Wednesday, May 11, 2016

A TOS Review: Music Appreciation!

You might have heard me gush a few (or twenty) times about my appreciation for Classical Music.

I’m a fan.

It all began (sounds like one of those fish stories), when I was a little girl and my parents bought a huge box of vinyl records from a music shop in our little town. I was hooked. Since becoming a homeschool parent, I have tried to expose Josiah to all of those glorious tunes I twirled to in my bedroom in that little house in the woods. Our music appreciation has consisted of mostly listening to famous composers and reading the biographers of said composers.

And then I was given the opportunity to review Music Appreciation Book 1: for the Elementary Grades from Zeekzok Publishing LLC. What? Who me? Yes, please! I chose Paganini as our first composer. 

I know what you thinking. Josiah is certainly not elementary aged. After all, he is sporting something that looks suspiciously like a moustache. I Just. Couldn’t. Help. Myself.

Plus, he’s dyslexic and I thought that the reading books included would be less like to intimidate him.

Who am I kidding. I’m having as much fun with this as he is (probably more)

The Music Appreciation for Elementary Grades Book 1 Collection includes a student workbook, music appreciation CDs, a Lapbook CD, and seven biographies from the Great Musicians Series. 

Each reading book is about a different composer.

When we were approached for this review, we were asked to look through the list of those composers and choose one to specifically review. After all, wouldn’t it be boring if all the reviewers wanted to talk about Mozart?

Personally, I knew immediately who our composer would be.

Niccolò Paganini.

My family has a long history of fiddle playing. Notice I didn’t say anything about the violin. My folks play the fiddle. I actually had a great-grandfather who was a famous fiddle player in these parts. He had a few missing fingers, but could twiddle along with the best of them. He is even in an anthology or two of famous fiddle music.

Paganini, of course, was a violinist and composer of mythic proportions. He grew up in Italy and began playing the mandolin at age 5. AGE 5! He then moved on to the violin when he was 7.  Paganini wasn’t your typical 7-year-old violinist. He later picked up the guitar and his compositions were such that they inspired other composers.

What a slacker.

How We Used It

Josiah and I have been scheduling music appreciation twice a week. For this review period, we took turns reading the biography about Paganini. We listened to his compositions that were included on the Music Appreciation CD and worked through the student workbook.

The biography is not just the bare facts (thank you, ma’am), but it brings the composer’ story to life. We both were enchanted with Paganini’s story. Josiah worried about the sternness of Paganini’s father and I worried that he never got enough to eat.  It also revealed some history I hadn’t been aware of. When Napoleon annexed the area Paganini and his family were living at the time, he became concert master to Napoleon’s sister. Elisa Baciocchi. Baciocchi was given rulership over that province. 

Apparently, she had a bit of an attitude, as well. She certainly didn’t pay enough to keep the poor fella fed.  

You can use the biographies in this series as stand-alone products, but the Student Workbook is certainly the workhorse of this curriculum. The activities included in the workbook vary. They contains extra little bits of information, map work, actual music appreciation exercises and handwriting. 

Here (excuse my blurry picture) is the easy-to-follow outline. This was extremely handy to have. 

Map work.

And character qualities.

Don't let my slim picture offerings lead you astray. This is a substantial curriculum.  

In addition to all the other goodies we received there is a Lapbook CD with more than 100 pages of activities. You will be amazed at all the fun stuff that’s included.

Music Appreciation generally takes us more than an hour to complete. There is a lot of good information, quality content and lots of substance to this curriculum.  

Josiah learned to review music and develop his music listening ear, One of the listening activities included learning to appreciate the universal language that is music. We listened to several different tracks of music from around the world that are included on the Music CD. 

There are a few things I need to tell you. This curriculum is intended for the elementary grades (K-6). You, of course, will have to determine how well it will work with your students. It also can be used for a multi-aged group. There are some activities in the workbook that will be more challenging for younger grades, but the stories are timeless. The series is intended to take you through 2 years. I can see this happening. There is so much great stuff to do! 

Go check out the product yourself and tell me what you think! 

In the meantime, you can connect with Zeezok Publishing LLC via the following social media outlets. Don't forget to click on the banner for more reviews. 

Music Appreciation for the Elementary Grades {Zeezok Publishing LLC Review}

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