If you are not intentional, studying music of any kind (ex: instrument, history or theory) may never make its way into your school. Sometimes, fine arts study completely gets no respect. I grew up studying and learning about music through playing instrument; clarinet, flute and piano. It is interesting that so many people who say they don’t like classical music don’t realize they hear so much of it (and like it) in advertisement (ex: commercials) and other forms.
Zeezok publishing has history that goes all the way back more than 20 years. The company was started by a homeschool family that continues to serve the homeschool community by providing educational material in music appreciation, government, economics, history, reading and literature, Z-Guides to the Movies and more.
We received the Music Appreciation: Book 2 for the Middle Grades.
The collection includes nine books. We received a digital copy of Peter Tchaikovsky and the Nutcracker Ballet and physical copies of the following:
Frederic Chopin, Early Years
Frederic Chopin, Later Years
Robert Schumann and Mascot Ziff
Adventures of Richard Wagner
Stephen Foster and His Little Dog Tray
The Young Brahms
The Story of Peter Tchaikovsky
Edward MacDowell and His Cabin in the Pines
All of the books are autobiographies of the composers covered in Book 2. They introduce the student to the artist as a child. Some carry the story through composers life to their death and others stop short with their story. Along with their biography, excerpts of some of the more notable songs by that composer are included in each book. You may not know Richard Wagner by name, but if you have ever attended a wedding, you are definitely familiar with his song, the “Wedding March”. And, Peter Tchaikovsky, who doesn’t know “The Nutcracker”.
The books are glossy finished and include black and white illustrations. Although The Young Brahms is the only hardcover book, the others have sturdy paper covers and will well survive constant handling from engaged readers.
The music appreciation study not only includes biographies about the composers, but a variety of activities that reinforce the information you learn about them. Music Appreciation Book 2: for the Middle Grades is a 28-week study. The study has a detailed scope and sequence at the beginning of the book, and something I love, a weekly outline for each composer. I was able to easily add the lessons to our weekly lesson plan, because everything was already plotted for me.
We not only learn about the composers, but also about the country where they were born, interesting tidbits and interesting facts about non-music things (ex; about popcorn). Recipes that reflect the culture of the different composers are include in the student book.
Students are also introduced to music theory that includes musical rests, reading comprehension questions and more. Students see how music appreciation relates to other subjects.
A cool feature in the study is its QR code for the songs that are covered in the book. If you have an electronic device that can read a QR code, you can easily access any of the songs that are presented. Also, included are App Alerts throughout the student book that will lead you to more information to enhance the study.
With the addition of that advance technology, I was surprised to see the images that are in the Stephen Foster book.
All of the books, except for one, are written by author Opal Wheeler. Most of the original copywrite dates are from the 1940s, so I guess I should not have been too surprised to see images like these.
Stephen Foster composed during the Minstrel period, but . . .
I see no difference between the black people in the minstrel shows and the “real” black people.
There are defined features for all other races of people. This does not make it a bad study, just a note to be aware of when considering purchasing. Maybe including biographies about the composers from other authors that have more complimentary illustrations of all characters (ex: defined facial features, looking like people) may make this study more appealing to more families.
PRICE AND AVAILABILITY
The Music Appreciation Book 2: for the Middle Grades is available for $166.99.
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