Music can benefit your child in many areas – language, maths, concentration and social skills, just to name a few! So whether or not your child learns a musical instrument, try to expose your child to music as much as possible and enjoy the many benefits!
Studies in neuroscience show that music can enhance brain function in children. Musical activities (such as playing an instrument, singing or just listening to music) stimulate the brain, and this brain workout leads to improved brain structure with the formation of new neural connections.
Studies also show that young children who participate in music classes have improved speech development and learn to read more easily. Learning music helps to develop the left side of the brain (related to language and reasoning), assists with sound recognition, and teaches rhythm and rhyme. Songs can also help children remember information (just think of the Alphabet song!).
Music can help with the development of maths skills. By listening to musical beats your child can learn basic fractions, pattern recognition and problem-solving. Children who study music also have improved spatial intelligence and the ability to form mental pictures of objects – skills that are important for more advanced mathematics.
Memory, attention and concentration
Recent studies have shown that people who are musically trained have better working memory skills, helping them to remember things even while their minds are busy with other matters – important aspects of mental arithmetic and reading comprehension. Learning music also requires significant levels of concentration, training children to focus their attention for sustained periods.
Just like playing sports, playing and dancing to music helps children develop their motor skills. Making music involves more than the voice or fingers; you also use ears and eyes, as well as large and small muscles, all at the same time. This helps the body and the mind work together.
The joy of music
Music can give children a way to express themselves, to unleash their creativity, to be inspired and uplifted, to relax, and to relieve stress and tension. Just think about listening to a beautiful piece of classical music, singing along to a favourite song with friends, or dancing to a great song on the radio – music can make your heart sing!
If you are a lucky parent, you are musically inclined and have no difficulty finding ways to teach music to your children. For the rest of us, online resources can save the day. We have found some great online music lessons for kids that you may want to try. Read below to find not only a variety of free online music lessons for kids (including music history and music theory), but also ways to download music for free, learn an instrument, and play games with music
Stream or Download Music for Free
You and your children can learn about music simply by listening to a variety of genres. Here are some sites where you can stream and often download music:
Free Music Archive (FMA)
Stream or download any track in the FMA collection. “We welcome all creators around the world to search, find and use music from our websites in their projects.”
“Jamendo is a community of independent artists and fans boasting about half a million songs, all available to download for private use. In addition, it also has about 250,000 tracks available for multimedia projects.”
Live Music Archive
This is a collection of live recordings—not studio recordings—especially for those not-so-easy-to-find artists.
“We provide recordings, sheet music, and textbooks to the public for free, without copyright restrictions. Put simply, our mission is to set music free.” This site has a lot of symphonic pieces, much of which is in the public domain and can be used without copyright issues.
Stream or download music by providing your email address and zip code for each artist.
“Save tracks, follow artists and build playlists. All for free.” SoundCloud has a large collection of music. You can stream or download some full songs, but sometimes you can only access a sample.
Listen to thousands of sounds and artists for free.
One of the standard ways to learn about music is by studying its inspiring and often exciting and controversial history. Here are some free online music lessons for kids to help develop their background knowledge about what they hear on the radio:
Thomas Edison created many inventions, but his favourite was the phonograph. Learn all about this important invention. A free history lesson.
A Guide to Frederic Chopin’s Music (Musopen)
Find information about Chopin’s solo piano works, Cello Sonata, solo piano variations, piano sonatas, piano trio, solo songs, piano concertos, and more. Free history lessons.
Musical Automata: The Project on Recording Mechanical Music 1980-2018
From the collections of the Phonogrammarchiv of the Austrian Academy of Sciences come these charming instruments. You may have seen some like these in merry-go-rounds. A free history lesson.
Students of music need to learn about how musicians and composers make music, known as music theory. Here are some free music lessons for kids about music theory:
Berklee College of Music MOOCs
“Berklee Online is the online extension school of Berklee College of Music, delivering access to Berklee’s acclaimed curriculum from anywhere in the world…. Browse free online courses in a variety of subjects. Berklee College of Music courses… can be audited free or students can choose to receive a verified certificate for a small fee.” Self-paced courses include Introduction to Music Theory, Introduction to the Music Business, Vocal Recording Technology, and Music for Wellness. Some courses available in Spanish.
Berklee Online: Free Music Resources
A collection of free music lessons from Berklee Online, the award-winning online extension school of Berklee College of Music. Watch, read, download, and share this free and open resource for the world’s music community. Lessons include Collaborative Songwriting, Music Theory 101, Critical Listening 1, and more.
Understanding Basic Music Theory: Online Music Theory Course
A comprehensive insight into the fundamental notions of music theory: music notation, rules of harmony, ear training, etc. It covers most of the topics needed to understand and develop your musical skills – with your favourite training tool EarMaster of course. There are free and paid versions of the app for Macs and PCs.
Musicards: Online Music Theory Flashcards
“These music flashcards can be used by beginning music students who are becoming acquainted with key music rudiments, all the way up to intermediate and advanced students who wish to fill in gaps here and there or increase fluency with existing knowledge.”
Music Advisor: Music Notes
Learn about various music notes by reading and watching short videos. All free.
Name that Chord
Learn chords with these free fun lessons. There are 34 lessons, a practice section, and a one or two-player game.
Learn an Instrument
Many traditional schools offer instrument lessons on-site, and you can always pay for private lessons. What about online music lessons for homeschoolers who want to learn an instrument? Those resources exist, too! Here are several:
16 Resources for Learning an Instrument on Your Own (Joy Tunes)
“If you’re just starting off learning how to play music on your own, it’s not always so easy to find the right tools to help you figure out how to learn an instrument fast. While there are tons of resources out there, it can be hard to find the right ones for you.”
Beginning Band Course
This free course is intended for a Music Teacher, or anyone with a musical inclination, who is brave and selfless enough to lead Beginning Band. Other than instruments, there is nothing to buy – for you or your students. This free course is distributed as a .pdf. All necessary teaching and student material can be printed as you need it. Everything is included.
Danman’s Music Library and Music School Online
“If you’re a music student – use my library to take lessons. If you’re a music teacher – use my library for lesson plans and curriculum”. Dan Lefler, Danman’s Music School…. A Music Lessons Library for teachers, students and lovers of music with curriculum for the Guitar, Piano, Flute, Violin, Bass, Drums, Ukulele and more! Hundreds of method books, exercise books, and technique books. Large selection of classical literature and folk songs. Original scores too.” There are plenty of free materials, and you can subscribe for access to more resources.
“Songs, skills, and learning tools that help teachers develop students into versatile violinists.” Always free for teachers. Students choose FiddleQuest Free or FiddleQuest Complete. An interactive community of violin instructors, other students, and those with whom you wish to share your tunes.
Musopen Music Education
Find resources for learning to play the guitar, piano, flute, clarinet, oboe, saxophone, bassoon, and trumpet. The site also has student and teacher apps to track practice goals, practice time, etc.
Music can be fun all by itself, but music games are even better. Here are some sites where you can find games that can help your kids learn about music:
Agame.com: Music Games
Check out games like Music Simon, Perfect Piano, Music Rush, Karaoke Resort, and DJ Sonic Mixer. Many more.
Art and Music Games for Kids
“A great way to open children up to the possibilities of the arts. Art and music are essential in expanding the horizons of children beyond the everyday, and children that are exposed to art and music early on are known to do better and go farther in life than they would have without it. Introducing the arts in the form of games is a great way to start them out with a love for art and music.”
Crazy Games: Music Games
Find numerous music games here like Virtual Drum, Repeat the Melody, Princess Rock Band, Beat Dropper, and more.
PBS Kids: Music Games
Find fun games for music education here, including Music Maker, Music Shop, Spin & Sing, Sandbox Symphony, and more.
Free Music Games
88 Free music games for you to use.