We have started our new academic year in the middle of July. This year we have a couple of middle school age kids. We have prepared and planned for the new academic year a couple of months before it is started. One of new lessons we have this year is music studies.
Music studies are not the same with the instrument studies or practice. It is also different from the music theory or composer studies only. It is a combination between composer studies, music theory, and music appreciation. What we mean by music here is the western classical music. Although there are some eras of such kind of music, we have been used to call this as classical music.
We feel that this subject is very crucial for the emotional growth. The most impressing reason for us to learn about the classical music is about the dynamics, tempo, and the rich sound of various traditional western musical instruments. The components of classical music can train the ability to concentrate and control our emotion.
The ages when the classical musics were written were the time when Christian religion grew up. Therefore, the color or the style of classical musics have the strong breath of early Christian culture which sounds more peaceful and calmer than the modern pop or whatever musics. It doesn’t mean that we don’t like the modern musics. However, there is a time for us to withdraw ourselves from the loud world of music.
Learning about the classical musics cannot be separated from the music creator or the composer biography. As you know, the life background of the composers will influence the music they composed. Meanwhile, there are a lot of great messages that we can get by reading the composers life story or biography.
It also can be connected with the world history and geography. Studying a music piece cannot be separated from the composer life as it was mentioned previously. At the same time, we should be able to connect the place where the music piece was composed and the time or age when the music piece was composed. The study of when and where has a close relationship with both history and geography. We also integrate the discussion with how the environment influence the music piece.
Training the imagination and escape the real life problem for some times. This is a very unique feature of some music studies that I know. This year we use a music study curriculum SQUILT 1: Baroque Era (Super Quiet Uninterrupted Listening Time). In one of the learning sequences, learners need to draw or doodle their imagination while they are listening. This activity really makes my boys sit nicely and quietly when they draw their imagination. Once they have finished the activities, they can control themselves much better.
There are some choices for music studies curriculum that we had:
This is a music studies curriculum focused in the composers’ biography based on the music ages. This curriculum is aimed for grade 4-8 learners. It has more detail facts and more challenging activities. There are also some composers cards, note taking, and online files ready to use. We don’t need to pay more for songs. If there is not working link, some alternatives can be tried.
This curriculum is based on composers’ biography suggested from Getting to Know The World’s Greatest Composers series. I can say that this curriculum is perfectly used for PreK-Grade 3 learners. The listening materials are taken from Naxos.com
It is not a well arranged curriculum set, but this is a collection of composers, artist and fine arts resources collected for self arranged music studies. If you like to self arrange your lesson, it is a great resource to ease your time as the collection are from the best selection. Most links are well maintained. In addition, it is a one time purchase.
That is a list of free simple composer biography series that still need to be proceed to make a great unit of music studies. Once I used this materials to tell the story of composers’ life.
So far, we have been very happy with our music studies lessons and we really hope to be able to get the most out of them by enjoying each step by step. If you are interested in reading How we are going on with SQUILT, please visit our blog.