For the last several weeks, we have been reviewing an amazing music curriculum from Zeezok Publishing LLC. When we received the collection Music Appreciation: Book 1 for the Elementary Grades to review, I was more than pleased with curriculum and the quality of the resources we were provided with to explore. The collection is designed for K-6th grade. Our review focuses on our study of Franz Schubert.
Music Appreciation for the Elementary Grades Book 1 has four week studies of seven different classical composers. Composers include:
- Johann Sebastian Bach 1685-1750
- George Frideric Handel 1685-1759
- Joseph Haydn 1732-1809
- Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart 1756-1791
- Ludwig van Beethoven 1770-1827
- Niccolò Paganini 1782-1840
- Franz Schubert 1797-1828
- Student Activity Book: Activities include comprehension questions, interesting facts, experiments, maps, music history, recipes, instrument studies, music theory, history, handwriting, timelines, culture, character trait studies, quizzes and more. (There is a sample available here.)
- Music Discs: Five discs contain music samples from the composers and samples referenced in the biographies and the Student Activity Book, additional pieces, and the instruments from Benjamin Britten's Young Person's Guide to the Orchestra. In the Student Activity Book, there is a list of the tracks on each disc.
- Lapbook CD: The CD has information about how to create a lapbook and examples of folds. There are completed lapbook pictures, lapbook templates for each composer, and a rescource list.
- Biographies: There's a living book for each composer included that outlines each individual's childhood through adult life.
At the beginning of each study, there is a weekly lesson outline in the Music Appreciation Study Activity Book. It shows what to read, what tracks will be used, what parts of the lapbook should be provided, and what activities to do.
You are encouraged to read each chapter first. Then each week starts out with comprehension questions over the chapter. Many of the questions are based on facts from the biographies.
After the questions, you dive into the activities, music selections, and lapbook. Here are samples of how you can put your folders together for Shubert.
For every week of lessons during our Shubert study, we would read the chapter and do all of the activities and lapbook pages.
The kids all loved to listen to the story of Shubert and His Merry Friends. The baby would climb into my lap, Li would cuddle up and the girls would listen while cutting out what we needed for the lapbook pages.
Ceesa has given a synopsis of the book for you. "Even when Shubert was a baby, he loved music. As a young boy, he became a pupil in the choir. Then he went to the Convict to study in the choir. One day he was playing with his friends and a teacher came in. Franz played for him too. The teacher was impressed. He spent most of his time writing music, instead of studying. Because of this, his father would not let him come into the house until they were better. When his voice started failing, he was forced to go back to his father's house and start teaching school. He would compose during classes. His friends would always bring him music paper to compose on. One day he went to live with his friend's house to live, so that he could compose his pieces in peace. He began turning poems into songs. One of his greatest pieces was never finished because his friends were going on a picnic and he went too. His friends got him a piano. He died of typhoid fever."
Since Jo-Jo and Ceesa are the only ones old enough to do writing, when we have assignments like those in the book that require writing, they take turns writing our our answers. Zeezok Publishing LLC recommends having one activity book per student.
We used our lapbook materials a bit differently. We thought it would be nice to make a composer folder. We attached all of our lapbook component pieces to a piece of tag board. These can be hole punched and put in a folder. As our composer studies grow, we can continue to add the pieces.
As we read the book, we would listen to many of the pieces. Some pieces were presented in theactivity book, so when we looked over those, we played those pieces then. I really appreciated have some music to go along with the composer.
We recommend this for families that are interested in studying composers. It has a rich curriculum base and there is something to meet the needs of all learning styles.
Zeezok Publishing LLC has plans to publish a second book designed for grades 5 to 8 and cover Chopin, Schumann, Wagner, Foster, Brahms, Tchaikovsky and MacDowell. We are definitely excited to try this when it comes out.
Wishing you homeschool blessings,