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  TOS October 2012


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November 14, 2012

Learning Music on a Budget



Deborah's  Picture
Deborah Wuehler and family


Is there a way for your children to have music lessons if you are on a budget? Yes. I have heard from so many other families that no matter what the subject area, there are creative ways to provide what your children need even if you are on a tight budget. 


One year, my son's piano teacher did a trade with me. I taught her daughter how to use the computer, emailing, word processing, etc., and she would teach my son piano at the same time--even trade. What a blessing! One homeschooled teen girl wanted violin lessons, so she worked it out with a teacher to trade babysitting or house cleaning for lessons.


Often grandparents or seniors in the community are willing to teach children for little or no cost. And, many music teachers will give discounts for family groups. My son's accordion teacher splits the hourly cost if there is more than one student he is teaching, so we have a friend playing too, so each only pays half the hourly rate.


Why all this fuss about music, and why should we work so hard to provide it for our children? Because it is an important aspect of learning; it's another whole avenue or door to the soul, and food for the brain. I have a friend who battled cancer that went to her brain. She could not speak an intelligible sentence, but she could sing the words and tunes of her favorite praise songs. What a mysterious power music holds on our brains.


Friday night, I went to a pro-life dinner with Pam Tebow (football player, Tim Tebow's mother) as the speaker. She mentioned that getting the Word of God into her children's hearts was very important to her, so she put the words of verses to popular children's tunes, or any catchy tune she made up, in order for it to stick. I do the same thing! Add in some rhythm and a few hand motions and you are using a lot of the gates to get into the field of memorization. These verses will be extremely important in your children's lives.


God must revere music as very important--it holds a place of prominence throughout the Scriptures. It is an aid in worship, and an expression of the thoughts and the heart. It is used to soothe the soul, to lead an army into battle, and then lead in the dance of victory as well. There were singers and musicians, and music makers in the temples and tabernacles, and at the city gates. From Genesis to Revelation, music was revealed as an important aspect of human life, just as it is today.


Singing with you!



TOS Senior Editor  



P.S. If you are a member, you can have excellent guitar lessons for around $5.95 per month! Cheapest guitar lessons anywhere!


We have also had music lessons for the whole family on with Joy Sikorski. She will be sharing the importance of voice lessons with us in our November 29th Schoolhouse Expo--so sign up! It's free! 





Do you have to spend a lot on music instruction? How can you get more musical bang for your buck? Choosing a music major as your private teacher, auditing college music classes, and attending seminars are a few suggestions I outline in detail at the Visionaires Music Academy website to give you creative learning ideas for your budget. However, may I make another suggestion? Learn music online. 


Can you really learn music online? Technology is reaching a point where millions of people can learn thousands of subjects without having to invest in expensive equipment. Music is no different. Today's musician has an amazing opportunity to increase their skills with subjects such as ear training, history, ethnomusicology, composition, theory, and piano (to name a few). Usually, these opportunities cost a fraction of their private teacher or college counterparts.


I landed my first job at a high school teaching band. I noticed a need. Most of my students couldn't afford private lessons or extra classes in music; the things that help students grow their musical talent and succeed. I wanted to do something about this.


This need inspired an idea of an online academy that blesses students by enhancing their musical talent through quality education while at the same time providing an avenue for ministry to help people around the world. At VMA, we always encourage our online students to use their talents to benefit others. 


Homeschoolers have a unique advantage already being independent learners but may need guidance in achieving the vision they have for their musical life. Online lessons are a convenient, budget friendly way to accomplish that vision.


Jarrod Bell is the Founder and Director of Visionaires Music Academy, a ministry and academy in one. For more tips and 

the full article on learning music on a budget visit

The Familyman

Todd Wilson
Todd Wilson

Todd Wilson, Familyman Ministries 

Here are my thoughts on the thrilling topic of learning music on a budget. If God wants your kids to learn how to play a musical instrument, then He'll supply the means to do that. So don't sweat it. But here's the deal. I don't think God wants every child to play a musical instrument. Our job as parents is not to bowl through any obstacle to do what WE want for our children, but to ask God what HE wants for our children.


Now for those of you who believe God wants your child to play a musical instrument, you have two options:

  1. Make sacrifices to pay for the lessons, teachers, and instruments. 
  2. Let the need be known and wait for God to supply. He will, you know. I've seen it in our lives and in the lives of so many others. But you have to speak up . . . not so that people will have pity on you but so that the body of Christ can see what the needs of the rest of the body are and act on them.

So let people know that God wants your little Johnny to play the tuba. You'll get offers, advice, and insights. Don't expect free (although that may happen), but if you believe God wants your child to learn the tuba, then you ought to be willing to make some sacrifices in order to see it through. By the way, did you know Diana Waring's husband Bill, plays the tuba? Who would have thunk it? Maybe he even gives tuba lessons.


Be Real,



World Atlas
World Atlas is an educational resource for home school students and teachers as it provides in-depth geography information, as well as free up-to-date maps of capital cities, continents, countries, landforms, provinces, states and much, much more . . .


Diana Waring
Diana Waring

Relational Homeschooling


Dear Friends,


I love music from a capella hymns to Beethoven symphonies, from jazz to hammered dulcimers. (The two exceptions: country & western!) All three of my children played instruments and sang, one son was a vocal major, my daughter attended conservatory as a concert pianist, my family gave folk song concerts across the U.S., and I wrote History Alive! Through Music. So, as we consider this week's topic, be forewarned that I am going to speak passionately.


Consider the way you spend money for something precious and enduring--like a dining room set. Knowing, of course, that you have a budget in mind for this imaginary furniture, how will you choose to spend it? Well, first, consider what is your need?  Will you have ambassadors with their numerous aides dining at your home? Or is it just your family of six and an occasional neighbor? How you answer that question will determine the kind of set you need to purchase. Beyond this question of specific usage, there are personal preferences in color and style, and, of course, the best quality you can find so the dining room set lasts longer than the first meal!


The questions you ask are similar when it comes to learning music. I know you have to stay within a certain budget, and musical instruments and lessons can be daunting. But, before you choose the cheapest instrument and the least experienced teacher for the sake of maximizing your bucks, stop and consider. Who are these unique children? Do you have a budding Mozart, a latent Diana Krall, or a Wally, the wash-tub musician? Whoever they are, here are some questions to consider:


Are your children demonstrating some significant musicality?  Or, are they just having fun plunking along? That will have an impact on the way you budget your money. Mozart needs the best teachers you can find, with time set aside for diligent practice. Krall needs a creative teacher who will provide opportunities for improvisation and out-of-the-box music theory. Wally needs teachers who make music fun, who can inspire kids to play to their heart's content.


What level of interest in music do your children have? Did you hear a passionate plea for lessons or a barely-concealed disgust at the suggestion? Is this your idea or theirs? Be careful to not drag your children kicking and screaming to piano lessons. Instead, create an environment where music is treasured. Invite them into the adventure of music, and see where the journey takes them.


Do your children want to play folk guitar or classical violin?  Trombone or drums? Let them learn about different instruments and then ask each one which they prefer. Their inclination will make a huge difference in their willingness to invest in practicing! And, believe me, if they want to practice their instrument, your life will be significantly easier . . . unless they choose drums.


Finally, if music lessons are indicated, what background and level of proficiency does the music teacher have? Will she be able to give an excellent foundation in music and in this instrument, one that will not hinder Mozart, Krall, or Wally Wash-Tub? Good value is not cheap!


Remember to stay relational!





Schoolhouse Freebie

This week's free resource is a flag worksheet. You'll find a wide variety of lessons, activities, and printable pages in



Give wisdom and discernment this Christmas with Z-Guide to the Movies from Zeezok Publishing. Z-Guides open your child's mind to the wonder of film while teaching meaningful discernment skills. Receive one free Z-Guide with any purchase over $40 from our line of homeschooling textbooks. Use Coupon Code WISDOM:

Raising Real Men  

Hal & Melanie Young


Over the years, God has blessed us with children who take after Hal and are tremendously musical and those that take after Melanie, and well, not so much, but they all love music! Here's what we've done:


Surround your children with good music early. One of our first homeschool purchases was a set of the Music Masters CDs from Vox. We played them often in the car until we all began to recognize and love the different composers. It has benefits, too. Did you know babies find waltzes irresistible? We had one little guy that would only fall asleep in the car if Strauss was playing! Play classical music on the radio, sing hymns, and buy CDs of great music--thankfully, those tend to be the cheap ones!


Make instruments available, if you can. Put the word out that you'd like an inexpensive piano or musical instrument(s). It's amazing what the Lord can do. A friend of ours found our piano for us. The older couple we bought it from only asked us for $100. They said they just wanted it to go to someone whose children would play it. When we asked the Lord for more instruments, a local music store went out of business. They sold their rental instruments dirt cheap and we bought four or five for our children for the price of one new one. Pray and ask Him.


Be creative about instruction. At first, lessons from an older student may be all you need and they might be delighted to get a little pocket money. We've also used homeschool music curricula, computer programs, and internet resources to teach our children and for them to teach themselves. Older folks may be delighted to teach your child what they know just for the joy of passing on their love of music. The elderly members of a local bluegrass band took our most musical son under their wing when they found out at a Christian coffee house's open-mic night that he wanted to learn. They got him a mandolin, helped him out, and now he's the youngest member of the band--by fifty years!


Don't kick yourself. We worried a lot as it became obvious that one of our sons had an unusual talent and we had no money for lessons. It's been exciting to see him take charge of his own music instead. He's worked and saved his money to buy instruments, then researched on the internet and sought out help to teach himself to play them. He's sought out folks to play with and venues to play in. Do we wish we could have paid the best teachers to teach him? Sure, but we wonder sometimes if it would have turned out as well if he hadn't had to own it. Don't worry. If you're raising the next Mozart, nothing you can do will keep him from music!


Only by His grace,

Hal & Melanie


P.S. Feeling a little panicked about Thanksgiving? Want to pass on our Pilgrim heritage and keep Christ the center of the holiday? Get our downloadable book, We Gather Together: Sanity & Celebration at Thanksgiving, to make it all a mom-sized job! Half price this week!



You Can Teach Music in Your Homeschool! 
Time: November 29th 7pm (4pm Pacific) 

  "Joy Sikorski speaks on Voice 101: 

The Crucial Need for Quality Vocal 

Training and What You Can Do About It"


Joy Sikorski is an award winning film composer, author, conference speaker, performer and teacher. She raised her three children (now adults) in a log cabin she helped build in Alaska and was one of the pioneers of homeschooling in that state, flying to remote areas to give parents and students the knowledge and encouragement they needed to succeed.
  Visit Joy's sites, 
and  for tips and insights about the importance of your voice and the voices of your children. 

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~   


We will have a vendor workshop from 
New Song Music Studios. 
Music for Little Learners is a curriculum created with the homeschool parent in mind. Creative teaching tools make learning fun!  Innovative lessons open doors to literature, math, writing and more. Your children will know how to 
read notes, play songs and identify music symbols. Come 
to the Expo to see our lessons in action. Visit for more information. 
Join our Free Online Schoolhouse Expo on 
Thursday, November 29th, at 7 p.m. EDT! 

(6 p.m. CDT, 5 p.m. MDT, 4 p.m. PDT) 


Check out all the details at


Reserve your FREE seat now---only 1000 available! 





Creation Revolution     


This week, read about what it says in the Bible about Sorcerers, Magic, Mediums and Witches.



TOS Article


Read how including music lessons in your homeschool can be possible, and maybe not as difficult as you may think. 


Read the article

 in the latest issue of

The Old Schoolhouse Magazine.
Contest Corner 

For the month of November, 2012  


Andrea Carter and the San Francisco Smugglers


The fourth book in the Circle C Adventures series, Andrea Carter and the San Francisco Smugglers, continues the story of a young girl, Andi, growing up in the San Joaquin Valley of California. We last left Andi in the fall of 1880. This story picks up in the winter of 1881 as the excitement of a flood in her community quickly draws you into the story within the first three pages. This book continues in similar size and style as the others in the series: a 5 x 8 inch glossy soft cover book of 138 pages and 18 chapters, plus a Historical Note. References to Andi's previous experiences will likely lead a first-time Circle C Adventures reader to her other books and will refresh the memory of seasoned fans. The storyline stands alone and is not dependent on the other books in the series. Although the series is enjoyable reading designed for students in the "tween" years, those in upper-elementary grades and lower teenage years will also find them enjoyable. Susan K. Marlow continues her trend in quality reading as she upholds family values, references the Bible, and offers a wonderful glimpse into the life of a Christian girl during the 1880s. Although the series is not written exclusively for home schools, it is written by a home-schooling mother who provides clean, quality reading materials for children. There are no additional materials required to enjoy this book, but readers should not miss the opportunity to download and print the free PDF Enrichment Guide available from her website, The unit study of 38 pages is freely available and expands the educational value of the book considerably. 

(. . .)


Read the rest of this review here.


You can win this book and the lapbook!



Email Heather with your name, mailing address, and phone number for contact purposes, with the subject line, "SF Smugglers" for a chance to win* the book and lapbook for your homeschool!
Schoolhouse  Apps


*Disclaimer and Legal Notice:
The Old Schoolhouse
Magazine, LLC ("Company") is sponsoring the November Contest Corner contest running from 
November 1, 2012, to November 30, 2012. You must be 18 years of age or older and follow all rules to participate. Entering the contest constitutes full and complete acceptance of, and a warranty that the entrant has read, understands and agrees to, all contest terms and conditions, including without limitation all of The Old Schoolhouse
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