Edward MacDowell and His Cabin in the Pines
I love how this program lays everything out to equip anyone to introduce children to the classical music genre and its composers. The core or "text" for this series is made up of seven biographical books from the Great Musicians Series from Zeezok Publishing (sold separately), including: Franz Schubert and His Merry Friends, Joseph Haydn: The Merry Little Peasant, Handel: At the Court of Kings, Ludwig Beethoven & the Chiming Tower Bells, Mozart: Wonder Boy, Paganini, Master of Strings, and Sebastian Bach: Boy from Thuringia. Keep in mind you will also need those to use these books. The non-reproducible student (activity) book includes a scope & sequence, notes to teachers, track list to the music discs, weekly lesson outline and the actual consumable pages for your students. As you focus on a composer, the program discusses more than music such as character qualities and the lives of the artists even as children. Learn about the times and places they are from, learning a bit of geography. Sometimes you will have a recipe such as German rye bread, or a science experiment like oxidizing a penny, all related to a composer! Writing assignments for younger and older students include "Glory to God copywork." Music lessons cover the period of the style such as Baroque. Lessons are varied and interesting: timelines, games, quizzes, comprehension questions, maps and more! Most of these activities can be adapted to meet several ages kinder through 6th grades. Book 1 covers Bach, Handel, Haydn, Mozart, Beethoven, Paganini and Schubert. Each composer is allotted 4 weeks. Children will be introduced to music theory using multiple songs by each composer. USB Flash drives for music tracks have all of the music included in the books (exactly as written), an additional 35 professionally-recorded pieces, plus an explanation/demonstration of each of the instruments in the orchestra from Benjamin Britten's Young Person's Guide to the Orchestra. Lapbook flash drives include templates for you to print and make 7 lapbooks, one for each composer. Kids will enjoy the assembly of these projects that reinforce the musical concepts, character traits, world geography and biographical information on the composers lives. The program says this is a required component, but if your kids are not into arts/crafts, I think it could be considered optional. I really like the Coloring Book. This would be a good thing to use if you have younger kids and older students using this program at the same time. Some of the biographical material will be over the heads of little guys, so while older kids are working on that, the littles could use the coloring pages and ask questions about the scenes. It is very well done and your older kids who love to draw and color will enjoy this too. The pages are stapled, rather than bound, which makes them easy to separate. Each student would need their own set of pages since they are not reproducible.
Music Appreciation Book 2 for the Middle Grades (6-8) has a few format differences from level 1. The main component, the large student activity book (not reproducible, 3 hole punched, 315pp bound) is still the source of most of the content. Inside you have the QR codes (those little black squares you snap with your phone) with additional topical information, but this is now also the source of the music samples. There are no physical music CDs for level 2. Each composer has been allotted 4 weeks, but you have some flexibility with this. Includes: Chopin, Schumann, Wagner, Foster, Brahms, Tchaikovsky and MacDowell. The Lapbook (not reproducible, 54pp stapled) is made up of colorful printed pages. You print, cut and assemble the pages into your own lapbook. If you have not made a lapbook before, it is an activity for your student to complete. You make mini-books and glue them into 2 manila folders you format, easily separated for use. The Coloring Book comes in a stapled format. The 80 illustrations coordinate with the lessons in the student activity book. ~ Sara