music education

MENC – National Association for Music Education
1806 Robert Fulton Drive, Reston, VA 20191Musical Word Magic

By Michael Leppert

Because homeschoolers are so attentive to, and appreciative of, the value of the arts in their children’s lives, whenever an excellent resource is available, it is significant.

MENC, the National Association for Music Education, is just such a resource. Founded in 1907, MENC (formerly Music Educators National Conference) is the largest arts education organization in the world, with 130,000+ members, primarily music educators from every grade level and discipline imaginable. The Association has been responsible for developing and implementing national standards for the instruction of music in public schools.

On its website, MENC offers a huge variety of information for the interested music student or his/her family, no matter what musical discipline is desired. Information on instruction in theory, chorus, strings, general orchestral instruments or band instruments, piano -- even guitar – is offered, with links to many other sites. National summer music camps, study abroad opportunities, Master Class offerings, and other interesting and valuable resources are made available at the MENC website.

The MENC website offers “My Music Class” ( with more than 500 Lesson Plans designed for music teachers, but which can be adapted for parental instruction use with a little effort. If one uses these Plans as Scope and Sequence overviews, along with one’s own resources, they offer much guidance. This is similar to the way a Unit Study guide provides the user parent with an outline of what can be taught and what materials can be used to achieve it. New lessons plans, written by MENC members, are added weekly.

MENC publishes its own line of books and materials that are offered through publisher Rowman & Littlefield ( Two of the titles that are valuable to homeschooling families who wish to expand their musical instruction are an excellent volume for band or orchestral players: Growing Your Musician: A Practical Guide for Band and Orchestra Parents and another volume perfect for the study of music and its place in our lives: Lessons in American Music, by Debra Kay Robinson Lindsay. The former is a comprehensive guide for every aspect of ensemble playing, from choosing the right instrument, setting practice guidelines, how parents can speak to their children about music and ways to inspire and enhance their children’s musical experiences.

The latter volume, Lessons in American Music, is a very imaginative tome, containing a rich breadth of material and resources, including instruction on doing the Cakewalk and playing the famous Scott Joplin rag “The Entertainer” on the soprano recorder. To use Ms. Lindsay’s book to the fullest, the parent may require some music teacher assistance, but by and large, Lessons servers as an excellent musical and historical guide through our short but powerful musical history. The book also includes puzzles as well as sheet music and performance assessments to create a complete musical guide.

MENC membership is open to anyone who pays the dues. Membership provides many benefits including a 25% discount on books and other MENC materials at the R&L website,, and free access to My Music Class at

MENC continues its advocacy work to ensure that music and the arts in general are viewed as core academic subjects and works with other music-based organizations, such as NAMM, International Music Products Association and a variety of corporate sponsors, to carry the torch, promoting the importance of early and consistent music education throughout the entire field of education.

If you are interested in having your child be well-versed in music by itself, and in conjunction with other academic subjects, please visit the MENC website, and consider becoming a member. MjL


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