SQUILT Music Appreciation Review

With its diverse musical pieces and wide variety of multisensory activities, SQUILT is an engaging, easy to use and comprehensive music appreciation program that goes above and beyond what most other programs offer and can be a valuable option for those looking to add a little music into their homeschooling lives.

What We Like

  • Highly flexible, open-ended and adaptable
  • Diverse and broad range of music pieces
  • In-depth and highly informative
  • Easy, open and go curriculum
  • Membership and DIY curricula options

But Watch Out For…

  • Live lessons only at specific times
  • Lessons can be long for younger kids
  • Some options are subscription only

What is SQUILT

Founded in 2013, SQUILT is a music appreciation program designed for elementary and middle school kids that is popular with both homeschoolers and those in traditional schools. 

An acronym for Super Quiet UnInterrupted Listening Time, SQUILT provides families with a variety of music-related educational guides and printables, as well as links to different musical pieces that students can listen to. 

Although it isn’t designed to teach students to play musical instruments, its materials help expose students to a wider variety of musical styles and help them develop an appreciation for and deeper understanding of important musical elements such as rhythm, form, tempo, dynamics, mood and more. 

Age Range

Designed to instill a greater understanding and love of music in kids, SQUILT doesn’t really aim itself at any particular age but is largely designed for kids from preschool to middle school.

Ultimately, the only real requirement we believe the program has is that kids should have some ability for self-reflection, understanding their emotions, have a general idea about music and musical instruments and, of course, the patience to be able to sit through the lessons. 

It is true that the worksheets and various activities can include some reading and writing, meaning students should have some ability in this regard to make the most out of them. 

That said, SQUILT can be quite flexible as a program. The program includes a wide variety of activities for kids, ranging from coloring pages and connect the dots (suitable for younger kids) all the way to brain dumps and notebooking work (for older kids). 

Similarly, the music included in the program will likely be novel to kids of any age and, as there is no “right” way to teach the curriculum, the prompts and activities can be modified or adjusted to a students needs. For example, parents can verbally paraphrase much of the written work to younger kids in order to elicit a response. 

Overall, we feel this rather open age range can be quite beneficial to parents as, with some customization, it allows SQUILT to be used as part of a music curriculum even if they have kids at significantly different grade levels learning at the same time. 

How it Works

SQUILT has a subscription plan (SQUILT Live), where live lessons and various activities and guides are delivered on a regular basis to members each month.

Elements of the program can also be purchased individually as stand alone DIY kits on the SQUILT website.

The essence of how SQUILT teaches is quite simple, but quite effective. 

The program provides links to pieces of music and students listen quietly to it (super quietly, even), before exploring how the music is constructed, its features, how it made them feel or what it made them think of, etc.  


Live Lessons

At the heart of SQUILT Live subscriptions are the live music appreciation lessons offered by the program.

Taught by company founder and long-time music educator Mary Prather, these lessons are given twice a month, at 2PM EST on Mondays and Thursdays on zoom and are usually around 45-60 minutes long.

The lessons themselves are quite in-depth and engaging for kids. 

Mary explains concepts clearly and simply, guiding kids from introducing the essentials behind the music, through the listening activity to activities, discussion and beyond. 

She often uses visual aids, stories, videos and even props to convey information in a more entertaining and engaging way, which can be very helpful for younger kids. 

Perhaps more importantly, she does so without dumbing the material down. 

While the core of the lesson is getting kids to listen to music in an uninterrupted manner (hence the name of the program), Mary provides students with a more thorough and comprehensive overview of music that isn’t very common in most other music appreciation courses aimed at kids.

This overview offers kids a good deal of background on the piece, its author, its relevance and even its place and importance in history. 

picture of squilt lesson plan

Lessons are, being live and on zoom, also interactive. 

Kids can periodically use the chat function to leave answers to questions, which makes the live lesson experience feel far more personal and individualized in our opinion.

Overall, when watching these lessons parents can really get a sense of Mary’s love of and enthusiasm for the lesson’s music, which, in turn, can get kids more excited about learning in our experience. 

Along with the lessons, SQUILT Live provides families with a lesson pack that is filled with a fair amount of activities to help kids dive deeper into what they’ve listened to. 

These packs include printed background information for the songs, which can be used as review or for later discussion and often include a piace’s history, cultural significance, lyrics and even a music sheet, in case parents (or students) care to try their hand at playing them on their own. 

Along with the background information, SQUILT provides a variety of activities that kids can use during or after the lesson. These can vary between lesson packs but commonly include coloring pages, music-related connect the dots, a Draw What You Hear activity (for younger students) and of course a SQUILT Listening Map (for older students) where kids write down their thoughts and perception of a piece’s dynamics, rhythm instrumentation and mood.

picture of squilt listening map

Finally, there is an optional quiz (aka a SQUIZ) where kids can test themselves on what they’ve learned to see how much they remember. 

Overall, there is a lot included in each lesson, with a good deal of music related activities and lessons that are both informative and highly engaging. 

That said, at over 45 minutes long, lessons can be a little long for some students, particularly for younger students who simply may not be able to sit still and pay attention for that length of time. 

It’s also important to note that these live lessons are offered only twice a week at very specific times. While the 2PM EST puts it well within the normal school day for most homeschooling parents across the continental US, it may not fit every family’s schedule. 

While the company does offer access to its archives for Plus members (regular members will be out of luck in this regard), these don’t provide the benefits that the interactive nature of the live lessons can provide.

Monthly Listening Calendars

In addition to the lessons, SQUILT also offers subscriptions to a monthly listening calendar. 

These are calendars sent out each month in PDF form (or simply direct access to a YouTube list) that contain 30 days of music learning and activities. 

Each month is themed and lesson packs include information about that month’s theme and offers students access to a variety of resources for future learning, such as books or links to related educational websites 

Each day in a month explores a different piece of music. Students can click on the hyperlink in the PDF (or go to the YouTube link directly), listen to the musical piece and then complete some short suggested activities to deepen the learning experience and help connect students to the music in a more engaging way. 

Typically, younger students complete a Draw What You Hear while older students complete a SQUILT Listening Map, analyzing the piece and exploring how its music affected them. 

picture of squilt activity

That said, the activities provided are merely suggestions. 

The listening calendars are actually quite open ended for the most part, allowing parents to include some, none or completely replace their activities to better fit their preferences and their child’s learning style. 

In contrast to the longer Live Lessons, the monthly listening calendars are designed to be short (around 10 minutes or so each) and can be a great option for parents whose kids have a hard time sitting though hour-long music lessons. 

Similarly, although not offering quite as much depth of learning, the Monthly Listening Calendars provide shorter, more frequent music engagement than the longer bi-monthly live lessons, which in turn gives parents more flexibility in terms of fitting them into their own music lesson plans and explorations and gives them the opportunity to have more frequent music explorations in their curriculum.

Access to Lesson Archives

Interestingly, SQUILT Live offers access to its archives for Plus members. 

These contain full recorded lessons and their lesson packets dating back to about 2017 for sort of an on-demand music learning experience where parents can pick and choose lessons based on their interests. 

As the live lessons are only given twice a month, parents can use these archives to extend the learning by supplementing the live lessons with recorded ones and filling out their music schedule accordingly. 

Similarly, because live lessons are recorded and then immediately placed in the archives, parents and students whose busy schedules don’t allow them to attend live lessons can catch up when they can with this feature, which is helpful. 

Other Features

Special Events

Every so often SQUILT will partner with other music programs, teachers or influencers in the music educational field to offer special one time lessons or events. 

Topics vary, obviously, between the people invited to host them – they might be purely educational or just play fun, it really depends on who is teaching. 

The guests invited to host these special events are usually quite entertaining and are quite knowledgeable about music and the topic they are discussing. 

In general these special events can be fun and offer students a different perspective on music and music appreciation, which is always welcome. 


SQUILT Basics are 30 minute classes taught by Mary on zoom. 

These classes dive further into various concepts in music, the pieces  and the various musical eras in which they were created and are sort of an extracurricular learning activity designed to augment and deepen the learning experience provided by the main lessons. 

SQUILT Basics can be really helpful if a student shows a particular interest in the history and cultural impact of a piece or wants to learn more about music in general. 

In general they can be a good supplement to the live classes, providing some additional context to help kids follow along a little easier. 

That said, they are only offered a few times a year and, at around a half hour, they are a fairly lengthy class in and of themselves. 

As such, students who have a hard time sitting still for the main lessons may have similar issues here. 

That said, they are included with the Live and Plus packages at no extra cost, so there isn’t much risk for parents to try them out.

Meet the Instruments

To help introduce kids to the various musical instruments that they will hear in the music, SQUILT offers a set of largely hands-on activities called Meet the Instruments. 

The set contains a variety of materials to help students get acquainted with the instruments, with colorful flashcards, bingo games, printable activities, various videos and more that they can interact with and learn from. 

Despite being a more entertaining, multisensory way of learning, SQUILT does go into a surprising level of depth with Meet the Instruments. 

Students don’t just learn what instruments are called and what they look like, but get a better understanding of their place in an ensemble, what families they belong to, their purpose, their sound, a little about their history and more. 

All this makes using Meet the Instruments a potentially highly informative learning experience, as well as a fun, multisensory one that we think kids will enjoy. 

Features – SQUILT DIY

In addition to the membership plan, SQUILT also offers parents a sort of à la carte option for music appreciation by allowing them to purchase certain materials individually on the website. 

Parents can pick and choose certain SQUILT learning packets, letting them integrate some of the learning material into their own music curriculum, create a hybrid system with another music program, or just let parents try things out. 

However parents choose to use it, being able to purchase individual items can be a very helpful and flexible option for parents to have, particularly for those who don’t want to subscribe to yet another membership, those who want a little more control over their curriculum or those on a more tight monthly budget. 

We also find this to be fairly refreshing, as few online learning companies give parents this option, tending to prefer (and only offer) monthly subscriptions. 

While not all the features available from SQUILT Live are included, there are quite a few helpful SQUILT elements and packages that are available for sale. 

Some of the more notable options that stood out to us are included below. 

Individual Listening Calendars

SQUILT offers parents the ability to purchase individual listening calendars, essentially providing a single month’s SQUILT calendar that they can use. 

Like the monthly membership, these include links to songs, background information about the music, printable activities and more, all for under $10. 

This can be an excellent and inexpensive way for parents to try out SQUILT’s methods to see if it is a good fit for their homeschool, or even as a helpful, casual and fun supplement  to add to an existing music program. 

Listening Map Sampler

Parents can also purchase a listening map sampler directly from the website. 

This package offers a selection of classical pieces for kids to listen to, as well as a variety of printable visual representations, or maps, of the pieces that kids can use to sort of see the different parts of a musical piece and better understand its flow and construction. 

These packs also come with a variety of teaching material, which can be helpful when integrating them into a music curriculum, including instructions, videos and learning activities such as Draw What You Hear. 

Musical Eras

SQUILT offers several individual lesson packs that cover the four main eras of music covered in SQUILT – Baroque, Classical, Romantic and Modern, i.e. music from the 1600s to today. 

Each lesson pack focuses on a specific era and provides 10 short lessons. 

Each of these lessons focuses on a composer and provides an example of their work. For example, the Romantic Era pack might include:

  • Impromptu in G flat by Franz Schubert
  •  Dies Irae by Hector Berlioz
  • And Thus Sprach Zarathustra by Strauss

Among others by Tchaikovsky, Verdi, Chopin and more. 

Depending on the influence of the composer and the piece, a composer may be featured multiple times with different pieces, For example Tchaikaovsky appears a couple of times in the Romantic Era set, but this is to be expected given the focus is on the music and not on the individual composer. 

After listening to the piece, students have access to a variety of SQUILT activities, such as a notebooking page, Draw What You Hear and more. 

Overall, the Musical Eras packages can be a great supplement to a music curriculum, providing a decent general overview of music in its period. 

They can be a great way to provide historical context to music studies or, conversely, integrate music into a general history curriculum. 

Interestingly, because the music is divided into various historical periods, we also think that it can even be an interesting way of adding some flavor to literature studies, creating a soundtrack (and extra learning modules) for contemporary literature studies. 

Composer Spotlights

SQUILT also offers various short composer studies called Composer Spotlights. 

Centered around the life and works of a particular composer, such as Beethoven, Bach, Mozart, Dvorak and Handel, these Spotlights come with a variety of learning activities to choose from.

These Spotlights include samples of the artist’s music, biographies, curated links to other educational websites, copywork based on their quotes or quotes about them, coloring sheets and more. 

There is also a handy teaching script that more or less guides parents through teaching and makes exploring these Composer Spotlights quite easy, even for parents with little to no pre-existing knowledge about them or their works. 

Overall the Composer Spotlights are pretty informative and interesting and we feel they can be a great resource for those interested in developing a wider knowledge of the classical greats or even as part of a broader unit study of history and historical figures. 

SQUILT Complete

Finally, SQUILT offers a complete bundled package of pretty much everything except the monthly listening calendar, called SQUILT complete. 

The package includes the listening maps, composer spotlights, musical era lessons, elements of music posters, meet the instruments and more, providing essentially a year’s worth of activities and focused studies in music appreciation.

The material included is fairly comprehensive in total and is a potentially useful all-in-one option for parents who want to build their own music curriculum or add SQUILTS activities, tools and methodologies to an existing program. 

What is the learning Like

We think that the learning in SQUILT is fairly in-depth and comprehensive for a music appreciation program.

In SQUILT, particularly with the Live lessons, students don’t just listen to music but are offered a good amount of background information, touching on the music’s importance, both historic and contemporary. 

The program also offers a more than decent exploration of important musical elements that kids should be aware of, including an understanding of musical instruments, their place in an ensemble, how they interact, as well as the concepts of rhythm, dynamics, tempo, instrumentation and mood. 

Interestingly, we feel that the breadth and depth of learning offered by SQUILT can actually make it more customizable for different age ranges, rather than less. 

Beyond the music itself, most of the activities are optional and are fairly diverse in terms of skill level, meaning parents can add or remove various concepts or topics and scale the learning up or down pretty easily, depending on their student’s ability and interest. 

Overall, while SQUILT does not teach extensive musical theory or offer instruction on playing instruments, students won’t be learning to sight read or play the piano with this program for example, we feel it does do a great job at what it intended to offer – namely, helping kids develop a more complete and better understanding and appreciation for a broader array of musical pieces than they may otherwise expose themselves to. 

What kind of music does SQUILT offer?

SQUILT covers a wide variety of music from four musical eras – Baroque, Classical, Romantic, and Modern, meaning kids will listen to pieces by Bach, Beethoven, Mozart, and Handel alongside Florence Price, John Williams, Duke Ellington, Mike Seegar and more.

Unlike most music programs for kids that focus on classical music, with SQUILT kids will develop a broader appreciation for music, getting a solid foundation in classical compositions, as well as Jazz, Big Band, World Music, Folk and more, which is something we think is quite beneficial and pretty cool in the long run. 

In general, although they may come across these pieces as part of popular culture, the pieces SQUILT presents isn’t music that most kids will have actively sought out, analyzed or have listened to closely. 

SQUILT Pros and Cons


Highly flexible program

Beyond encouraging kids to engage with music, there is no right way to teach SQUILT and parents have a number of options to help them configure the program around their individual needs. 

For example, there are a wide variety of activities that suit a number of ages and abilities, from drawing to written work, allowing parents to pick the learning exercises that best suit their child’s skill level. 

Similarly, the program is quite flexible in terms of scheduling and lesson planning. Parents can essentially create their own curriculum with the tools provided, choode to attend live lessons or (with Plus plans) access the archives and have lessons when they can. 

Broad range of music genres

Unlike other programs that only focus on classical music, SQUILT exposes students to many great musical genres, including classical music from different periods, jazz, big band, folk and more.

Rich and very informative lessons

While students will spend a good amount of time listening attentively to music, SQUINT dives fairly deeply into the background and structure of the music pieces it provides, helping students study the music in its proper context and analyze its elements. 

Open and go curriculum 

Whether in its live lessons or its kits, SQUILT is an open and go program that provides enough scripting and direction for parents to effectively use it with little to no prep work or even a preexisting knowledge of music and music history. 

Highly adaptable 

With no real right or wrong way of teaching SQUILT, and with a lot of different activities and exercises to choose from, parents are free to pick and choose how they would like to teach SQUILT, fitting it to their particular homeschool needs and philosophies.

Parents can choose some, all or even very little from the included material, add exercises of their own or even take parts from SQUILT and add it to another music curriculum to create a hybrid program of sorts.  

Subscription and DIY options available

Unlike other companies that offer either a single package or a monthly subscription model, SQUILT offers parents both options, providing them with an unusual but certainly welcome level of choice. 

Parents who are interested in an ongoing educational program, with lessons, monthly packages, lesson plans and more are free to subscribe to a membership. 

Parents who would rather have more control and teach the material themselves, on the other hand, are free to purchase individual packages, bundles and activities on the company website and configure their own curriculum. 


Live lessons take place at specific times and only twice a month

Parents who have busy schedules and are also interested in the program’s live lessons will have to make sure that they leave an opening in their week. L

Live lessons are taught by a single instructor (company founder and educator Mary Prather) and take place at very specific times – twice a month, on Mondays or Thursdays, at 2PM EST. 

There are no alternate instructors and so students who cannot attend will miss out. 

While Plus members can access recordings of previous lessons, the ability to interact live with SQUILT’s instructor can be a very valuable experience.

Lessons can be a little long for younger students

Live lessons are typically between 40-60 minutes long, which can be a little long for younger students. 

Despite the considerable (and usually effective) efforts of the instructor, younger kids may lose interest and wander off after a while, missing out on their lessons. 

This is particularly true to those with a Live membership, as only Plus members have access to the recorded lessons.  

Some interesting options are only available with subscription

While SQUILT does do a good job at providing non-membership options, certain options that might be interesting (SQUILT goes to the Movies, Special Events, Basics and archived recordings) are only available with a subscription.

This means that parents who want to DIY a music curriculum, or those who feel they’ve signed up to enough membership plans this year, will miss out on some useful tools and activities. 

Who is SQUILT good for?

Parents with little knowledge of music who want to expose their children to the subject

SQUILT can be an excellent option for parents who have limited exposure to music and music history themselves. 

The program provides enough in the way of notes, instructions and guides that even parents who have no previous knowledge or exposure to the music provided should have no issue using the curriculum.

Parents who want an easy way to introduce music to their kids

SQUILT is an extremely easy to use, open and go music appreciation program. The curriculum is well-scripted, allowing parents to essentially follow instructions in order to deliver a high-quality learning experience.  

It is also designed in a way that is quite easy to use. Aside from the lessons being open-and-go, the instructions and guides provided have internal links embedded within them in order to access music and other web resources with a simple click and there is very little that will confuse parents or get them lost. 

Parents of kids studying a musical instrument who want a little more musical background

While SQUILT doesn’t teach music theory or instrument playing, it can provide a good deal of information and background to the music (or at least the musical eras) commonly found in most formal music courses, potentially enriching their overall learning experience by giving them a better general understanding of what they’re playing.

Those looking for a highly multisensory music appreciation program

With videos, written instruction and various hands-on games and activities, SQUILT is very much a multisensory music appreciation program. 

Its mix of audio, visual and tactile learning can make it highly effective and useful for a wide variety of learning styles and homeschooling preferences. 

Who is it not ideal for?

Those looking to learn music or music theory

While SQUILT does provide ample background in music history and does provide decent instruction about various musical elements, such as rhythm, tempo and more, it is a music appreciation course and not a music theory course, nor will it teach kids to play any instrument. 

Those on a very strict budget

While it does offer a lot in terms of learning, SQUILT isn’t the cheapest music course out there in an absolute sense. 

Membership does cost $20+ per month for the live package, and the DIY kit can cost over $200, so those on a very strict budget for non-core curricula may need to be careful. 


Note: Prices correct as of writing. All prices in USD.

SQUILT has two ways in which its curriculum can be purchased.

There is a membership package, with three tiers, Calendar only, Live and Plus, which allow parents to choose which features they would like to subscribe to. 

These memberships do auto-renew, however, so parents should be aware that they will need to manually cancel their subscriptions or be rebilled at a future date. 

Parents can also choose to purchase certain individual components directly from the company store, creating their own curriculum or mixing SQUILT’s activities and tools with another program. 


Calendar AccessLivePlus
Monthly Listening Calendar
Calendar Archives
Live Lessons
Lesson Archives
Special Events
Instruments Matching Cards
Community Access

Squilt DIY components

Individual Listening Calendar – $7 each

Listening Maps Sampler – $24

Music Era Bundle – $64

Meet the Instruments – $16

Composer Spotlights- $12 each

SQUILT complete – $244.00

Is it Worth the Price?

Although not the most inexpensive music education program out there, we do think that SQUILT is worth the price. 

In addition to curating a high-quality and diverse selection of music from across several eras, the program offers a ton of related resources, activities and exercises for kids that can help them connect and engage with the music on a deeper level.   

The optional live lessons are very clear and well-taught, with an enthusiastic instructor who clearly cares about music and music appreciation, while those that only purchase SQUILT’s DIY materials will find that they are not only fairly comprehensive but can integrate well with many other music curricula out there. 

In terms of learning, with SQUILT students are exposed to a more holistic view of musical pieces, listening to the music itself as well as exploring its history, contemporary role and its place in history. 

Students also receive a fairly decent overview of musical instruments, as well as lessons on various musical elements and their roles. 

Finally, SQUILT is very easy to use. 

An open and go curriculum, the program provides all the necessary materials and background information for parents to use effectively, regardless of their own knowledge and experience in music or even homeschooling.

Bottom Line: 

With its diverse musical pieces and wide variety of multisensory activities, SQUILT is an engaging, easy to use and comprehensive music appreciation program that goes above and beyond what most other programs offer and can be a valuable option for those looking to add a little music into their homeschooling lives.


About the author

Andres Castillo has been playing and teaching music for over 10 years. A self-described music technology geek and lover of all things melodic, when he’s not tickling the ivories he’s usually at home with his wife and sons experimenting in the kitchen.