Learn to Play a Musical Instrument Without an Instructor

Music instruction has really changed! Did you know you can easily teach a child a musical instrument without paying for a weekly tutor? The use of CDs and computers can enhance instruction to provide a better musical education than years with most music teachers. And it’s all done by you and in your own home!

Why should your child have some kind of musical instruction? Here is a list of reasons adapted from Piano-Mentor.com.

1. Music is a science. It is exact, specific; and it demands exact acoustics. A conductor’s full score is a chart, a graph which indicates frequencies, intensities, volume changes, melody and harmony all at once and with the most exact control of time.

2. Music is mathematical. It is rhythmically based on the subdivisions of time into fractions which must be done instantaneously, not worked out on paper.

3. Music is a foreign language. Most of the terms are in Italian, German, or French; and the notation is certainly not English – but a highly developed kind of shorthand that uses symbols to represent ideas. The semantics of music is the most complete and universal language.

4. Music is history. Music usually reflects the environment and times of its creation often even the country and/or racial feeling.

5. Music is physical education. It requires fantastic coordination of fingers, hands, arms, lip, cheek, and facial muscles in addition to extraordinary control of the diaphragm, back, stomach, and chest muscles, which respond instantly to the sound the ear hears and the mind interprets.

6. Music is art. It allows a human being to take these dry, technically boring (but difficult) techniques and use them to create emotion. (Adapted from Piano-Mentor.com)

What are some options available to homeschool parents? What kind of music and instrumental instruction can be given at home? Here are some links and other resources.

Music Theory

1. HappyNote.com – This website has four wonderful games that you can download and use to teach your child music theory. These games teach your children to read treble and bass clef notes, musical symbols and more. One of them also covers “playing by ear”. Best of all, these four programs are FREE!

2. eMusicTheory.com – This site provides online tools for teachers and students of basic music theory, everywhere. It has some great interactive learning games that cover Note Reading, Piano Note Reading, Paced Note Reading, C-Clef Reading, Key Signatures, Interval Drills, Scale Building, and Chord Drills.

Piano Instruction

Years ago, one of the best products for teaching piano at home was Piano Discovery by Jump Music. The Piano Discovery System turned your personal computer into the piano teacher of your dreams. The system had a midi keyboard and CD-Roms with over 900 lessons, 70 voice demonstrations and 60 songs. Each student’s progress was tracked by a evaluation method that took into account the student’s skill level. Lessons could be modified to improve each student’s weakest skills. Parents or teachers could check progress at any time and print out certificates of achievement at the end of each section.

Unfortunately for homeschoolers, Jump Music has gone out of business. But sometimes, you can still find the Piano Discovery System on eBay.com. I was fortunate enough to find one and purchased it for my own children. If you can find it, BUY IT!

Another piano option with keyboard is The Piano Suite Deluxe Bundle by Adventus.com. In my research on this product, it appears to be very similar to the Piano Discovery System mentioned above. Piano Suite is a real teaching tool, developed by music educators.

With Piano Suite you can also record your own music, display and print out the musical notation. Compositions can also be exported to the popular MIDI format and even made available to a global audience via the Internet. Biographies of over 150 composers and performers are included. Challenging interactive games sharpen your piano playing skills and develop theory comprehension. This product looks very promising!

Guitar Instruction

You Can Teach Yourself Guitar (Book & CD) by William Bay. This is a very popular guitar method. Its success lies in the fact that is extremely easy to understand and very flexible. It moves at a slow, steady pace and enables you to play chord accompaniments in 7 primary guitar keys! In addition, you will learn to strum blues chords and you will also begin to play fingerstyle backgrounds. This book is supplemented by a play-along CD. You can purchase this online at Amazon.com.

Violin Instruction

Ebaru Publishing at Ebaru.com has a wonderful home program for teaching your child the violin. This program was developed by Eden Vaning-Rosen. At the Southeast Homeschool Expo, I met David Rosen of Ebaru Publishing. You could tell by the way he demonstrated their system that he loves teaching children the violin. Within 2 minutes, my younger children knew all the parts of a violin and bow. What a wonderful way to teach the violin!

The Violin Book Series contains seven books which take the children from beginning to advanced violin playing. The first book covers the basic violin hold, parts of the instrument, stage manners, and learning to play with a beautiful, rich, squeakless tone. And as your child advances, they will play pieces by Mozart, Bach, Corelli, Brahms, Beethoven, as well as Spanish and German and more International Favorites. They will also learn the beginning elements of musicality are introduced, such as breathing, relaxed bow control, and in-depth mechanics on the mechanism of producing sound with stringed instruments.

What is great about this program is that it can be used for more than one child. And they sell/rent the violins too! Each one is a complete setup according to the Music Educators National Conference/American String Teachers Association standards, and includes a violin tuning pitch pipe.

The different instruction methods that I covered above is only the tip of the iceberg! And that’s so exciting! Do you realize that many of these programs/courses were developed because parents like you wanted to teach their children at home? So why not take advantage of them?


Now, how do you go about implementing any of the above programs into your homeschooling? Can you get your children to do this without going to an instructor every week? The answer is YES!

As with any subject that you teach your children at home, you have to get them to do it. Make it mandatory, not optional. Schedule the music time, just like you would if you were taking your child to an instructor. If necessary, make your child sit down with their music and give them a time limit, or tell them they have to master one lesson before they are done. You will be surprised at what your children will be able to accomplish!

“I wish to see all arts, principally music, in the service of Him who gave and created them. I would not for the world forego my humble share of music. Singers are never sorrowful, but are merry and they smile through their troubles in song. Music makes people kinder, gentler, more staid and reasonable. I am persuaded that after theology, there is no art that can be placed on a level with music – for beside theology, music is the only art capable of affording peace and joy of heart… The devil flees before the sound of music almost as much as before the Word of God. MUSIC IS A FAIR AND GLORIOUS GIFT OF GOD!” – Martin Luther

Kelly Ling is a work-at-home, homeschooling mother of five. She has mentored many homeschooling and work-at-home moms over the past eighteen years. Kelly also owes a home-based web design business. When not doing web design, she is constantly updating some of her homeschooling/work-at-home websites – Homeschool Top Sites, ChristianWAHM.com, WAHM Contests, and others.

avatar Kelly Ling (11 Posts)

Kelly Ling is a work-at-home, homeschooling mother of five. She has mentored many homeschooling and work-at-home moms over the past fifteen years. Kelly owes a home-based web design business and also helps her husband run the family's mobile DJ service.

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