When we first started homeschooling, I was so overwhelmed, we just decided to stick to the main subjects. However, since then, I’ve worked hard to incorporate the fine arts into our children’s curriculum. This last semester at co-op, the girls and Bookworm had a watercolor art class as well as an art appreciation class. Bookworm also had a calligraphy class. So, while we were all set for art, we were still lacking in other fine arts until we had the opportunity to review Music Appreciation Book 1: for the Elementary Grades by Zeezok Publishing LLC.
About Zeezok Publishing LLC
Zeezok Publishing LLC is owned and operated by a homeschooling family who began a home-based homeschool business in 1993. Zeezok Publishing LLC was established in 2003. They currently sell a variety of educational materials including a great musicians series, a 12 week unit study on ancient China, and an American government course, to name just a few.
About Music Appreciation Book 1
This comprehensive set includes the following:
- Student Activity Book,
- Music Discs,
- and all seven composers’ biographies.
The composers studied are:
All of the composers’ books are about 120 to 170 pages long and soft cover. One book, Franz Schubert and his Merry Friends, is hardcover.
Our Experience Using Music Appreciation Book 1
We have three students at home who are in K, 1st, and 6th grade. The curriculum is designed for children from kindergarten to 6th grade, so we were able to use it all together.
The first composer we studied was Handel. I read aloud one chapter per week out of the book, Handel at the Court of Kings by Opal Wheeler. (There were four chapters in the 166 page Handel book.) This book was filled with illustrations and as well as music compositions. The story is compelling and kept my children interested throughout. The chapters ARE a bit long for young children, so sometimes we read one chapter over two different days.
Within the workbook, there is a weekly lesson outline, which we followed (except for the two weeks when PB & J Girl got so sick and was recovering). Having this lesson outline was a sanity saver for me; I just had to open up the workbook to see what we needed to cover.
The workbook contained informational pieces such as details about Halle, Germany then and now (Handel’s hometown) as well as details about Handel’s admirable character traits such as diligence, humility, and a sense of humor. There was also information about musical instruments, musical melody and harmony, geography, and many more. This is such a rich curriculum!!
Although we didn’t get to finish, we started our second composer, Ludwig Beethoven. The children were quite interested in seeing the difference between how Handel’s father handled Handel’s interest in music in contrast to how Beethoven’s father handled it. Indeed, Beethoven’s father nurtured his passion for music unlike Handel’s father who simply tolerated it.
What We Liked about Music Appreciation Book 1
All four of us LOVED this curriculum. In fact, it’s one of my favorites that I’ve reviewed thus far, and I’ve been reviewing homeschool curriculum since 2014!
Cuddle Bug (6) loved the books that told the story of each composer’s life. She loves to be read to, so this component of the program was best for her.
PB & J Girl (7.5) loved listening to the music on the CD. She loves to play the piano and sing, so the CD filled with the music of the famous musicians was inspiring to her. She typically danced around the room while the music played.
I loved that the curriculum addressed all of my children’s different learning styles and that the books went into much greater depth about the composers’ lives than most people know.
My kids were all caught up in the drama of Handel’s early life when he secretly played a spinnette in the dark in the attic because his father was adamant that he would not be a musician. Even when Handel’s talent was discovered and praised, his father still refused to allow him to be a musician.
But the workbook is also high quality and contains so many activities including a timeline of the composer’s life and historical events that happened around the same time! This curriculum is so much more than a musicians’ study (although it is great if you choose to use it as is). However, the curriculum touches on history, geography, character, culture, etc., that you could easily expand on the material presented.
How We Plan to Use Music Appreciation Book 1 Going Forward
Now that the review is done, we plan to continue using this wonderful curriculum. Since the girls are still at the pre-reader, early reader stage, I plan to just have them join us as we read aloud the books and the text in the workbook. Then, in a few years, maybe in 4th and 5th grade, we’ll revisit this curriculum and have them do the lapbook and workbook.
Even though Bookworm will be going into 7th grade this summer, this program has enough material to make it suitable for his age. I’m planning on using this program as his fine arts credit. I’m thinking we’ll do one cycle of Music Appreciation Book 1, then a cycle of art, then back to Music Appreciation Book 1.
There are also plans for a Music Appreciation Book 2 for middle school students; that will certainly be something we’re interested in pursuing when it is available.
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I was one of 60 reviewers to review various composers in this product. Please click on the link below to read more reviews.