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Suzuki Method classes from home: Practice Monkeys

If you are looking for Suzuki music lessons for your family that makes it easy AND affordable, you are going to LOVE this. Homeschooling mom of 9 and 30 year Suzuki instructor Sarah Van Kleeck took her passion for music education and created an amazing way to make Suzuki lessons accessible for families like yours.

Practice Monkeys provides live, online music classes, practice sessions, and support for violin, piano, cello, and guitar. Rather than running your kids to weekly lessons and then reminding them over and over again to “go practice,” Practice Monkeys has the built-in expertise, accountability, and community to help your family follow through on your decision to learn to play an instrument. At just $59 per month for THE WHOLE FAMILY, Practice Monkeys is heaps and bounds more affordable than going elsewhere for music lessons. 

For families that are just starting out or who prefer to take classes at their own pace, Sarah Strings is now up and running for beginner violinists. With this program you can enjoy the pre-recorded classes in your own time, and go back through any classes as you like. They plan to expand the offerings on this site to also include piano, cello, and guitar. At only $49 per month for the whole family, you can’t beat it if you don’t need any live classes. 

Both Practice Monkeys and Sarah Strings offer a wonderful value for busy families. If Suzuki music lessons are on your wish list, you will definitely want to check them out.

I’ve done two videos explaining more about Practice Monkeys and my experience attending some of their classes. Check those out below:
@enrichment_studies PracticeMonkeys.com is such a fun, friendly, and affordable way for your children to get to experience #suzuki piano, violin, cello, or guitar. Highly recommended! #suzukipiano #suzukiviolin #homeschooling #homeschool #ad ♬ original sound – Erica Johns: How to Homeschool

@enrichment_studies Practice Monkeys does an amazing job of providing #suzuki instrument instruction at an incredibly affordable rate of only $59/month for THE WHOLE FAMILY!👀 And I think this system is far better than the solitary once a week lesson system that most of us grew up with. #suzukiviolin #homeschooling #homeschool #ad ♬ original sound – Erica Johns: How to Homeschool

Virtual Sheet Music: A Great Option for Musical Families!

Our sponsor for this giveaway is Virtual Sheet Music

With so many homeschool families having children that play musical instruments, I know the need for sheet music is never-ending! So I was excited to hear from Virtual Sheet Music and get to learn about what they have to offer.

This terrific site offers access to sheet music for over 2,000 classical and traditional songs, from composers like Mozart, Bach, Debussy, Beethoven, Chopin, as well as music in the jazz, pop, rock, and many other genres!

I was excited to see that the sheet music here isn’t just for piano and guitar–they’ve got pretty much every single instrument included, from the accordion to the banjo, piccolo, harpsichord, and tuba, there are a TON of instruments included!  (Check out the list here)

With their membership access you can download and print all of their titles for one low membership price.  Additionally, there are tons of MIDI and Mp3 files available, and many accompaniment files available as well.  They even offer interactive music via Scorch, which gives you the ability to play, change the tempo, transpose, and change instruments all within your web browser!

They also offer access to over 100,000 popular music titles by other publishers like Alfred, Hal Leonard, Schott Music, and others, at a deep discount.

All of the sheet music titles  at Virtual Sheet Music are completely legal and are suitable for competitions, examinations, and are recognized by major music schools and institutions all around the world.

If you or your children just love to learn new pieces of music, you will love the variety and selection at Virtual Sheet Music!


Just to recap what Virtual Sheet Music has to offer:

1. Free access to over 2,000 classical & traditional titles
2. Up to 70% off on over 100,000 popular titles
3. Play along with unique Mp3 accompaniments (on selected titles).
4. Transpose music to print it for any instrument (on selected titles).



The easy way to get your kids interested in the arts

One of the challenges to incorporating more fine arts in our lives can be our preconceived notions about whether or not we’ll like something. We have them. Our kids have them. I’m sure you’ve experienced it.  “I don’t want to go to the ballet.  It sounds boring!”  “Opera?  Ew.  No thanks!”  “An art show opening?  Snooze.  No way.”  But a lot of times if we can experience the arts in their natural habitat, we discover that we like these things quite a lot.

A terrific way to get your kids on board and open to new forms of art is by taking advantage of local opportunities to see their peers performing!

Recently I got to take all four of my teenage boys to see one of their friends performing in a voice recital. She is an amazing 18 year old opera singer, and despite the fact that all of my boys would have said an emphatic “No Thank You!” to opera before, they loved this concert and now are proud to say that they do actually like opera and thought it was pretty awesome!

In this facebook live chat, my son Isaac and I talk about this experience, and how watching our friends or kids close to our age can be a great way to get exposure to different art forms, and discover that we do actually have an appreciation for it!

There are tons of local opportunities to take in low or no-cost arts through recitals, art shows, and more. Here are just a few ideas for places to start finding these events:

voice teachers:  probably have recitals at least twice a year

piano teachers:  probably have recitals twice a year

dance teachers: probably have recitals twice a year

Suzuki method or other instrument lesson instructors

local schools choral, band, and orchestra concerts

local colleges and universities:  year-round art shows and special musical performances by students and faculty, as well as special guests

community arts centers:  typically offer art shows, sometimes featuring local students, performance art, and more

Want to watch Lydia’s concert? Here it is:

$10 Off all Online Music Classes

Affiliate links are used in this post.
Music in Our Homeschool Black Friday SaleI’ve given great reviews to the online music classes that we are enjoying at my house. This year my teen boys are taking the 20th Century Music Appreciation course, and they just started the new Intro to Musicals course as well. (I wrote about that here) We are enjoying them both and highly recommend them to you!

These classes are set up to be easy for students to work through independently.  There are lots of videos, just like what you enjoy here with Enrichment Studies resources, but there’s more direct teaching included in these courses than what we do here.  

Happily, now through Nov. 30 you can get any of these courses for $10 off using coupon code BLACKFRIDAY.  You get lifetime access to these classes, so even if you aren’t quite ready to jump in, you can save now and have them ready when you are.

Learning about Musicals is Fun!

Affiliate links are used in this post.
If you’ve ever caught yourself singing “Just a spoonful of sugar helps the medicine go down!” or, “It’s a hard knock life for us!” when your kids complain, you MIGHT be a mom that likes musicals. 🙂

At my house, with several teenagers that love community theater, we are regularly geeking out to show tunes, funny voices, and favorite lines from plays and movies. So I was pretty excited to hear that my friend Gena from Music in Our Homeschool has created an Intro to Musicals course.

My boys are already working through her 20th Century Music Appreciation Course (and loving it), but now they want to take a detour and soak up all the info about the 10 musicals included in this course, since there are quite a few that they aren’t familiar with. You can bet that they’ll all be into it within a couple days. And why shouldn’t they? Not only are musicals fun and entertaining, but they are often a memorable depiction of different points in history, and are full of clever tidbits that have been sewn into the verbal fabric of our culture!  Knowing where those sayings come from and the context for them makes language and relating to others more fun!  (and that translates into how they speak, the jokes they can tell, the writing that they do, and on…..it’s all connected!)

The course says it’s for elementary students, but older kids (and YOU) will enjoy it too.

Musicals that are introduced in this course include:

  • Annie
  • Seussical the Musical
  • Cats
  • James and the Giant Peach
  • Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat
  • Mary Poppins
  • Newsies
  • Annie Get Your Gun
  • The Music Man
  • The Wizard of Oz

Need Music Appreciation Credits for your High Schoolers? I’ve got you covered!

Affiliate links have been used in this post.

Music Appreciation Curriculum: 25 Lessons in 20th Century European & South American Music

One of the more challenging aspects of homeschooling through high school is making sure we provide a well-rounded education and make sure our children are earning all necessary credits.  Most families get a handle on the “big” stuff like math, science, and history, but often find themselves struggling to find a solution for music and the arts.

I’m really excited to tell you that Gena from Music in Our Homeschool has created some wonderful solutions for those music credits, at a very affordable price!

Option 1:  The Self-paced online course

20th Century Music Appreciation for High School

Take your kids on a journey through 20th century music!  This online course will make it fun and easy for your kids to learn in an engaging way, and you won’t have to do much of anything.  (phew!  One thing to cross off your list!)  This course is laid out in a very simple format that will make it a snap for you or your kids to work their way through it.  Each module includes lots of interesting information about the subject matter, and videos are embedded as you go along so they can safely watch, listen, and learn about the different styles of music.  Included are also some helpful printables so your child can keep track of what they are learning, become familiar with musical terminology, take notes and do some writing about the composers and music, and so on.  There are also additional ideas for going deeper with this study, such as writing assignments, research opportunities, and such.  One lesson a week will cruise your high schoolers through a half credit of music appreciation, and they’ll have fun doing it, too.  

If you have a high schooler who needs a fine arts credit, you’ll want to look into this! Once it’s purchased, it’s yours forever, so all of your kids will be able to use it and earn a 1/2 credit during high school. But, it can also be used for moms that want to guide even their younger kids through the 36 weekly lessons.  Enterprising educators could even opt to get a special license to teach a co-op class with this course!

20th century music appreciation course



Option 2:  Ebook curriculum

21 Lessons in 20th Century American Music Appreciation

25 Lessons in 20th Century European & South American Music Appreciation

If you prefer ebooks to an online course, you have that option as well.  The ebooks include the same material as the course, but in easy PDF format which can be viewed on a computer, tablet, or even a phone!  All links to listen to the music are included, as well as notebooking pages. The 20th Century Music Appreciation set is in 2 volumes: American, and European/South American. They can be purchased separately or together in a bundle.


20th century music appreciation




“As a music educator, I appreciate the depth and organization Gena has put into her music curriculum. She provides many interesting facts and resources comparable to my college music history classes for high school students to learn about different composers of 20th Century European and South American music.” –Kathy Gossen of Cornerstone Confessions.

“Gena has done it again! This is a wonderfully comprehensive look at musicians from the 20th century, a great addition to her previous curriculum on American artists. There were so many composers whose music I was familiar with but didn’t know their names or anything else about them. I look forward to teaching this in my homeschool!” –Michelle Habrych, homeschool mom of two teens