As we geared up for a new school year this year, we have been studying about composers such as Frederick Chopin with Music Appreciation Book 2: for the Middle Grades, a wonderful homeschool music program from Zeezok Publishing.
We received a soft-cover text, nine biographies that cover the lives of seven different composers (a combination of soft-cover, hard-cover and digital copies) as well as access to musical scores via QR codes.
The text is actually a student activity book. The pages are perforated and have 3 holes punch through so your child can easily create a student notebook of their own.
The biographies included in this program are:
- Frederick Chopin: The Early Years
- Frederick Chopin: The Later Years
- Robert Schumann and Mascot Ziff
- Adventures of Richard Wagner
- Stephen Foster and His Little Dog Tray
- The Young Brahms
- The Story of Peter Tchaikovsky
- Peter Tchaikovsky and the Nutcracker Ballet
- Edward MacDowell and His Cabin in the Pines
What is it?
The text for this middle school Music Appreciation course is not your typical, dry history of music. Instead, it offers a wide range of student activities that cover not just the history of music but also the culture of the times, recipes, craft/art suggestions, and more. It can be used in a typical classroom type setting or with more of a unit study approach.
There is a scope and sequence provided that gives an overview of the areas students will cover with each composer. These areas encompass Creating, Performing and Responding. Different composers utilized these areas in different ways and your student(s) will have opportunity to understand and experience them as well.
Journaling and notebook are recommended with the assignments as well, giving the student a way to make these lessons more personal and allowing families to customize lessons to suit their needs. There is also a lapbook available from the company for those who enjoy a hands-on approach.
Actually listening to the music written by the composers is an important part of appreciating the music. The publisher has made this really easy by providing QR codes, links through the website, and an app for your phone/tablet. Videos that give information about the person, where they lived, the culture in which they lived are also available in similar manner to broaden the educational experience.
How do we use it?
Using the Weekly Outlines provided, we are working through lessons and activities two to three times per week. The activities include:
- a reading assignment in the composer’s biography
- tidbits of interest
- listening to the music composed by the person we are studying
- music awareness
- music theory
- familiarity with instruments and their sounds
- reading music
I enjoy reading out loud from the biography, a few pages at a time and then having discussions as a group before my daughter works on assignments independently. The music selection is played in the background during school time or chore time and we have fun watching some of the extra videos together as well.
When my daughter comes to an “app alert” we know it’s time to stop and listen or take a look at a video using the QR codes. NOTE: I am a very low-tech type of homeschool mom, but these codes are really cool, and fun, and make the whole experience so much more enjoyable!
What do we think?
I am impressed with Zeezok Pulications and their Music Appreciation for the Middle Grades. The biographies are quality that hold up with use. I thought at first they might be a bit juvenile for my 12-13 year old, but I quickly discovered they hold her interest, and my high school aged boys as well!
The information provided is presented in an interesting manner. The music theory, sound tracks and historical background given provide a well-balanced music appreciation course that is fun yet challenging course.
See how my fellow Crew Mates are using this with their families – just click on the image below!