"And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God." ~Romans 12:2 NKJV~

Thursday, September 29, 2011

A Young Scholar’s Guide to Composers

We recently received a review product that came just in time for us to use for music. Over the past month we have been studying about composers of different eras and we are really enjoying it.  Classical music happens to be one of the music types we enjoy from time to time.  We are studying about several famous using a curriculum from Bright Ideas Press called “A Young Scholar’s Guide to Composers”.  


Written by:  Melissa Craig and Maggie Hogan
Published by:  Bright Ideas Press
Format:  Paperback, 298
Price:  $34.95
Ages:  9-13
Grade Level:  4th-8th grades

The program includes:
  • 32 Weekly Lessons
  • 26 Bios of Famous Composers
  • 6 Eras of Music Explained
  • Easy-to-Use Comparative Timeline
  • Easy-to-Use Maps
  • Composer Info-Cards & Game Directions
  • Note-taking Pages
  • Quizzes
  • Answer Keys
  • Listening Suggestions
  • Intricate Coloring Pages
  • Resource Books

A Young Scholar’s Guide to Composers provides you with a full year’s worth of curriculum to do with your kids.  It is made up of 32 weekly lessons that covers 6 eras of music from the Ancient/Middle Ages to the Contemporary music era.  This study provides a close-up look at famous composers from the Baroque to the Contemporary eras, their music, and their times, their character traits and Christian testimony (or lack of it).  Each lesson has some reading that is 2-3 pages.   It usually takes around 15 minutes to read through.  There are note taking pages or review questions at the end of the lessons.  I let my son write his answers down as we read because it was easier for him this way.  Once we were done we would have a mini discussion and I’d see what he remembered from the lesson.

When you read about a composer there are composer cards in the back of the book that can be put together and filled out as well as coloring sheets, timelines, and maps to show where the person was born.  As you study each composer there are links to suggestions of where to listen to musical pieces they composed.  It is suggested you have the kids listen to the same selections 3 times a week to help them retain and remember who wrote it or what period it originally came from.  My son really loved this part.  When he would hear the music he would say “Hey I remember hearing that before.”.  It was so amazing to learn who composed different pieces of music we have heard on T.V. or in movies that dad was even excited to learn more. 

Although A Young Scholar’s Guide to Composers is said to be for grades 4th-8th it can be adapted to use with younger or older students.  You can have the little ones color the coloring sheets as you read and listen to the music selections or they can play some of the games that are suggested like composer BINGO with the composer cards.  The older ones can play composer Jeopardy, make a notebook filled with maps, timelines, pictures, drawings and any other useful info. or even write an essay.  We will soon be making a folder book that I will come back at a later time and add to this post.  So as you can see this is something that children in different age ranges can take part in.  Here are pictures of what’s inside this curriculum…

A good thing about this course is that there’s minimal teacher prep since the writers have done most of the work for you. You will find an answer key for the lessons, composer resource lists, links to helpful websites, and there’s even a certificate of completion to give your students when they have completed the whole course.  We’re not nearly finished with this study because we’re only halfway into it.  My son said so far his favorite composer is Bach.  He loves his music.  

I do plan to continue on with this study of composers since we had no other plans for music this school year. Because of Timberdoodle I am happy to have received "A Young Scholars Guide to Composers" to review.  You can find this and other homeschooling curriculum by visiting their website.  While you're there you can sign up to receive their free homeschool catalog.  You can also check them out on Facebook.

Update: 6/24/13
I stated before that I would come back at a later time with an update to this post with pictures of our finished notebook. We completed our study and learned a lot. I separated each section by era and stored the composer cards in the inside notebook pockets. Here is his finished notebook...

cross_rhodes's Composer Notebook album on Photobucket

Legal Disclosure:

As a member of Timberdoodle's Blogger Review Team I received a free copy of A Young Scholar's Guide to Composers {in CD (PDF) form} in exchange for my honest and unbiased review.

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