There are countless benefits to music education, and you do not need to have a grand piano in your living room or weekly guitar lessons in order to incorporate music education into your home routine! Here are seven fantastic music-themed books for your family library:
1. Amazing Musical Instruments!: Your Guide to the Orchestra Through Sounds and Stories by Genevieve Helsby (with interactive CD-ROM)
Of all the music education books in our library, this is my favorite. It truly is amazing, as it is chock-full of an incredible amount of information. It describes all of the families of instruments, the orchestra, and information about famous composers. All the various instruments, including more obscure ones, are described in great detail. The history of the instruments and parts of the instruments are explained clearly. This little book could be an entire class, it’s that good. The best part? The book comes with an interactive CD so that you can actually hear all the many different types of instruments, as well as musical compositions. It’s the next best thing to a music class!
2. Can You Hear It? by William Lach
I love the creative nature of this engaging little book. Do your children love I Spy books? Mine sure do! Can You Hear It? is like a musical I Spy for your eyes and your ears! Who doesn’t want to teach their children to listen carefully? This book will help you with that! It contains twenty-six gorgeous pieces of art with accompanying music. On each page, you are asked to locate an object, and once you find it, you read the story and listen to the CD. You are then asked to listen to one part of the story (such as horse hooves on a city street or car horns). This book truly engages the reader and is a great way to sneak in both art and music appreciation.
3. Jazz Fly by Matthew Gollub
I guarantee that the next two books will make you smile! Gollub’s Jazz Fly series is so much fun. The illustrations are fantastic, the font is funky, and Jazz Fly is a wonderful character. In book one, Jazz Fly, a drummer, gets lost on his way to a show. He stops, repeatedly, to ask for directions and meets many interesting characters. The conversations involve scat singing, which never fails to mesmerize my children. This book is enjoyable to read aloud, but the accompanying CD is an amazing musical experience for all ages.
4. Jazz Fly 2: The Jungle Pachanca by Matthew Gollub
In book two, Jazz Fly and his band break down in the middle of the jungle. The band needs a ride to the tropics for a show. As they converse with others, they need to speak in Spanish, so you get a fun mix of scat, Spanish, and musical words. I love that the Spanish words are displayed in one color and the musical words in another. This audiobook is engaging with a fun Latin vibe.
5. Sergei Prokofiev’s Peter and the Wolf: With a Fully-Orchestrated and Narrated CD by Janet Schulman
This book combines the classic Peter and the Wolf fairy tale with music. Each character is played by an instrument. The music is beautiful and adds to the story and is a wonderful way to introduce young children to the world of classical music. Bonus: parents of sensitive children will appreciate that this book has a kinder ending than the original.
6. Story of the Orchestra: Listen While You Learn About the Instruments, the Music, and the Composers Who Wrote the Music! by Robert Levine
This book is jam-packed with information about the orchestra, complete with an accompanying audio CD. The book discusses each instrument, musical periods and styles, and famous composers. With colorful and whimsical illustrations, this book is sure to be a big hit in your family!
7. Zin! Zin! Zin! A Violin! by Lloyd Moss
I learned about Zin! Zin! Zin! years ago while watching a Reading Rainbow episode featuring the book. This vibrantly illustrated book is a wonderful introduction to the orchestra, and it combines mathematics! Each instrument of the orchestra is introduced–one by one–until there are ten. Your children will adore this musical counting book.
Take your music-themed books to the next level with this
Compose Yourself by ThinkFun
Do you want to take your music-appreciation read-alouds to the next level? Check out Compose Yourself, a new educational resource from ThinkFun. This game, which was created by a famous composer, will let your children become composers in minutes! They will be having so much fun that they won’t even know they are learning!
Now, it’s your turn: What is your family’s favorite music-themed book?
How do you incorporate music appreciation into your family routine? Do you have any books to add to this list? Share your thoughts and resources here!