When I was in the 7th grade, a good friend in my church youth group played the flute and the piano and listened to classical music all the time. She dreamed of a career in an orchestra one day. Through the years I’ve lost track of my friend, but I still have a love for the classical music that I became familiar with because of our friendship. Prior to that, I figured classical music was relegated to elevators, stuffy concert halls, and insomniacs!
Over time, I began to recognize the music of different composers so that I developed a few favorites. It was only natural that I listened to classical music when I was pregnant and continued listening when Big Sis was an infant. Did it contribute to her huge, precocious vocabulary in those early years? Well, the jury is out on that one, but I know it didn’t hurt! I’ve continued to use classical music almost daily with my daughters, during reading time or bedtime or while riding in the car.
With all that classical music playing on our stereo, we really didn’t know much about the composers themselves or even how to recognize each composer’s music when we heard it. Like art, we knew what we liked, but not much beyond that. Enter A Young Scholar’s Guide to Composers by Melissa Craig and Maggie Hogan from Bright Ideas Press.
A Young Scholar’s Guide to Composers
Since music is a form of worship, the study includes information about the composer’s faith and character, or lack thereof. The authors are careful to include age-appropriate information so there are no worries about difficult explanations. The study focuses on the positive, God-given gift of music so that children can learn to appreciate the classics at a young age. There is a list of books for further study, too, if you care to do more in-depth research. There are 26 composers covered throughout six eras of music. You can view sample pages on the website.
To add a little fun and reinforce the learning, there is a Composer-Info card game and Composer Jeopardy. This is Big Sis taking a look at the Composer pictures to go along with the info cards and maps.
So how did we use the study? Honestly, we did not follow the plan to the letter. We actually spent more than a week on the composers we studied. We haven’t gotten through all the 32 weeks yet, but that’s part of the beauty of homeschooling and of this particular study. You can tailor it to your needs and interests! We wanted to linger on listening to the music a little longer. Some of the music we had at home, some we found at the library. We also included Lil Sis and Baby Girl as much as possible for reading time and music time. There are very detailed coloring pages at the back of the study, which is great for the kids to work on while listening to the music. Even your youngest students can do that. Big Sis loved the coloring pages and enjoyed the study overall. She liked linking the music with the background story of the composers and their place in the timeline. It’s a great way to bring history to life! Since the study is adaptable to time and interest levels, it can be used again as the springboard for more detailed studies in the future when the girls are older.
This study has so many great features that we love and can easily incorporate into our learning style. For instance, the “folderbooks” are very much like lapbooks. The difference is the folderbooks are actually a little less complicated to put together. A little less variety in the folds and books, but it makes things simpler when you’re short on time. If you like lapbooking and unit studies, this will be right up your alley. If you’re looking for a music study that you can use with many age ranges and cover the basics, I highly recommend A Young Scholar’s Guide to Composers. I was very impressed by this study. I’m so glad we had the opportunity to try it and I know we’ll be using it again in the future.