I was looking around the internet for something to use to help teach The Boy how to read music, and I stumbled upon a nice free Music Theory site, musictheory.net. It’s nothing too long or complicated, but it covers what I wanted: basic notes, time signatures, chords, and so forth. It has a mode where it has a picture for each line of text that you just click through, so it could be used by a more independent user. Or, you could print out the whole lesson with each image and the line of text associated with it. The third option is an Apple device app, but I don’t have one of those (Update 2016: My husband has it on his iPad).
We use a lot of books and web sites like this — homeschoolers call it a “spine”. Just something with the bare facts that you can follow to have a basic set of information in a nice order. After that, you supplement with other books, activities, trips, or whatever is appropriate. It’s just nice to not have to invent the entire class from scratch.
The Boy already learned some of the same information in his singing class, so he knew what a whole note or half note was, but he hadn’t been asked to actually read them and clap out the notes before. So I used our handy dry erase sentence strips to write a measure of notes on. In the not-to-distant future, I hope to at least teach him how to read the scale, and construct major and minor scales and chords, plus read simple songs and play them on something. Then I want to turn him loose to compose.
Next year, if everything works out, he can join a local homeschool band.
Update, 2016: Instead of taking up an instrument, he’s been making music electronically with a program called MixCraft. We also are slowly learning some more piano…