One of the things I love about homeschooling is the ability to allow my children to explore a variety of interests and passions. My daughter has developed and interest in music through her violin lessons and our family trips to the symphony. I was excited to be able to review Music Appreciation Book 2: for the Middle Grades and help her learn more about some of the composers whose music she was hearing and playing. Zeezok Publishing did a great job creating a program that helped her delve further into the lives and music of various composers while also teaching some basic information about reading and understanding music.
We received the student book and nine biographies covering seven composers (two of the composers were split into two books). When we started this program over the summer, I had my daughter, a rising sixth grader, working through the program with a little help from me. The program started with Frederic Chopin, Early Years and she learned about how he grew up in Poland and his childhood. We all enjoyed her fixing a Polish Christmas feast for dinner one night after learning about this custom. She used a recipe for poppy seed cake that was included in the activity book and found other recipes online for sauerkraut, kielbasa, perogies, and more.
The program would have her read several chapters and then do a variety of activities in the student book. This included answering questions about the chapters, listening to music selections via QR codes, and activities to learn about musical concepts such as the various types of notes (whole note, quarter note, etc). The curriculum also has the student create a journal to help record what they are learning and their thoughts about the composers. If you are in a state or situation where you need to track national standards the curriculum covers all of the national standards for music appreciation in fifth through eighth grades.
She was enjoying working through the program even though we were technically on summer break from school. As we are starting back to our regular schedule, I have switched it up a bit and I am going to use the biographies as a read aloud to all three of my school aged children. My daughter will still be completing the student book and activities but I thought all of the children would enjoying learning about the composers. We are currently learning about Schumann and look forward to also learning about Wagner, Foster, Brahms, Tchaikovsky, and MacDowell.
The curriculum is designed for fifth through eighth graders but they do also have a coloring book that you can purchase to go along with the composers. This could be a great way to include younger siblings and I am considering purchasing one for my kindergartner. They also have a lap book that can be purchased for your hands-on learners.
I love it when I find a program that is fun and can teach my children (and me) about our interests. Music Appreciation Book 2: for the Middle Grades certainly fit that description. The interesting biographies really helped us to connect with the composers, while the activities kept things fun and engaging. I encourage you to check out the program and also to click on the graphic below to check out the other Crew reviews and see how other families integrated it into their day.
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