I have always wanted to include music appreciation in our homeschool, but until now we have only skimmed over the topic. Mostly we’ve made homemade instruments and we did see The Nutcracker a few years ago, plus recently we enjoyed five Broadway musicals, including The Phantom of the Opera.
So I am excited for this upcoming Happy Hearts year because we are going to formally include a music curriculum for the first time. In fact, it just arrived yesterday on my doorstep. I was probably more excited than the kids to open the box and examine its contents.
After researching and reading reviews, I chose Maestro Classics Stories in Music. These are children’s stories, such as, Peter and the Wolf, The Tortoise and the Hare, and Mike Mulligan and His Steam Shovel, brought to life through classical music performed by the London Philharmonic Orchestra. As an added bonus, each CD comes with a CD-size activity booklet, featuring tidbits about the composer and the instruments. After some deliberation I decided to splurge and order the entire twelve story collection. So far, I have no regrets. I am sure we’ll be very happy with this set.
I could’ve chosen another popular curriculum choice- Music Appreciation for the Elementary Grades, by Elisabeth Tanner and Judy Wilcox, which I’ve read also works well for middle school ages, but the Maestro Classics appealed to me more.
I did purchase, however, this little gem. I acquired it before I discovered Maestro Classics, but we have already begun to use it and it’s actually a neat book. The Story of the Orchestra, by Robert Levine, is a handy book for introducing four music eras and fifteen famous composers to children, as well as giving tidbits about several orchestra instruments. It includes a CD which features classical selections by each composer.
And then there is a series written and illustrated by Mike Venezia, entitled, Getting to Know the World’s Greatest Composers. There are fourteen little books altogether. We have only purchased The Beatles so far, just to check it out. It’s a quick read, but packed full of fascinating history, real photographs and fun cartoons. With this curriculum you’d have to find music selections yourself, but the books are fairly inexpensive, usually less than $7.00 each.
If you don’t have the budget for a music curriculum, check out these freebies-
52composers.com features nifty composer profile pages.
Easy Peasy All-in-One Homeschool includes free music studies. (Just scroll down until you see her music offerings in the column on the right).
What music curriculum have you used in your homeschool? I’d love to hear all about it in my comment section. :)