Are you trying to add a fine arts element to your homeschool? Elementary and middle school students will enjoy the new Music Appreciation I set from Memoria Press, which chronologically covers 26 significant pieces of music, as well as covering music concepts from basic things like melody and rhythm to more complex concepts such as Impressionism and rubato.
Memoria Press Music Appreciation I Curriculum Contents and Structure
This Music Appreciation course is a new release from Memoria Press and includes a soft cover, 137 page book and a 2 disc set of audio CDs with demonstrative clips of the pieces mentioned in the book. There are 26 chapters in the book, studying different pieces in each one. The first chapter takes from part of Handel’s “Water Music” and the book goes all the way through to a piece that most will know right off of the bat: “The Star-Spangled Banner.”
The book is in standard black and white and does include some illustrations and reproductions of paintings as well.
As with the style of Memoria Press’s other books, you will see that each chapter follows the same format so you and your students will know what to expect with each lesson. We chose to cover one chapter per week, breaking it up as our schedule allowed.
For each lesson, the format is:
I. Listen to the piece. For a preview of what is included, the Memoria Press website provides the course’s complete playlist.
II. A Little History gives you background on the time period, the composer, and interesting facts pertaining to the music.
III. Musical Concept uses the piece to teach and demonstrate various musical concepts to teach students about the structure, timing, and types of music.
IV. About the Piece gives a lot more information about the piece itself, including tying in more musical concepts. This is where the Audio CD Companion comes in and your student will hear specific clips to be able to isolate and hear the concepts being taught from the music.
V. Music History tells a bit about what historically had led to this point in time prior to the piece being written, as well as how things began to change during the time period that the piece was released originally.
VI. Facts to Remember provides an outline of important tidbits that your student should be able to memorize and grasp from the lesson from each of the sections, including the composer’s name and more information on them, the musical concepts covered, and other information.
VII. Listen Again is perfect for after the lesson, because the students are able to listen reflectively now that they understand much more about the composer, the time period, and the musical concepts and history. This step is critical because it really helps them to put it all together!
The textbook contains all of the above-mentioned information for the 26 chapters at the beginning. Beginning on page 109, there is a Tests & Answer Key section. There are 7 review tests, each covering multiple chapters. The tests range from 8-13 questions each and include fill in the blank, matching, short answer, and multiple choice questions. The answer key for all 7 tests immediately follows the 7 blank tests in the book.
This curriculum is meant for students in graces 3-5, but I would say that it makes a great addition to any curriculum for students as young as 2nd grade and as old as middle school.
Our Family’s Thoughts
At first, I was a little bit confused on how to fit these lessons into our week. I suppose I was looking for a lesson plan of sorts, but once we started that first week, I saw how easy it was to simply do as many sections for the lesson as would fit into our day and move on. We tried to listen to the piece of the week at least 3 times so that they were exposed to the music many times.
We do not do a lot of formal testing in our homeschool, so when we finished the first 4 chapters, I simply went over the test questions casually with my kids without really calling it a test. We did this orally.
I used the book and CDs with my 2nd, 5th, and 7th graders together. They were all able to follow along well with learning more about the composers and the history surrounding the piece and the time period it was written in. They enjoyed listening to the music. The music concepts were a bit difficult for my children to understand at first because they have no prior knowledge to most of it. My daughter has dabbled in playing the keyboard, but that’s about it as far as formal experience with music. I had to review this information pretty much every time we opened the book so they would retain it better.
I loved the variety of the music included. I like that it is set up chronologically because that made SO much more sense to my children as we read about the history. This course covers a lot more information than I was expecting after reading their website description and glancing through the book at first. The text is concise and right to the point, but it is very meaty. I do hope that they come out with several more books so we can complete them as a series as my children get older!
The Homeschool Review Crew reviewed many different items, so do check the banner below to read more about other Memoria Press products, such as Traditional Spelling I, Prima Latina, Latina Christiana and more. Our family really enjoys the Classical approach to homeschooling and seem to sway that way more and more each year that we homeschool. I have been pleasantly surprised by everything we’ve used from them, including the Fifth Grade Literature Guide Set, Greek Myths Study, and the Famous Men of Rome Set.