notes learned, rhythm practice via hand clap games, a song to learn (either singing or on the tin whistle), and often a separate game to play.

For each lesson, there is a pdf of what you will be teaching, plus a short video of Jodie demonstrating the songs and hand claps.

Children are encouraged to pick up the flute throughout the week and play it. Not play with it (we don’t want them turning into pretend-swords!) but actually play the pennywhistle throughout the week.

What Your Child will Learn

Your child won’t learn to play the pennywhistle like a virtuoso in Level 1 — you will only teach a few notes to your child at this level.  What your child will learn is

  • to play the notes B, A, and G properly, and by ear
  • how to finger them on a starter flute
  • rhythm
  • fast and slow
  • hand clap games
  • that playing music is fun and not stressful

I feel like that list doesn’t get across the way the curriculum feels though. It is written directly to the homeschooling mom and is full of gentleness and beauty. While each activity is short because a 6-year-old’s attention span is, it doesn’t feel like you are rushing from one thing to the next.

This course is for you if you want a different way of teaching music than the academic way you were taught.

Who This is not for

As much as I love the program, it’s not the right fit for everyone. So who shouldn’t buy it?

  • If you want an academic approach with reading music
  • If you want a particular style of teaching, like Suzuki
  • If your child is 7-9 years old and you know how to play the pennywhistle or pentatonic flute, start with Volume 2 rather than Volume 1

What are the cons?

Cost — Isn’t that always a concern? The current price is $125, and sometimes that can feel out of reach. I can help with that, though, because …

I have a coupon code for you! Purchase through this link and use coupon code green for $25 off

Production quality – the videos were filmed several years ago in Jodie’s house, and the production quality of them isn’t professional. It’s not a turn off to me (I’m teaching it in my own house, after all), but it’s something to be aware of upfront.

The good of this program far outweighs the cons, and overall it’s an excellent program for early elementary homeschools.

Have you used this program or any others from Living Music from the Heart? I’d love to hear about your experiences!

Related posts:

Legends of the Staff of Musique: An Honest Review 
13 Secular Preschool Programs for Charlotte Mason homes
Do We Have to Start Lessons at 6?

Want to remember this review of Living Music from the Heart — Magic Flute: Volume 1? Pin it to your favorite homeschool pinterest board!

Legends of the Staff of Musique review pinterest with bouncing gold musical note

Do you struggle with how to teach music to your early elementary student? Have you tried music books written for teachers, but been frustrated? They either assume you have a background in music, or at the very least that you are substituting in a music class with 15 children!

Almost every lesson needs to be reformatted to work with your one, or two, or three children.

Do you want a music curriculum that brings in beauty?

That respects the homeschooling family?

That works with a Charlotte Mason philosophy without modification?

That knows you might have only one student, or two?

That teaches without a text?

I searched for years for one myself, and finally Crystal Hosea has released just what we are looking for!

 

Foundations of Music, Legends of the Staff of Musique

Foundations of Music is based on Kodály (pronounced ko-DIE, rhymes with eye) music philosophy. Zoltán Kodály believed that every child has music inside of them, and it is our duty as educators to bring that out through the folk songs of our culture.

When I first read about Kodály, I thought it sounded exactly like what Charlotte would do!

Foundations of Music is based on 7 lessons, each with a 4 day schedule. Crystal recommends a once per week rhythm, with each lesson lasting no more than 20-30 minutes. With this schedule, there is plenty of time in the school year for breaks, for being sick, for repeating days that were especially fun.

I would even venture to say that if it seems like a lesson will take you 30 minutes, perhaps consider splitting it up into 2 days, especially if your kids are starting to get wiggly.

Crystal is a homeschooling mother herself and knows our struggles. Her music program is written for us, which is so refreshing! Using other music programs written for teachers, I’ve felt like I was an interloper, like I was an imposter using material that wasn’t meant for me.

She doesn’t assume that you know anything about music yourself.

TOPICS COVERED

The topics covered are similar to those in Jolly Music Beginners, which I also own. The difference is that Jolly Music is written for a teacher with 15 or more students in a class and all the activities reflect that assumption.

Foundations of Music explores high/low, soft/loud, fast/slow, smooth/jerky, short/long, and beat.

AGE RANGE

Foundations of Music is good for ages 6-9, but was written specifically for the 7 year old student using Waldorf methods.

However, there is nothing specifically Waldorf in the lessons. By that I mean, there is nothing that won’t work well with a Charlotte Mason education, and there is no talk of anthroposophy. In the introduction, Crystal touches on who Rudolph Steiner was and his philosophy of education, while the lessons have your child make a Main Lesson Book.

If you don’t want to make a Main Lesson Book, just use loose sheets of paper to do those activities.

It is wonderful for Form 1 students using Charlotte Mason’s methods.

Since we are starting Wildwood Form IB next year when my daughter is 7, I haven’t started using it yet. But the activities look fun, and they are in the spirit of Wildwood Curriculum Form 1. They are beautiful, joyful, and gentle.

In the PNEU programmes, solfa (sight singing with hand signs) wasn’t begun until Form IA, and then it was still very gentle. Foundations of Music also doesn’t teach solfa; that will come in Level 1 which is currently being developed.

Again, perfect for a Charlotte Mason education!

I love this program so much! My only wish is that it had been released just a few months earlier, before I’d spent the money on Jolly Music. Since I did buy Jolly Music, I’m working through that program slowly and modifying every lesson.

But my plan is to work through Foundations of Music next year when my daughter will be in IB and 7 years old.

The material is presented so differently from Jolly Music that  I know my daughter will love it, even though the information is the same.

What’s included in Foundations of Music?

  • detailed lesson plans
  • captivating companion stories
  • engaging projects and games
  • sheet music for songs referenced in the curriculum
  • samples of student work

Also included is access to the member site where there are

  • quality recordings of listening examples
  • “compose yourself” videos
  • recordings of songs referenced in the curriculum

The singer (I assume it’s Crystal) has a clear and pleasant voice that is easily understandable.

Earlier levels

Legends of the Staff of Musique also has a program called Early Childhood – Cantiamo Tutti. We are currently using it and love it! Again, it falls so completely in with a Charlotte Mason lifestyle that you wouldn’t even know it was Waldorf-inspired if Crystal didn’t tell you.

Still not convinced? There are samples of both Early Childhood and Foundations at the Staff of Musique website.

These are not affiliate links; I am simply in love with this music curriculum and want to share it with the world.

If you buy, send Crystal an email or PM and tell her I sent you.

I cannot recommend this program highly enough.

THE TAKEAWAY

… if you’re looking for a gentle foundational music curriculum for the voice, that is perfectly suited to your Form I student (ages 6-9) and written for a homeschooling parent without a music background…

… if you want the beauty that Waldorf brings to this age group

… then get Foundations of Music from Legends of the Staff Musique

adore this music curriculum.

Want to save the Legends of the Staff of Musique review for later? Pin it to your favorite Pinterest board!

Legends of the Staff of Musique review pinterest with bouncing gold musical note

You’ve wanted to discuss Charlotte Mason’s works in an inclusive, accepting group. One where you felt comfortable sharing your own interpretations of Charlotte Mason’s words based on your own spiritual values. One where you didn’t have to wonder if you’d be asked to leave or simply blocked because you don’t share others’ religious beliefs.

That place now exists.

Disclaimer: This post probably contains affiliate links. That means that if you click through and make a purchase, I may receive a small commission at no extra cost to you. I only recommend products I use and love myself.

At A Charlotte Mason Plenary, owner Rachel Lebowitz is committed to providing everyone a safe place to discuss Charlotte Mason’s works.

Her first session, a study of Volume I: Home Education, started in early January but I’ve waited to write a review.

I wanted to see how the concept would play out.

How it works

They have several Plenary sessions scheduled for this year, and though I can’t speak to future ones, I can tell you how the book discussion is working.

First, you get a download of the volume that they’ve edited and formatted for easy reading and note-taking. Not only that, but it is annotated with definitions of obscure words, fun facts, and explained references.

Then there is a members-only Facebook group in which Rachel leads a discussion of the material. The discussion has been lively, with viewpoints all over the spectrum. Members vary widely in their religious beliefs, and the conversation is kept respectful and inclusive. We are encouraged to discuss how we can reconcile Charlotte’s words to our own beliefs.

Sometimes this is easy.

Other times we wrestle with it.

Rachel is an admin at Charlotte Mason Secular Homeschoolers (disclaimer: I am a moderator there) and has led inclusive Charlotte Mason groups in her hometown.

The Takeaway

Though I haven’t participated as much as I’d like to, I’ve found the conversation at the Charlotte Mason Plenary welcoming and respectful.

I highly recommend The Plenary if you are looking for resources to help you apply Charlotte Mason’s method to your life without the dogma.