Which Homeschooling Systems Are You Using?

May 13th, 2009

UPDATE: Overwhelming Emails

Thanks to everyone who sent emails.

—End Update—

Homeschooling isn’t an issue for us yet (Owen is just 18 months old), but Becky and I are already on the lookout for worthwhile materials and anecdotes.

Are there any unschooling homeschoolers out there? We have been reading The Unschooling Handbook: How to Use the Whole World As Your Child’s Classroom by Mary Griffith and this makes a lot of sense. One of Owen’s favorite activities is Playcentre. Becky is going through Playcentre’s adult education courses and she’s noticing a lot of unschooling philosophy, which she likes.

Sidenote: I’m blown away by how outstanding Playcentre is. We’re extremely lucky to have that resource here in New Zealand. Owen squeals with joy and points at it, even if we’re just driving by. Sometimes, I take him to the school playground that’s located on the same property and he runs to the closed Playcentre and wants to go there instead of the boring playground. In short, Playcentre is great.

Are there any Waldorf homeschoolers out there?

How about Montessori homeschoolers?

Do you use any of the phonics materials?

One area I’m especially interested in hearing about is music. Becky and I are not musically inclined (this is an understatement), but Owen—how can I state this accurately? The music is just in him.


Owen likes to dance

He wants music all the time. When a CD finishes, he gives us the sign for more, says, “More,” and then the sign for please. He isn’t able to snap his fingers to the beat yet, so he clicks his tongue to it instead. Sometimes, he touches his thumb and pointer finger together in time to the music. He does little dances that are weirdly in sync with the music. The music area at Playcentre is one of his main interests, especially the little electronic keyboard/piano thing.

Anyway, you don’t need to be a rocket scientist to see that we’re going to have to provide some sort of music lessons. How are homeschooling parents teaching music to their kids?

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20 Responses to “Which Homeschooling Systems Are You Using?”

  1. dagobaz Says:

    Oh my ! Where to begin ?

    I have homeschooled all my children, from 3 years of age.

    I have a wonderful book:

    “The Well Trained Mind” by Susan Wise Bauer and Jessie Wise.

    They have a website as well, although I didn’t discover it until very recently:

    http://www.welltrainedmind.com/forums/

    This book was our initial resource master. Next, we let the children’s abilities and interests determine our methods of instruction and the subjects studied. Since you have the one child (so far) our methods might not be directly useful to you, being that they were designed around multiple people learning at multiple levels; the old ways of the one-room schoolhouse.

    As for the primary subjects studied, all of our children, from the eldest at 13, to the youngest, at 5, play at least one musical instrument: music plays an integral role in their educations. Initially, we introduced the kids to music by simply playing it to them … we play a LOT of differing styles of music at dinner (a friend owned a radio station, when he retired, I bought their cd library). As for their formal music instruction, we outsource their music lessons: 2 take violin, all 4 take piano, 1 takes classical guitar, 1 plays the mandolin, and our youngest also takes saxophone lessons. The other two core subjects, for us, are languages: in our case Mandarin, Italian, and Latin (you remember I was a linguist once, right ?) and higher math. The truly wonderful thing about homeschooling is that each child may learn at his own level, limited only by his talent. My eldest, for example, is superbly talented at math, in a public school, he would get, at most, 45 minutes of general instruction per day, we can take as long as he likes, if his interest is there, this semester, he is starting calculus. Another has a facility for Mandarin, she is almost fluent, I doubt she would have had much exposure to the language at all, since she’s nine. It is exhilarating to us, as parents, to be able to live in a time when it is possible to expose children to the unlimited joy that real learning is: without limits, without doctrine, without bias. It will consume an enormous amount of your and Becky’s time, but there is no job on this earth that is more rewarding.

    – cybele

  2. anothernut Says:

    We’re unschoolers (3 kids, ages 8, 11, and 14), and sometimes I’m glad we went this way, other times I wished we’d been more structured (don’t have any regrets about staying out of public school, though). All our kids can read and do basic math, and both parents (my wife and I) are home all day, so we engage in a lot of conversations where, I’m convinced, the kids pick up a lot of things — from grammar to politics. I think we’re all very happy about the arrangement, as it maximizes freedom. (Don’t misunderstand, everybody has chores to do, and there’s no excuse for not doing them.) But then I hear about other homeschoolers whose kids who are building their own particle-accelerators in their garages, I think we should have been disciplined. I guess it reflects my own ambivalence about how much I want to invest in “the way things are” (i.e., high technological and industrial dependence) vs “the way things should be” (appreciating a simpler, more nature-oriented life). Obviously, as I am not writing this via smoke-signals, I am still very invested in “the way things are”.

    Anyway, my advice would be: know yourselves, know what you want to get out of life and what you think is “fair” for Owen to get out of life, and then pick the approach that speaks to you.

  3. Kevin Says:

    Oh wow, thanks, Cybele. Your story is very impressive and encouraging. I’m sending this to Bex right away.

    I’m also adding “The Well Trained Mind” to my Amazon cart. My initial worry is, “I don’t even know what I don’t know.” That book will help us out immensely with providing Owen with a wide breadth of options him to consider. I’m looking forward to reading it for myself!

  4. Miraculix Says:

    I’m going to disqualify myself first, just to make clear that any good advice from those who are parents, homeschooling and/or music teachers & professional is far better qualified in the official sense than anything you read after this sentence concludes. I leave materials to them.

    Meanwhile, as a lifelong auto-didact who skipped a grade and particpated in both in-and-out of the mainstream “gifted” programs over the years, I’d also like to point out that many individuals recognized as among the world’s most talented musicians were “self-taught”.

    Jimi Hendrix. Buddy Rich. Steve Hackett. Damned near ALL of the blues greats. All four of the Fab Four. And I could go on and on and on. When you get right down to it, at one level all musicians are actually “self-taught”, as the learning process is ultimately an internal one.

    A musically-inclined child will often suss out the play part very quickly on their own without any formal lessons. Playing by “ear”. Some have this talent and others do not, for certain, but I’ve always suspected that we’re all born with some natural rhythm — much of which is wiped out early via behavioral socialization.

    (Stop: tapping your fingers, singing, drumming on the pots & pans, or whatever else you’re doing that’s distracting and/or annoying the adults within earshot!)

    Naturally, playing an instrument is not the same as learning formal music theory. That comes later, and you’re getting a big headstart on the curve is he’s still only eighteen months; not that there’s anything wrong with that… =)

    By the time he’s ready to learn to “read” music he’ll need some basic mathematics to deal with ratios and time signatures, just for starters. Some sense of very basic geometry is also useful.

    However, the best way such things are usually passed to bright and musically-inclined youngsters such as Owen is about as old-school as it gets: you find someone locally who plays and can start building bridges between what they already know and what it’s all called and you apprentice your youngster to them when they reach the right age.

    Depending upon the level and musical discipline in question, teachers are primarily going to demonstrate (and perhaps lead) practice drills, as well as offer valuable tips on instrumental technique, in addition to whatever formal theory they might be able to impart.

    The musical tradition has existed for thousands of years and in many places where formal lessons were never offered. If he has the music in him and you two are encouraging him towards good resources, he’ll be just fine.

    And don’t forget, it might be rather fun to learn a little theory yourself by way of helping him get started. Perhaps you’ll even regain a little of your own natural rhythm along the way… =)

  5. Kevin Says:

    @anothernut

    I guess it reflects my own ambivalence about how much I want to invest in “the way things are” (i.e., high technological and industrial dependence) vs “the way things should be” (appreciating a simpler, more nature-oriented life). Obviously, as I am not writing this via smoke-signals, I am still very invested in “the way things are”.

    I’ve been struggling with these exact issues since before Owen was even a glimmer… And I’m no closer to figuring out a solution than I was back then. But here we are!

    Initially, we’re going to provide structure when he wants it, but also give him a more formal survey of what’s out there so he has a wide variety of things to pique his interest.

    Re: particle-accelerators:

    I’ve actually joked with Becky and said, “It would be ironic if he became fascinated with particle physics. Then what!?”

    He kinda funny already with me helping him. He’s VERY determined to do things on his own. If I try to help him when he doesn’t want to be helped, he’ll bat my hand away, as if to say, Jeez, dad, just let me figure it out. There’s definitely a natural drive to learn on his own.

  6. ltcolonelnemo Says:

    Did you / do you do any sign language?

  7. lagavulin Says:

    My wife and I have two young children being home-schooled, one not really “school-age” just yet. Also, we know literally dozens of parents who homeschool in various capacities and for many different reasons. I think most would agree (except perhaps some of the religious parents) that each child has her/his own needs. Some will actually WANT the structure and formality of formal schooling, public or private. And most admit that while they’ll homeschool for the early years, eventually they expect their children to attend a non-home school.

    Also, it’s very helpful if you can join or start a homeschool group in your area, usually a group of kids & some number of parents that meet once or more a week. It gives the kids a place to learn more intricate social skills, and it allows the ability and desire to teach a place to help. Not to mention that, after several years of being a stay-at-home parent, many want to reclaim your personal life back earlier than others, so sending the kids off to school even for a three or four hours once a week might benefit the whole family.

    My feeling about Waldorf education is that it’s largely the same as unschooling in the early years, but almost certainly much more expensive. Ourselves and many of the people we know aren’t going to consider it for some years yet (plus, we have a decent public school and an interesting new charter school in our tiny town of 4000 people to choose from). I’ll also say that personally, we’ve found a distinct element of “religiousity” at play in Waldorf education. I’m not making any kind of judgement, but simply saying that Waldorf education grew out of the teachings of an esoteric Christian man, and in the hands of some teachers these aspects often get emphasized. For myself, I don’t sense that children need or want for God as much as we’d often like them to.

    One last side note: there’s an excellent website for reading skills out of Australia http://readingeggs.com/ My wife’s sister in Perth turned us on to it, and not only are we impressed with it but our kids love it…even the 4-year old who doesn’t have the skills yet to follow it very far loves to sit and watch his sister “play”.

  8. Aaron Says:

    Hi Kevin

    We’re unschooling our two girls down here in Raglan – aged 4 and 7 (in 2 days time!). I’d also reccomend Grace Llewellyn’s ‘Teenage Liberation Handbook’ and John Holt’s ‘Teach Your Own’. (And John Taylor Gatto who you’re probably already familiar with)

    We’re hooked up with an online NZ unschoolers network, as far as I know there is no one actually un-schooling in your immediate area although there are heaps of home-schoolers. The nearest unschoolers are in Keri Keri and I think in a couple of months there will be another family moving up there too.

    I could ramble for hours about unschooling but I’ve got to go to work.

  9. PeterofLoneTree Says:

    The Mozart Project:
    It took all of thirty minutes for Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart to master his first musical composition.

    The work, a scherzo by Georg Christoph Wagenseil, had been copied by his father into Nannerl’s notebook. Below it Leopold jotted: “This piece was learnt by Wolfgangerl on 24 January 1761, 3 days before his 5th birthday, between 9 and 9:30 in the evening.”

  10. pookie Says:

    Gawd, I admire homeschoolers. I love hearing about it, reading about it, knowing that a growing number are opting out of the public education cesspool. Gives me the warm fuzzies, it does, and warm fuzzies are few and far between for us Wide-eyed Watchers of the totalitarian evil that this way comes.

    As one of my heroes, Ludwig von Mises, wrote:

    “There is, in fact, only *one* solution: the state, the government, the laws must not in any way concern themselves with schooling or education. Public funds must not be used for such purposes. The rearing and instruction of youth must be left entirely to parents and to private associations and institutions.”
    _Liberalism: In the Classical Tradition_. (Irvington-on-Hudson, NY: FEE, [1927] 1985).

  11. Dennis Says:

    From someone who knows nothing about the subject:

    I’d suggest you have a few musical instruments kicking around. A xylophone can be good because it provides a visual representation of the relationship of notes, especially those that have a different colour for each note. Make it fun, teach them how to play ‘twinkle, twinkle little star’, etc…but be prepared to have to lay down the law at a later age regarding music lessons. I don’t know a soul whose musical gift was nurtured who didn’t have parents that made practise or lessons a priority. Might be a good time for you to get ahead of the ball if you want to save money on lessons later…

    Interesting that you say you and Becky aren’t musical. Did it skip a generation as often seems to be the case or was it never encouraged (maybe actively discouraged) in your cases?

    One more thing. I stayed on a Bruderhof community farm a couple of years ago. (I was interested in finding out more about different ways of living in community.) They were a wee bit cultish but their home-schooled kids were way ahead of their state/private-schooled equivalents. And they all knew how to play an instrument. I’m sure they’d be happy to discuss what they do with you. Their website’s http://www.churchcommunities.org/

  12. Dennis Says:

    Correction: ‘equivalents’ should read ‘counterparts’.

  13. tochigi Says:

    some excellent comments so far. maybe a few general observations are worthwhile:

    1. each child is different–different weaknesses, different strengths. the biggest advantage of un-schooling is that you don’t have to force everyone to do the same thing at the same pace. use it.
    2. raising a child is not a race or a competition.
    3. maybe try and give Owen the opportunity to listen to lots of different sounds and rhythms and make lots sounds and rhythms by himself. young children immitate and explore on their own. let him do both. seeing other people play music and letting him immitate are natural ways of learning.
    4. music, rhythm and movement are intertwined. they are more deeply part of us than language.
    5. formal lessons are probably a while away…maybe after he is about six or so. i’ve seen steiner-inspired music teachers at work. the good ones are really good. maybe there’s someone near you.
    6. particle physics is cool, but in the early years high-tech is way over-rated imo. young children need one-on-one attention as well as freedom. they need the basics to allow them to explore for themselves. when the time comes, if he wants to get into advanced sciences, there will be avenues available. until then, feed his natural curiosity!

    good luck!

  14. Shikar Says:

    I agree. Homeschooling has to be the way forward and I’ve really enjoyed the comments so far on this.

    If anything encapsulates what all this information-sharing, awareness-building is all about it’s the possibility that it just may allow something different to emerge for Kevin’s son’s generation.

    It also highlights just how working on oneself i.e. being aware of one’s own “stuff” – the world “in there” as well as the world “out there” is vital for allowing the child to find his/her own way. What a responsibility it truly is to give the child the freedom to do this!

    I can’t think of a better start to give a kid than to have parents that are at least trying to see the world as it is, rather than how they would like it to be and giving him the tools to make up his own mind.

    Great.

  15. Kevin Says:

    Thank you all for these great comments. I’m sure that this thread is going to help more people than just Becky, me and Owen. (It is the most read thread on Cryptogon over the past two days.)

    @ dagobaz

    Becky and I were both wondering: Did you require your kids to complete any specific lessons/subjects/materials? Were there any have-to-dos in terms of the curricula?

    Also, what about screens? Do you manage their time in front of tv (if available at all) and computers?

    @ lagavulin

    We know other families who are outside-the-box, so to speak. Wow, the women are good at networking! Becky is one of the coordinators of our food/supply buying co-op and she’s getting to know the WAPFers, homeschoolers, no-vaxers, seed savers, etc.

    Anyway, we already have that bi-weekly meeting place at Playcentre. But since Playcentre only runs until age 5, we should try to figure out a way to keep that community time going. (I know, someone in the peanut gallery will say, “Just have another one!”)

    Re: the ReadingEggs. Oh man. That looks far too dazzling. Owen already shows a frightening urge to use the computer. I sit with him for about 20 minutes per day at the computer, but that’s about it. We use Phun (http://www.phunland.com/wiki/Home), type gibberish into notepad and look at pictures of animals.

    Funny story: Owen just realized that he can move the pointer on the screen by manipulating the mouse. The very next thing he tried was to move the keyboard to see if that also moved the pointer. Nope. He smiled at me and then went back to moving the mouse around again.

    I thought, “Oh my Vengeful Sky Gods… It’s starting.”

    I don’t know. I worry about it. I spend too much time in front of the screen. I always have. I want to establish that “this” is a tool, like a hammer or a shovel or a rifle, but we don’t live inside this thing.

    I specifically asked dagobaz about screens, but if you have anything to say on the matter, please go for it.

  16. dagobaz Says:

    @ kevin:

    I agree with all the comments, here. I would like to amplify a couple:

    Do make your child practice a musical instrument … don’t let him quit, later, he will thank you.

    Do join a co-op, the connections you will make and the observations of how other folks do things will be extremely helpful to you.

    Homeschooling is the ultimate exercise in evolution: we are constantly improvising, adapting, and overcoming. Our intent has always been to provide a classical education for our children, because we both feel very strongly about the value and intrinsic worth of Western Civilization, even given its blemishes. We felt that that approach, properly tempered with knowledge of, and respect for, other cultures would provide the best possible foundation from which our children could develop their futures.

    We have no specific curriculum, however, we are proceeding loosely along the Greek model: 1st the Trivium, later, the Quadrivium. (for an excellent primer on these concepts go here:

    http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/01760a.htm)

    Additionally, we have two other goals for our children:

    1) to instill a love of reading. (we figure that will take care of virtually everything else)

    2) to master the art of asking critical questions: who, what, when, where, why, qui bono, etc.

    My husband and I both loathed our pre-college educations: he went to an experimental school, skipped too many grades, and ended up feeling just like a well-trained lab rat, Flowers for Algernon – style; I went to a Hitler-Jugend prep school. It took us both many years before we learned to love learning, again.

    As for the computer / tube / technocrack, this is an ongoing discussion here. We are members of a local farming cooperative, each of the children has specific chores to perform and those, coupled with their studies and outside social obligations, account for most of their time. We simply do not watch broadcast television, at all, although we do watch a lot of movies on disc.

    Three of the four have their own laptops, and we have installed a time manager on them, so that each person is only allowed so much access time, per day. They are free to use their allotted time as they will. It would be hypocritical of me to not allow them to use the computers, since I practically live on mine, and I owe pretty much everything I have to them, although I do realize the faustian bargain I have made.

    – cybele

  17. pookie Says:

    @ dagobaz

    I am so impressed. Your kids are so lucky!

    And here’s the other side of the coin in the US — “committed” parents, too. I feel sorry for these kids, being taught to worship their political Messiah:

  18. Miraculix Says:

    Do make your child practice a musical instrument … don’t let him quit, later, he will thank you.

    The interviewer in me who’s spoken to enough professional musicians to actually know the answer to the above is “YES” must agree. The musically-inclined part of me chimes a hearty assent. The grown-up “I”, sitting over in the corner is also nodding in the affirmative. The teenage me who also did not enjoy the “forced” aspect of his public education more than any other factor is glaring rather unhappily.

    Learning to play an instrument and the follow-on music theory are well-proven to increase learning effectiveness in every other arena. For this reason alone, Baz speaks a truism. But the forced aspect should be balanced carefully with desire. Perhaps I’m a little “Captain Obvious” here, with such sensitivity to personal freedom already so clearly on display. I guess all I really want to add could be summed up as: a little (self-)discipline is a good thing, up to a point.

    Do join a co-op, the connections you will make and the observations of how other folks do things will be extremely helpful to you.

    Yes. My lifelong view of the food systems in the states were severely tweaked by participating in a food co-op operated by an aunt & uncle back in the Seattle area when I was growing up.

    Between that and field trips to a vast local shelf-stable grocery warehouse and summer weeks spent on a working farm owned by family friends, pretty much assured my eventual desertion of the supermarket system.

    Other than school, winters were spent in large part hanging out up at Snoqualmie Pass under the aegis of a cooperatively-organized and self-managed outdoor club with roots in the Great Depression (c.1932).

    Where the food co-op was tilted toward a religious community, the alpine club slanted generally “liberal”, chock full of telemarking programmers, mountain-climbing civil servants and ski patrol educators, etc.

    I share my personal experience only as example to prove Baz’s point beyond any reasonable doubt: being deeply involved with both organizations “scarred me for life”. Seeing these organizations managed and operated from within by volunteers and direct participants, investing of themselves and all that jazz, left me questioning the views than what the system tried to force-feed me on weekdays from 8:00 to 3:00 rather vociferously.

    Additionally, we have two other goals for our children:

    1) to instill a love of reading. (we figure that will take care of virtually everything else)

    YES!

    2) to master the art of asking critical questions: who, what, when, where, why, qui bono, etc.

    Yes, cubed. What rote learning does its level best to drill out of the human mind through numbing repetition.

    My husband and I both loathed our pre-college educations: he went to an experimental school, skipped too many grades, and ended up feeling just like a well-trained lab rat, Flowers for Algernon – style; I went to a Hitler-Jugend prep school. It took us both many years before we learned to love learning, again.

    Despite the rough treatment public education tends to impart upon auto-didactic types, I neer lost my love of learning. Realized it was a milieu question very early, as learning to ski was a gas, by way of example.

    That said, I had little love for the bulk of the programming that passes for public education, though I consider myself very fortunate to have always had at least one sane teacher to hold on to every step of the way. Looking back, the two most important classes I took in high school were a media class (where I first learned about deconstruction and Derrida) and creative writing (which I’ve been doing ever since).

    Of course, I was bent for life after a sixth grade year spent in an experimental program where I negotiated my workload with the teacher via a simple system of weekly one-on-one meetings. Going back to mostly assigned work the following year felt like descending back into Dante’s Inferno.

    As for the computer / tube / technocrack, this is an ongoing discussion here. We are members of a local farming cooperative, each of the children has specific chores to perform and those, coupled with their studies and outside social obligations, account for most of their time. We simply do not watch broadcast television, at all, although we do watch a lot of movies on disc.

    Unplugged the boob-tube nearly twenty years ago, as most of it was somewhere between asinine and insulting. Eyes were still aimed at a screen at sports-related gatherings with friends and the like, but I actually get headaches if I watch too many commercials, which hasn’t changed.

    Films and cinema (“long-form programming”) remain a lifelong habit of mine as well. Probably a result of having participated in the making of a film as and actor and in production during that fateful sixth grade year. That and the media class rendered me a lousy mark though, as my favorite hobby is dissecting the capital-P propaganda as it flows from the pretty mouths of CFR-affiliated puppets and their progeny.

    Three of the four have their own laptops, and we have installed a time manager on them, so that each person is only allowed so much access time, per day. They are free to use their allotted time as they will. It would be hypocritical of me to not allow them to use the computers, since I practically live on mine, and I owe pretty much everything I have to them, although I do realize the faustian bargain I have made.

    The Faustian bargain we in the “west” have all essentially been handed as a fait accompli, to offer a bit of personal exoneration in a world populated by hundreds of millions like us, all buzzing busily around the Great Honeypot… =)

  19. Ann Says:

    One word of caution: every child is different, and do better with different methods. I was homeschooled, and I can tell you I would never have made if it I was unschooled. I needed more structure than that. Some children need that, and some need the more unstructured format of unschooling. Or one of the other methods. It all depends on the child.

  20. Miraculix Says:

    Just for fun, and to drive home the genuine importance of music as a cultivated skill and/or talent:

    Firm evidence of music’s direct association with the most evolved and holistic of brain functions:

    • Spatial IQ

    Music lessons have been shown to improve child’s performance in school. After eight months of keyboard lessons, preschoolers tested showed a 46% boost in their spatial IQ, which is crucial for higher brain functions such as complex mathematics. Frances Rauscher, Ph.D., Gordon Shaw, PhD, University of California, Irvine. National Coalition for Music Education ”

    • Abstract Reasoning

    Univ of California, Irvine, 36 people took standardized intelligence tests after three 10 minute periods of Mozart. Those who listened to Mozart’s Sonata for Two Pianos (K448) scored an average 119 – eight points higher than those who listened to a relaxation tape and nine points higher than those who listened to silence.
    Mozart’s music is quite complex and very patterned said neurobiologist Frances H Rauscher, the study’s lead author. Rauscher said the complex music may “prime” the brain for mathematics or other analytical work because it triggers the same brain activity. “We predict that music lacking complexity or which is repetitive may interfere with rather than enhance abstract reasoning,” the researchers said in the journal Nature. UPI, Deseret News Oct 14 1993 Entire study documented in Nature Vol 365 14 October 1993.

    • Effects of different kinds of music on mice

    Suffolk, Va, high school student David Merrell finished first in regional and state science fairs by demonstrating the effects of music on lab mice. After the mice ran through a maze in about 10 minutes, Merrell played classical music to one group and heavy metal to another for 10 hours a day. After three weeks, the mice exposed to classical music made it through the maze in a minute and a half. The rock music group took 30 minutes. Said Merrell: “I had to cut my project short because all the hard-rock mice killed each other. None of the classical mice did that.”

    Case histories on file with the National Commission on Music Education uncover exciting correlation between the study of music an such critical work-place performance factors as self-esteem, self discipline, the ability to work in groups and higher cognitive and analytical skill. Music in schools, what little there is, is considered ancillary to “real education” as something of a “curricular-izing”.

    Albert Einstein Quotes on Music:

    “If I were not a physicist, I would probably be a musician. I often think in music. I live my daydreams in music. I see my life in terms of music …. I get most joy in life out of music.” (What Life Means to Einstein: An Interview by George Sylvester Viereck, for the October 26, 1929 issue of The Saturday Evening Post).

    “The finest emotion of which we are capable is the mystic emotion. Herein lies the germ of all art and all true science. Anyone to whom this feeling is alien, who is no longer capable of wonderment and lives in a state of fear is a dead man” (Science, Philosophy, and Religion: A Symposium, published by the Conference on Science, Philosophy and Religion in Their Relation to the Democratic Way of Life, 1941).

    (When asked about relativity) “It occurred to me by intuition, and music was the driving force behind that intuition. My discovery was the result of musical perception”.

    Metaphysical Quotes on Music:

    “God is the Supreme Musician. It is He who is playing with us, on us and in us. We cannot separate God from His music. The universal Consciousness is constantly being played by the Supreme Himself, and is constantly growing into the Supreme Music”. ~ Sri Chimnoy

    “…for me the only way I can thank God for his ever-present creation is to offer him a new music impressed of a beauty which nobody had previously understood …. the music we play is one long prayer, a message coming from God”. ~ Albert Ayler

    Musicians, Philosophers & Writers Quotes on Music

    “After silence, that which comes nearest to expressing the inexpressible is music”. ~ Aldous Huxley, Music at Night and Other Essays

    “Music gives a soul to the universe, wings to the mind, flight to the imagination, and life to everything”. ~ Plato

    “I immediately feel vibrations that thrill my whole being. These are the Spirit illuminating the soul power within, and in this exalted state, I see clearly what is obscure in my ordinary moods: Then I feel capable of drawing inspiration from above, as Beethoven did … Straitway the ideas flow in upon me, directly from God, and not only do I see distinct themes in my mind’s eye but they are clothed in the right forms, harmonies and orchestration. Measure by measure, the finished product is revealed to me when I am in those rare, inspired moods… The powers from which all truly great composers like Mozart, Schubert, Bach and Beethoven drew their inspiration is the same power that enabled Jesus to work his miracles. It is the power that created our earth and the whole universe.” ~ Johannes Brahms (from “Talks with Great Composers” by Arthur M. Abell, published by Philosophical Library).

    “There is nothing in the world so much like prayer as music is”. ~ William P. Merrill

    “Men profess to be lovers of music, but for the most part they give no evidence in their opinions and lives that they have heard it”. ~ Henry David Thoreau

    “Music expresses feeling and thought, without language; it was below and before speech, and it is above and beyond all words. ~ Robert G. Ingersoll

    “Bach opens a vista to the universe. After experiencing him, people feel there is meaning to life after all”. ~ Helmut Walcha

    “Music is a higher revelation than all wisdom and philosphy. Music is the electrical soil in which the spirit lives, thinks and invents”. ~ Ludwig van Beethoven

    “With certain groups, like Albert Ayler, Cecil Taylor, Ornette Coleman, and now my own group, there is a level of playing which we try to reach which is the same thing that people do when they do transcendental meditation and yoga. They talk about “out of the body” experiences. That’s what this music is. It’s chanting; it’s meditation; it’s yoga. It’s all these things. In order to play, something transcends. Something happens with the physical, the spiritual and the mental state in which they combine, and their energy is turned free. It’s a cleansing experience which in a religion they would say, “It’s of another world.” The state I’m talking about even transcends emotions. It’s a feeling of being able to communicate with all living things.” ~ Ronald Shannon Jackson

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