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The Well Trained Mind: Thoughts from Chapter 12

This is a series of posts I am writing about The Well Trained Mind, by Susan Wise Bauer and Jessie Wise. Although the WTM has a decidedly homeschooling bent, it is an excellent reference book for any parent who is interested in taking an active role in their child’s education.

Over the next few weeks I am reading the WTM again for the second time and blogging about my thoughts chapter by chapter. I invite you to read along with me, and chime in your own thoughts in the comment section below.

Chapter 12

General Thoughts: This chapter was about art and music which is of personal interest to me, because my whole family on my mom’s side is musical. My mother has taught piano for over forty years. My aunt is a music teacher. My grandfather was a middle school music teacher and violinist in the San Diego Symphony Orchestra. My great grandparents met while playing in an orchestra in Kansas. I myself play piano and also studied organ in college. On my dad’s side of the family, there is an “art gene” that I unfortunately did not inherit. My great grandfather was a commercial artist who created the original Quaker Oats design as well as the Florsheim Shoe logo.  He also did some of the murals in the Chicago Museum of Science and Industry.

P 206: This is the one and only page in WTM when Charlotte Mason is mentioned. Is this a major oversight perhaps?

p 207: I finally (just now!) looked up www.artisticpursuits.com. Wow! That really does look good. The problem with being an Afterschooling family instead of a Homeschooling family like the WTM authors, is that there just isn’t enough time in the day to do all of the things I want to do with my children.

p 207: The recommendation to listen to music at an early age is very anti-Waldorf. One of my big problems with the Waldorf method is that they sometimes encourage families to not listen to any recorded music until after age 8. In the interim, children are supposed to produce their own music.

p 208: I’m sorry but this is the most ridiculous piece of advice in this entire book. John Thomspons Modern Course for the Piano? You have got to be kidding me! There are such better piano lesson books out there, especially for appealing to young students. In the world of piano teaching, Thompsons is a dinosaur, and not in an “oldie but goodie” sort of way either.

p 214: Piano Adventures would be a much better pick. My mother also likes the Bastien series.


  1. Claire H. says:

    I took 10 years of piano growing up, and my teacher used the Bastien series for beginners. She then transitioned intermediate students to the Alfred repertoire books. Bastien is okay but I agree that the Faber Piano Adventures is much more engaging for young students.

    Unfortunately, my 8 y.o. refuses to allow me to teach her keyboarding and private lessons aren’t in the budget. She’s normally a reasonably compliant child but for whatever reason music is something she insists on trying to teach herself. She did manage to learn a few songs out of the Faber primer level books on her own but that’s it.

    • jenbrdsly says:

      If it makes you feel any better, my mom couldn’t teach me either! I too had 10 or 11 years of private piano lessons.

      The Bastien family lived in San Diego and I at one point auditioned for Jane Bastien. At that point though I was in high school, and when we found out we would need to drive to La Jolla three times a week for lesson with her that was a deal breaker. Now after reading that Tiger Mom book, I can see how I wouldn’t have had what it takes anyway! 🙂

      The sad thing about the Bastiens is that James Bastien ended up with Alzheimer’s.

  2. Cheryl Morris says:

    Music and performing arts are very important in our house too. We have a performing arts academy, so we cover our music and art lessons a little differently. My kids take musical theatre for singing and some basic music theory, my son took group piano last year and LOVED it. Everyone in our house also takes dance.

    We listen to a lot of music!

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