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How to Use Picture Books to Teach Music in Your Homeschool

Today, I’m thrilled to tell you how to use picture books to teach music in your homeschool!

Years ago in the late ’90s I got a job as a music teacher at a new elementary school in Texas. That year the district had two brand new elementary schools, and I got to be friends with the music teacher at the other school. One thing our administration encouraged us to do was write a grant to receive a bigger purchase for our classroom. I wrote one to receive some computers, but the other elementary music teacher wrote a grant to receive picture books. I was so intrigued! Use picture books to teach music? So, I asked her to explain what she did, and my mind was open to a new way of teaching!

How to Use Picture Books to Teach Music in Your Homeschool from

Disclosure: I get commissions for purchases made through affiliate links in this post.

Living Books

It was actually the first time I was introduced to what I later heard to be called “living books.” These are books that are engaging and draw the readers in to learn the topic. Dry textbooks are NOT living books, and dry textbooks were the only type of book I used in my elementary music classroom up until that point.

And, of course, throughout my 16 years of homeschooling, I have used picture books to teach a number of other subjects as well: history and science, Bible and biographies, and even math and grammar!

But, today let’s focus on teaching music with picture books.

Disclosure: I get commissions for purchases made through affiliate links in this post.

Here are the 5 categories of picture books to teach music:

  1. Composers
  2. Styles (or genres)
  3. Instruments
  4. Songs
  5. Specific Musical Pieces

Books to Teach about Composers

It’s a thrill for a child to read about amazing people, and composers were amazing! Many of these books talk about the composer’s childhood, making them even more fun!

Tip: Read the book and then have the child act out a scene from the composer’s life!

J.S. Bach:

Ludwig van Beethoven:

Hildegard von Bingen

Johannes Brahms:

Frederic Chopin:

John Coltrane:

Paul Dukas:

Antonín Dvořák:

Duke Ellington:

George Gershwin:

Edvard Grieg:

George Frederick Handel:

Franz Joseph Haydn:

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart:


Sergei Prokofiev:

Camille Saint-Saëns:

Franz Schubert:

Robert Schumann:

Richard Strauss:

Igor Stravinsky:

Peter Tchaikovsky:

Antonio Vivaldi:

Hymn Writers:

Various Composers:

Picture Books of Musical Styles or Genres

Tip: After reading the book, listen to different types of music and identify them by style or genre. Play a “name that music style” game!

Picture Books About Opera:

Picture Books to Teach about Instruments

Tip: After reading a book, watch a musical concert! Go hear a band or orchestra play in the park, at a local college, or even just on YouTube!

Books of Songs

Tip: There are so many fun books that use songs as the lyrics. Don’t just read these books, sing them! If you don’t know the tune, look it up on YouTube, or get my A Folk Song a Week online course or the 10 Songs All Preschoolers Should Know online course.

Picture Books about Specific Musical Pieces

Tip: Be sure to listen to the music after (or while) you’re reading the book. YouTube has them all!

Find More Picture Books to Teach Music in my Amazon Store

Here’s my Video Workshop of How to Use Picture Books to Teach Music


Free Set of Bookmarks!

Download these 5 bookmarks to use in your homeschool!


What picture books to teach music do you love? Please share in the comments!


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