“Long long ago the world begun, / With a hey, ho, the wind and the rain. / But that’s all one, our play is done, / And we’ll strive to please you every day.” (Shakespeare helps us bring the Christmas Season, and our own Homeschool Homeschool Holiday Music Month, to a close.)
🎵 🎄 🎅 Homeschool Holiday Music Month (Recent Posts)
A collection of great homeschool teaching ideas, resources, and little lessons on an assortment of seasonal musical favorites in a great variety of styles and genres — classical and modern, sacred and secular, serious and silly — posted every December for the River Houses Homeschool Network. Print your own copy of our River Houses Calendar to follow all of our educational events throughout the year, and add your name to our free River Houses homeschool mailing list to get more posts like these delivered right to your mailbox every week! 😊
One of the deepest purposes of a liberal education is to enable people to get jokes. David Chase’s brilliant arrangement of “The Twelve Days of Christmas” illustrates that happy principle for us as we approach the end of our Homeschool Holiday Music Month.
For Homeschool Holiday Music Month, introduce your students to the early American shape-note tradition by way of the beautiful carol “Star in the East,” first published in the Southern Harmony collection in 1835.
“Let’s merry be this day, / And let us now both sport and play, / Hang grief, cast care away, / God send you a happy new year!” (An ancient new-year carol sung to the tune “Greensleeves,” by the great countertenor Alfred Deller, for Homeschool Holiday Music Month.)
“Ring out the old, ring in the new, / Ring, happy bells, across the snow: / The year is going, let him go; / Ring out the false, ring in the true.” (Join Tennyson and some skillful bell-ringers to ring in the new year.)
“We two once ran along the hills and picked the daisies fine; / But we’ve wandered many a weary foot since those days of long ago.” (Our homeschool poem-of-the-week, from Robert Burns, for auld lang syne.)
“God bless your house, your children too, / Your cattle and your store; / The Lord increase you day by day / And send you more and more.” (The Sussex Mummers’ Carol, from Percy Grainger and others, for Homeschool Holiday Music Month.)
“It came, a flow’ret bright, / Amid the cold of winter, / When half spent was the night.” (An ancient German carol that has been translated into many languages, for Homeschool Holiday Music Month.)
“We stood on the hills, Lady, / Our day’s work done, / Watching the frosted meadows / That winter had won.” (A Christmas night carol, from Bob Chilcott and Clive Sansom, for Homeschool Holiday Music Month.)
Introduce your homescholars (in just ten minutes) to one of the world’s most famous pieces of classical music, from George Frideric Handel, for Homeschool Holiday Music Month.
“Earth stood hard as iron, water like a stone; / Snow had fallen, snow on snow, snow on snow, / In the bleak midwinter, long ago.” (A frosty carol from Christina Rossetti and Gustav Holst, for Homeschool Holiday Music Month and the winter solstice.)
Introduce your homeschool students to an American folk tune that has now become an internationally famous Christmas carol, and invite them to think about how different the same piece of music can sound under a variety of vocal and instrumental arrangements.
The beautiful Festival of Lessons and Carols from King’s College at Cambridge University is broadcast every year on Christmas Eve to millions of people around the world. You and your homescholars can join them.
“Methinks I see an heavenly host / Of angels on the wing; / Methinks I hear their cheerful notes, / So merrily they sing.” (Discover what Christmas sounded like at the time of the American Revolution.)
Invite your students to listen to a number of different performances of this popular American carol in a variety of different styles this week, and help them think through their preferences. It’s a great way to encourage their intellectual and artistic development.
What did Christmas in America sound like a hundred years ago? The National Jukebox at the Library of Congress has the answer for you and your homeschool students.
“Antelope cantaloupe, ’lope with you!” (A happy homeschool family sing-a-long from Walt Kelly, for Holiday Music Month.)
The American jazz musician Vince Guaraldi (1928–1976) wrote some of the best-loved Christmas music of our time. Why not introduce your homeschool students to his wonderful work this month.
“Dark and dull night, fly hence away, / And give the honor to this day, / That sees December turned to May.” (A modern Christmas masterpiece, with ancient words by Robert Herrick and new music by John Rutter, for Homeschool Holiday Music Month.)
“How do you capture the wind on the water? / How do you count all the stars in the sky? / How can you measure the love of a mother? / Or how can you write down a baby’s first cry?” (Introducing the work of the great modern carol-composer John Rutter, for Homeschool Holiday Music Month.)
“I want the tree full of toys and tinsel, / I want the wreath on the red front door, / I want the elves in the yard and each sentimental card / Dripping glitter on the floor.” (The great Nancy LaMott wishes you a Merry Christmas.)
If you’d like to fill your homeschool with some beautiful background sounds this season, why not tune in to the 24-hour Holiday Channel from WQXR, the famous classical music radio station in New York City. It’s one of the easiest exercises in musical education you can do all year.
“Past three o’clock, / And a cold frosty morning, / Past three o’clock; / Good morrow, masters all!” (Welcome to Homeschool Holiday Music Month for 2022! Enjoy a sprightly late-night carol, and learn the traditional call of the winter watchmen.)
“Long long ago the world begun, / With a hey, ho, the wind and the rain. / But that’s all one, our play is done, / And we’ll strive to please you every day.” (Shakespeare helps us bring the 2021–2022 Christmas Season, and our own Homeschool Holiday Music Month, to a close.)
One of the deepest purposes of a liberal education is to enable people to get jokes. David Chase’s brilliant “Twelve Days of Christmas” illustrates that happy principle for us as we approach the end of our Homeschool Holiday Music Month.