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For a few years now M has had a fascination with music. On his 3rd birthday, unplanned, we popped into a music store. I had been wanting to find out how much it would be to rent a flute for myself.
That day we didn’t just leave with a flute but also a beautiful blue ukulele with a wooden dolphin bridge. It is perhaps the best investment I have made for the kids! Both M and A play with that ukulele daily. This one musical instrument has sparked a deep desire in M to explore music further.
Now at the top of his list of things he is always asking for is a violin and a keyboard. I am working on it! In the meantime though I want to do everything in my power to feed his interest in this area. Since he seems to be drawn to classical music I have been on the hunt for some homeschool music resources to help me out.
Discovering SQUILT Music
On my hunt I was introduced to SQUILTmusic.com by another homeschool family who loves using their resources with their 12 year old. I went to take a look for myself and immediately found several resources that I thought both the boys would enjoy.
SQUILT actually stands for Super, Quiet, UnInterupted, Listening Time. Their website houses lots of different music resources for children of all ages. Options include Live Music Appreciation Lessons, Flash Cards, Games and everything in between.
Exploring the Orchestra With SQUILT Music Flash Cards
In the Meet the Instruments: Exploring the Orchestra set we received :
- 32 Printable orchestral instrument flashcards
- Access to a private resource page which contains:
* and over 30 hand picked videos for teaching children about the different instruments in an orchestra, their families and their sounds.
Using the Flashcards
Each card has either a picture of an orchestra section or individual instrument on one side. On the other side is information about the section, instruments and some interesting fun facts.
As we worked through the videos and activity suggestions, we took a section of the orchestra each day. Every lesson I started off by reading through the relevant flash cards and laid them all out before we sat to watch and listen to the corresponding music videos.
As we listened to the different pieces of music, I would ask the children to keep an ear out for a particular sound and ask them to point to the flashcard with the correct instrument on it.
I would also from time to time hand the boys pencil and paper to draw some pictures as they listened.
At the end of each session I’d ask the boys to name the instruments on the flash cards and get M to tell me as much as he could remember about them. I also discovered which instrument from each section he liked best. He loved the Double base because of it’s deep sound!
When we were through with the main lesson for the day I’d leave the music playing and M would enjoy pretending he was conducting the orchestra!
It took us no more than a week to cover all the instruments in the videos because the kids just wanted to keep going and spent several hours on this each morning! Who was I to stop them?! When we made it to the end of all of the video resources they both wanted to start over again!
The Things We Love About Exploring The Orchestra With SQUILT Music
Downloading and printing the resources was pretty straight forward and the instructions for use are really easy to follow.
The cards are simple and attractive for the kiddo’s.
Each card is packed with information and interesting facts about each instrument!
Suitable for both preschool, Kindergarten and beyond!
I was worried that the activities may be a little advanced for a kindergartener but even little A enjoyed listening, watching and naming the instruments as we went.
You don’t need to have any prior musical knowledge to use these with your kid’s.
Honestly, all the information I needed was right there! Even though I do have a little bit of a background in music, I still learnt a few new things too. If you know very little about music don’t worry, you’ll get learn right along side your children!
Fantastic selection of videos!
I loved the videos that singled out each instrument which allowed the boys time to listen closely and become familiar with each individual sound.
Covered the structure of the orchestra too!
Not only did these cards introduce children to the instruments they would find in a orchestra, they also highlighted the structure of an orchestra and the different instrument families.
Videos included some famous theme tunes.
Both the boys and I loved the fact that although there was a lot of traditional classical music in the videos, there were also a few very famous theme tunes and popular music ones thrown in too. These grabbed the boys attention, were requested repeatedly and were then sung and imitated quite frequently in the days that followed.
They are already coming in handy with our study of the Romantic Era.
We also like the fact that we can now use these flash cards as we progress into studying other areas of music too.
There were a few unusual instruments thrown in there too.
One’s that I don’t think I would have thought of exploring with the kids myself. Like the big Gong!
There were a few instruments that I had never come across before before like the Vibraphone.
Great for bringing calm and focus to our days.
This was quite an unexpected benefit! Starting our homeschool hours with some quiet listening time was a great way to get the kids calmed and focused. It was also a good tool, on the days when things were getting a little out of hand, for bringing everyone together to relax and dissolve conflicts between the kids. A huge bonus in my opinion!
Room for Improvement?
I have spent a good 10 minutes trying to rack my brains for one thing I thought could be improved in this resource and honestly I am stumped. Everything I needed was right there!
The only thing I could think of that would have made our orchestra studies even better would have been a hands on experience with all these instruments as we went along. I would have loved for M and A to have been able to touch, play and listen up close to these instruments! I can imagine if you have the chance to meet with an orchestra, it would be a good field trip to add along side this resource. The closest we got was to a few little impromptu violin lessons with a very musically talented friend of ours!
This is not something that could have been achieved by the creators of the Meet the Instruments Flashcards.
Would I Recommend These Flashcards to Other Homeschool Families?
Without a doubt! The team at SQUILT really did cover everything they could with these cards and it was definitely $16 well spent!
In hindsight, I wish I had purchased the entire Meet the Instruments Bundle. It would have been nice to have moved on to exploring classical composers. I think the kids would enjoy the bingo and matching cards game too. I may still even purchase the composers pack separately because I am yet to come across a different resource that I think would be appropriate for M and A at this age.
If you have a child who loves music and instruments or you would like to add some music time to your homeschool, these flash cards are the perfect option. They are fantastic for preschoolers and kindergarteners. Equally, I think they would make a brilliant addition to classical music studies with children of all ages.
You can purchase The Meet the Instruments Flashcard set in the SQUILT online store and whilst your there check out their other resources too!