This is a guest post by Jodie Mesler, music teacher and author of The Magic Flute, a music curriculum from Living Music designed to help homeschooling parents teach their children recorder or penny whistle.
Jodie’s passion is sharing her music compositions and teachings of the natural and artistic approach to music education. As a mother of three, she gave her children a strong Waldorf-Inspired homeschooling foundation. Jodie is a music teacher and performer who loves sharing music with others. This wonderful post has a bonus VIDEO TUTORIAL in which Jodie teaches us how to play a fall song, Winds of October, on the soprano recorder.
Jodie also leads the music workshops at the summer Taproot Teacher Training for Waldorf homeschoolers.
7 EASY STEPS TO RELEASING ANXIETY ABOUT MUSIC EDUCATION
Synchronizing your breath between your inner being and an earthly wind instrument is like catching a gust of wind and riding it as if it were an ocean wave reaching the shore, freeing your spirit inside. We are human beings wanting to allow the spirit within us to live in unison and in harmony. Music is one route as it lives in us all. It lies patiently in some waiting to be released.
Do you love music, but feel you have suppressed it for too long? Were you taught music in a dead, academic and pressured way? What if there was a way to bring music to children in a more peaceful, pleasant way? You can release your anxiety by these 7 easy steps.
Realize that you can do it and it is easy.
Let go of the myth that you have to learn how to read music, and learn to play the instrument first.
Begin learning to play by ear, like a baby learns language. Ever notice that your baby understands what you say, but cannot speak or write down those words?
Release the overwhelming feeling of learning 88 keys on the piano and simply learn only 7 notes on a recorder instrument, such as a pennywhistle, pentatonic flute, or soprano recorder. Seven is much easier than 88!
Release the pain of comparing yourself to other singers. We are all born unique and with our own singing voice.
Learn to love and embrace the voice you were born with and start singing today.
Turn off the media, and start remembering those songs from childhood and sing to your children. If the song lives within you and you sing it, you share your soul. We are just human, and that is what we want our children to embrace, being human and finding joy through song to connect us to heaven.
OUR BEST TEACHERS
Remember how babies learn by ear first? Our next best teachers are 1 to 3-year-olds! See how easy it is for them to break into song at any moment and move to the beat!? We were that age once. Would you like to be that free again?
I want to encourage us all to start our music education by learning the easiest instrument, the recorder.
NOTE FROM JEAN: This post contains affiliate links for your convenience. You can read Jean’s full disclosure policy here.
Wondering what recorder Jodie recommends? It’s this Yamaha Recorder with Baroque Fingering.
10 BENEFITS FOR LEARNING HOW TO PLAY AN INSTRUMENT
- You were naturally born to create and make music.
- Creating music is fun.
- Creating music puts you in the moment and creates spontaneity.
- We are all creators.
- Creating music is pleasurable.
- Creating music brings others joy and helps them understand their emotions.
- It benefits your health by building your lungs and creating better circulation.
- It makes you smarter and grows your mind.
- It opens doors to more creative thinking.
- It inspires others.
WHERE DO YOU START? The Magic Flute Volume 1 (by me, Jodie Mesler). It is an online teaching program that gives you everything you need to teach your children at home. You will learn how to play a pennywhistle or recorder by watching the online video tutorials. There are 20 videos and lesson plans broken into 4 blocks. To teach you how to play and how to teach. Plus 5 bonus songbooks with sheet music and recordings of seasonal and festival songs. The child learns from you, the parent, in a step by step laid out approach following the lessons.
Not only do you learn how to play a recorder instrument, but you learn how to sing with confidence, how to make it creative and playful, and how to play games and work on rhythm using hand claps. There are so many ways you can learn music without having to read music. Let’s put easy and fun back into the way we learn music and bring it to our children.
I want to tell you a story about myself. Music is one of my favorite things in life. I also love being creative and artistic, but the way I was presented music education was not artistic, it was academic. I was taught to look at music, not to hear it. How weird is that!?!
Music is something you hear, not merely written musical notes. Also, I was taught to memorize scales, not songs. So when someone asked me to play them something without music, all I could play them was a scale, a very fast scale.
I wished I had received music education that was more living, more nourishing for my soul, and not so boring. I made it through school with this method of music, but once becoming a music teacher myself and a mother of three, I wondered how am I was going to teach these sweet precious children? I answered, surely not the way I was taught, but the way I wish I had been taught.
I began to search for that creative and fun method that I knew had to exist, but couldn’t find anything at all. So I decided to create my own, called Living Music From the Heart. It worked out that there are other people longing for this kind of creative, nourishing approach, as well. Many people have been able to give their children my new way of learning music.
Today, I am still growing, and I am constantly inspired to learn all I can about music. I enjoy playing many different instruments like the flute, recorder, pennywhistle, Indian flute, pentatonic flute, guitar, bass guitar, ukulele, and piano.
My favorite instrument today is the piano. However, did you know, I did not begin to play the piano until I was 30 years old? Can you believe I now perform for my church as the keyboardist every Sunday? If you would have told me at age 25 that at age 41, I would be a keyboardist for a church, I would not have believed you. I am still pinching myself, as if I could have ever reached this goal.
I actually taught myself how to play. I mainly play by ear although I am able to read music. I honestly feel so limited when I read someone else’s music as opposed to the music living inside me that comes out via my soul in tune with heaven.
It is the most amazing feeling, as if I am channeling with angels in heaven. I am in awe of what this earth and heaven have to offer us mere humans. Isn’t that the goal for all of us, to take our talent and to channel the Divine through us, being great examples for our children?
FREE Autumn Video Song Tutorial for all readers. Learn how to play The Winds of October on the recorder or the pennywhistle. For the sheet music and an audio recording of the song, click here: The Winds of October Song.
I really appreciate how Jodie reminds us to simply remember songs from our childhood and sing from our soul to our children. AND that you don’t have to read music in order to play it! Thank you for that permission! I have been wondering how to help nurture my young boys’ interest in playing piano. They so freely play around — by ear and by heart! A guide like Jodie’s would truly help us hear more and more music from the soul in our home — and inspire me to finally learn an instrument by the time I’m 40!
Yes, singing from our soul – by ear and by heart – is so nourishing for ourselves and our children! So glad to hear Jodie’s encouragement along these lines is helpful to you, Elizabeth.
Perfect comment! Good luck in winning!! You picked up on every point I am encouraging for parents.
Congratulations, Elizabeth! You are the GIVEAWAY winner! I know you’ll enjoy Jodie’s wonderful curriculum. I can see this bringing you many hours of playing around with music, singing, playing piano, playing recorder. Have fun with it all! And may you learn to play the recorder by the time you’re 40!!! It’s never too late.
Congratulations, Elizabeth! Thank you for joining the fun of our giveaway hosted by Jean at Waldorf Inspired Learning. I loved your comment. I will send you your prizes. You summed up my entire post in your comment and it really heard what I was trying to say to moms. It seems that you and your family are a perfect fit.
I agree with you, Elizabeth. And now i’m a mother of a child 10 years old.
Sure i will help my daughter like me too. My family is also planning to her start to learning piano right now.
I’m a homeschooling mom of a 9 years old boy. Maceo, my son, wants very much to learn guitar. But this instrument is not the easiest to learn, and learning to read music has also discouraged him.
I think that starting with the recorder would be great for him !
I myself play percussion, but no melodic instrument, although I tried the pennywhistle a long time ago, without success.
So your training would be a great opportunity for both of us to learn music in a simple and fun way. The format you offer is really good, and perfect for a homeschooling and busy mom !
I started with recorder in elementary school and I think it’s such a great place to start. And I started all three of my children with recorder and they each went on to play other instruments, piano, guitar, and percussion. Jodie’s package is definitely practical and do-able and inspiring! Thanks for commenting, Dominque.
Thanks for your comment and good luck in winning! It is great that you have a percussion background, rhythm is a huge part of learning music. When I play piano, I play it like I am a drummer with musical fingers hitting a drum kit. The piano is a percussion instrument. So if we want to become better pianists, like football players take ballet, we should take drum lessons, that would really give us a great style. Living Music From the Heart is definitely for the busy mom, and it is great for boys, because they seem to learn better by ear. I have noticed that from my 20 years of teaching music that boys try to slide by reading the music. At age 9-12, the pennywhistle is perfect. At age 12, I have seen the best success for students to start guitar because of the amount of muscle it takes to hold down the strings. Plus at age 12 they understand chords and they are ready to learn chords, younger children should focus on the melody only.
This is our first year homeschooling. My now second grader has been in a waldorf school since he was three. Last year he finished his 1st grade year and we decided we would homeschool. I love all the things he learned in school and have had a hard time knowing that I cannot teach him everything the school did. He loved playing his recorder last year and still plays a few songs he remembers. I would love to be able to continue to teach him. I do not play any instruments and to this point have not known how I would be able to teach him. I would love to win this book so that I can continue teaching this beautiful instrument.
Oh, Karen. I talk to so many people who move from the Waldorf school setting to homeschooling. The homeschool setting will never be like the classroom but there are so many other benefits that you will find along the way – flexibility, family time, reading on the couch, going more deeply into your son’s particular interests… Jodie’s curriculum would be great for you to be able to continue his recorder playing, and you can learn, too!
Yes, like Jean said, this program is for parents that have the benefit and blessing of staying at home with their children so that the entire family can make music together. It is a beautiful thing for the family to be able to make music for those precious and often sacred festival times. My music curriculum is super easy, we focus on the pentatonic notes (only 5 notes) and learn fun, catchy songs, then you can move into the festival books as you develop your musical skills. Good luck in winning! And thank you for your comment.
This way of teaching music just makes good sense especially when compared to learning a language. My children experienced Suzuki piano and recorder when they were young, so I am curious as to how this is different or perhaps somewhat the same. Now that I am not in the middle of raising young ones it would be great to learn to play an instrument myself!
Yes, Kim, I have so enjoyed picking up the recorder again with my children and learning to play many new songs over our Waldorf homeschooling years. It’s such a joy. And we can now play duets, or have one play while others sing. Great for festivals. My youngest has done Suzuki piano (although she didn’t start until she was 9) and loved it, is still playing at 16. The recorder was a great place for her to start and both involved learning by ear (long before learning to read music). I’ll let Jodie elaborate further. Thanks for your comment, Kim.
Hi Kim! I just realized this is you!!! Hope you’re return home from Taproot went smoothly. It was so great to meet you!
Thank you, Kim for your comment. The methods are similar as we start off teaching by ear. The big difference, is that I use the pentatonic scale (only 5 notes), meaning when you play just these notes there are no off sounding notes. The focus is on making pleasing sounds. Suzuki is focused on the classical style of making music that leads to classical music performance. My method is focused on creating music with your family so you can celebrate the seasons with music, in which you can perform within your family function, for example, at Christmas time, May Day etc. I teach you how to make up your own songs, ultimately writing your own music in the end, simply and successfully. I have heard so many parents and children come to me to share songs they wrote and they are adorable and very good. We are ultimately all creators.
I would love to win because we have not started music in our homeschool yet because I have had no musical experience whatsoever and don’t even know where to begin! I want to make music a regular part of our day but I have been struggling with it. This giveaway would be tremendously helpful! Thanks for the opportunity, my fingers are crossed.
Thank you Christie, for your comment and good luck! This program is for you, because I had parents like you in mind when I wrote it, I know what it is like to want to learn and not have an easy path to follow. This path is easy!
We have decided to homeschool our daughter for the first year and I know that it would be soo wonderful to have this package to help me on our waldorf homeschooling journey. I am very excited and nervous:) Thank you for this opportunity to add this much needed resource for our family:)
Stephanie, good luck, and I hope you have a great first year, bringing music into your school program will open up new brain passageways not only for your child, but for you too!!!
This will be our first year homeschooling my son for 1st grade. With baby #3 coming any day now, I am definitely grateful for resources such as this. I have some experience reading piano music but would love the support to expand my knowledge and successfully introduce the recorder into our 1st grade year. This looks like a beautiful and thoughtful program. Thank you.
Thank you, Jill. I got up very early many mornings to write this program when I had 3 young children because there was a great need for a music curriculum that was art based. I search high and low, but couldn’t find one, so with my musical knowledge I was able to build one and share it with you all and I am loving the feedback I am getting from moms all over the world with how much they have learned and especially how much they have had fun with it. They even write their own songs together. Enjoy your first year, it will be a blast!
What a wonderful post. I love how you outlined the steps, which makes the process of learning and sharing music with our children attainable and fun for all of us! It is also very helpful to be reminded the we each have a unique voice and talent for music and that creating music and expressing ourselves this way is part of our birthright.
Beautiful, Kathryn, I love your comment!! Good luck in winning. It is our birthright, and we must remember!!! Music lifts us up and takes us right into the moment, it is so freeing.
I remember tinkling away on my aunt’s piano when I was a little girl, and I was so excited when I figured out the notes to “Mary Had A Little Lamb.” Sadly, that’s about as far as my music education went, so I felt rather intimidated by becoming my children’s music teacher. I truly thought I needed to know how to both play and read music in order to teach them. With some trepidation I bought pentatonic recorders, but I really lacked confidence in my ability to guide their learning. We struggled and played very inconsistently. My kids strongly resisted music lessons until we began volume 1 of Jodie’s program last spring. WOW! I appreciate the teacher lessons for me, which are simple and easy to follow. The girls love their lessons, too, especially the clapping games. We have progressed more in confidence and in our playing after 3 of Jodie’s lessons than we had in 8 (sporadic) months on our own. I’m actually looking forward to resuming our music lessons this fall. Thank you for sharing your gift of music and encouragement, Jodie!
Carly, what a great achievement for you and your family, thank you for sharing! I am so glad I was able to offer you a product that fit your family and your desire to learn music together. Good luck in winning! You are needing Volume 2, I am guessing. In Volume 2, it has triple the songs and your musical skills will greatly improve. Following the seasons and learning some great folk songs that are in the pleasing scale of the pentatonic. It’s amazing how profound and simple songs from ordinary folks sound and they are so catchy, but interesting.
My children and I just took a tin whistle sampler class over the summer and are looking for ways to learn more. We would love this.
Unfortunately, my first grader is in a mainstream school due to our current circumstances. I’m looking for ways to supplement that at home. I already bought volume 1 to use for this year, but I’d love to have volume 2 ready to go for next year!
Sounds great, Charity! Thanks for letting us know and I encourage you to continue supplementing the arts with your children.
I’d love to win, so that this can help bring us creatively together through voice and recorder : my daughter, two granddaughters and I share a rental. My daughter ( who is in an accelerated law program that allows little creative time) learned recorder in Waldorf 1-8; my granddaughters have an amazing public school music teacher ( grades 4 and 5) who teaches all kids 1st-6th recorder and folk dancing. I am a bit of the ‘lame duck’. Having a home program would encourage and support us in such a lovely, balancing way.
That is exactly it, Pamela, bringing you together to be creative with music and song, thank you for your comment.
I would love to bridge into the recorder, but am rather nervous about it. I am just getting comfortable with the pentatonic flute and wonder how challenging this will be. With so much more to learn on the pentatonic, I feel like studying and learning the recorder this year and beginning the actual recorder with my 3rd grader next year. He will be 4th then…is this too late?I would love a good resource to study the recorder, since all my sources are pentatonic only so far.
Hello Danielle, I have had students up to 6th grade just starting, so 4th grade is not too late. I don’t think you will have a difficult time transitioning. I play multi instruments and it is easy to move from one to the other once you have a foundation. Thank you for your comment.
What a lovely post. We came to homeschooling late and since we began, I feel as though I am still playing catch-up. Music is something that has slipped for us and I regret that. I played recorder, then flute, as a child and teen. I have barely touched them since and my kids are eager for more. While we sing, it would be lovely to be creating music in others ways. Thank you!
Thanks for gathering and taking time to create this wonderful article . ! We all play an instrument in our family and I think music is so important. I actually played many instruments in school and when I started college I was going for music education! I ended up switching majors because it was just too tough for me, but I will always love music and hope my daughter will enjoy it as much as I do!
I have read many books and articles about music education and i would say, without doubt, that parents should encourage their kids to take music lessons! The benefits of music for children are great! One very interesting book about that matter is “Unleash the Secret of Education and learn how to raise a happy child”.
Yes, music can bring such joy and is good for brain development, too! I love that the Waldorf curriculum recognizes this.
Thanks for sharing such an inspiring post. Many parents don’t realize that there are many benefits to music lessons for their children. Music lessons can inspire self-confidence, enhance your social life, and boost your brain power, whether you are a child, teen, or adult.
Brian C. Rutter
Do you know of anyone who has a pentatonic flute training? Online sessions?
Sarah, I would check with Jodie Mesler of Living Music from the Heart. Her curriculum starts with the pentatonic scale and can be used for flute, recorder or penny whistle. She also offers online lessons via Skype.