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Homeschool Music Appreciation Curriculum You’ll Actually Use


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When my kids were younger, I always envisioned a sweet little fine arts time each day. We’d have a tea time  (including the sweet, iced variety for me with more of the “it’s Kool-Aid, but let’s pretend it’s tea” variety for the kids). We would listen to classical music and study our chosen artist. We’d read biographies of artists and composers. We’d create our own masterpieces and my kids would learn about all the great masters.

It sounds lovely, doesn’t it? Of course, it never really happened that way – not on a consistent basis, anyway. Art and music have always been the first studies to fall by the wayside when life and school get busy.

Homeschool Music Appreciation Curriculum You'll Actually Use

Over the years, I’ve discovered that I’d much rather someone else hunt down the books, write out the lesson plans, come up with the hands-on activities and present it to me in a nice, neat package.

 

That’s why I was so excited to discover the brand-new music appreciation series from Zeezok Publishing. We’ve used some of the products in their Great Composer series before and were really impressed. (I just realized that Brianna was then the age that Josh is now.)  This time around was no exception.

This curriculum is perfect for moms like me who function better with grab-and-go curriculum. Everything you need is included. You don’t have to hunt down the music or hope you can find the books at the library.

Music Appreciation for Elementary and Middle School Students

Zeezok’s Music Appreciation course covers seven composers, spending four weeks on each. They sell the components individually or they offer a complete set. We got the complete set which includes seven biographies, a five-disc CD set that includes music from each of the composers, a student activity book, and a lapbook CD with activities for each composer. You and your kids will learn about:

  • Bach
  • Handel
  • Beethoven
  • Schubert
  • Mozart
  • Haydn
  • Paganini

The official title, Music Appreciation for the Elementary Grades, is something of a misnomer. While the student workbook is geared toward elementary students, both of my middle school students and I are enjoying the study. The biographies are engaging enough to appeal to a wide range of ages. I read them aloud so that we can enjoy them together, but most middle school students should be able to read the biographies independently.

music curriculum

My kids are not huge fans of lapbooks, however their opinion was improved based on the fact that these lapbook activities for are not a repeat of information that was already covered in the student workbook. Rather, they build on information the was covered or branch out into related topics, making the lapbook activities their own mini-lessons, rather than a simple cut-and-paste activity. We opted to add the lapbook activities to pages in the notebooks my kids keep for school, rather than create an actual lapbook.

While there aren’t lesson plans, per se, the suggested weekly activities are listed at the beginning of each unit and it’s been easy to plug them into my lesson plans in a way that fits our schedule. The student workbook is set up to spend 4 weeks on each composer. By stretching this out just a bit, it fits nicely into our six weeks on/one week off schedule.

homeschool music curriculum

The schedule is manageable enough to avoid falling by the wayside. Most weeks. It may or may not have taken us longer than six weeks to finish the first composer. Maybe I should quit stretching it out and just plan on leaving myself two weeks of flex time. {ahem}

A Composer Study for Middle School

To give you an idea of how Music Appreciation for the Elementary Grades might look in your homeschool, I’ll share some details from the first unit we completed: Bach.

We split the reading of the biography up so that we were reading about a chapter a week. Bach had such an interesting life. We found it fascinating that he decided, as a young boy, that he should go to this music school. So, he and a friend just packed up a few belongings and headed out. They walked over 200 miles to get to the school.

As an adult, Bach had several jobs as a court musician – he was the radio for royalty!

Each week, there are comprehension questions for that week’s reading. As a mom, I appreciate those questions. I like to see that the kids really are paying attention – and to be able to go over key facts if there was something they missed.

Each week the student workbook also contains a discussion of character qualities associated with the composer. For Bach, we talked about such qualities as humility, hospitality, and integrity.

My favorite part, as a trivia and history buff,  of the student workbooks was the “Tidbits of Interest” section each week. This went into more background detail about facts mentioned in the biographies. The activities for students offer great variety and had something of unit study flavor as they did not all have to do directly with music. Some of the activities in the Bach unit included:

A Well-Rounded Homeschool Music Appreciation Curriculum

In addition to comprehension questions, each unit includes a quiz at the end. Just like the comprehension questions, I like quizzes because they help me see what the kids learned and allow me to reiterate important details they may have missed.

As I said before, the biographies are engaging – truly enjoyable reading – and the music CD set contains all of the compositions referenced in the biographies. The biographies even contain the sheet music for the compositions, so, if you have a child who has had music lessons, he could try his hand at playing the music himself.

homeschool music appreciation

Music Appreciation for the Elementary Grades Book 1 is the first in what will be a two-year series that, according to the introduction is:

“…structured to be a thorough music appreciation program, with an introduction to music theory. It has been written to meet all of the national benchmarks required for music appreciation for kindergarten through sixth grade.”

The scope and sequence included will make it easy for homeschooling parents in highly regulated states to show that benchmarks are being met.

We’ve made a lot of attempts to include music appreciation in our homeschool over the years. Other than the 4 years that my younger kids took a recorder class and I got to eat Chick-fil-A for lunch once a week (on class day), this music appreciation curriculum from Zeezok Publishing is the most easily implemented, most engaging, and most likely to be completed that we’ve used. With everything you need to complete the course and all the legwork done for you, I can’t recommend it enough for moms like me who have difficulty not allowing fine arts to fall through the cracks.

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109 Comments

  1. I would love to win this giveaway! I am starting to Homeschool this next year for the first time and it looks very neat! I love music and so do my kids and this would be a great help! Love that there are things like this out there available!

  2. I have needed this curriculum! I tried to plan something out the past two years. Only for things to flop, couldn’t find the books at the library, couldn’t find the music I wanted when I needed it. Etc. I love that it is all together and I can grab it and go!

  3. We, too tend to let art and music fall by the wayside. A simple to use curriculum could be the answer for us! Thanks for the giveaway!

  4. We have not started music appreciation in our homeschool yet, mostly because I just don’t know how to start. This would be great for our home. Thanks!

  5. This looks wonderful! I have often tried (and failed) to add music to our curriculum, but having something that is straight forward it would be more likely to get done. I know my daughter would love Beethoven πŸ™‚

  6. I would LOVE this. I’ve been pretty consistent with composer study thanks to Classics for Kids and gathering appropriate resources. We’ve enjoyed reading the few Opal Wheeler books our library has, but what a time saver to have all in one place – with the music selections! Thank you!

  7. I am a musician teaching my children everything but music. I am definitely a grab and go type too and love the things you’ve said about this curriculum!

  8. I would love to do the one on Paganini! I don’t often see books on him and I especially love his “Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini.” I’m a “music person” but you are right — it is generally one of the first subjects to get tossed when we get busy.

  9. This would be a beautiful blessing as my 14 year old plays violin and in all the running involved getting her to lessons and ensemble practice we often lose out on listening and appreciating beautiful classical music and the musicians behind those works- oh thank you for this AWESOME giveaway!! πŸ™‚

  10. This would be so helpful because I am not musically inclined myself, so that has been sorely lacking in our homeschool……

  11. I would love to study Beethoven. Music appreciation curriculum are so difficult for me to put together, it would be amazing to have one that helps lays everything out!

  12. As a first year homeschooler, music appreciation is something I would love to include, but haven’t yet. πŸ™ I would love this!

  13. I have never even heard of this company ~ how exciting!!! We definitely are going to start integrating more composer study next year as we enter Year 1. We have done some this year but love the way this complete set looks!!! πŸ™‚

  14. I would most like to learn about Paganini because I have never heard of him! I need help with music appreciation because we aren’t taking any music lessons, and because I played violin for 5 years. It was so long ago that I played, that I have forgotten how to read music, and really, how to play! I need help getting started again! I love music of all kinds. My girls dance, and it would also be nice for them to be able to recognize pieces that they dance to.

  15. This would be wonderful. I love music and the possibility of studying it with my kids. But I haven’t managed to get it done yet!

  16. Thanks for this review! I hadn’t come across this curriculum yet and it sounds really great. I will definitely keep it in mind for next year.

  17. This sounds amazing! Win or no, my inner nerd will have to have this for my kiddos πŸ™‚ Thanks for sharing about it!

  18. This looks perfect for us! I have been looking for something that can work for my younger and older children. They are just starting to appreciate classical music and I would love to have something to encourage their interests. Thank you!

  19. I’d love to learn more about Handel with my kiddos. I have tried to incorporate this kind of study, but I have found it difficult to fit classical music curriculum and CD’s in my budget!

  20. As a vocal musician I am always looking for easy ways to introduce music in my home school. I am very excited to find this curriculum.

  21. This looks like a really great product! I think I would enjoy this as much (if not more) than my kids! I also need things that are “grab and go”…I don’t have the energy or the time to put something together on my own.

  22. This program sounds great! As a homeschooling newbie, I’m really not sure how to tackle music appreciation with my son. This looks like it could be the answer!

  23. Sounds like exactly what we need too! Music appreciation/composer studies have been nonexistent the last year of our homeschool bc we just haven’t found the right fit and/or made time to fit it in. I am so excited about this curriculum! I love that it integrates so much into the study of music too – science, character study, geography!!! THANK YOU FOR SHARING!!

  24. Adding music appreciation to our homeschool has so far been one of those, “That sounds like a great idea/I’d like to do that/We’ll add that when life is less crazy” type of things.

  25. What a wonderful giveaway!! Being the daughter of a deaf woman, I was never really introduced to a variety of music growing up. Now that I homeschool 2 boys with another child on the way, I would love to implement a hands-on music appreciation program. This sounds like a great addition to any curriculum. The winner would be blessed to have this!

  26. I am all about having someone putting a easy to follow music curriculum for me. It sounds really interesting and hands-on for the kids too. What a great giveaway. Thanks for the review.

  27. This looks so great! Thanks for the review. It does look like something do-able and I really need help with music and art.

  28. I am not musically inclined, but love listening to classical music – Mozart is probably my favorite. I have a hard time sticking with music in our homeschool. It would be nice to have something already planned out and prepared for me.

  29. Oh thank goodness! This review showed up just as I was beating myself up for going into the second half of the year with music appreciation untouched, AGAIN!!! This looks like something we would both enjoy. Thank you for the heads up!

  30. This music curriculum sounds amazing! I would love to share this with my two girls, ages 8 and 12. It sounds like a learning experience for me as well.

  31. I’, too, have always had grand ideas for fine arts. And I’m always disappointed in my follow through! This would be so very helpful!

  32. This looks really cool, I’ve been having a hard time finding a music program that would keep the kids interests. This seems like it would help them get more involved.

  33. I would love to win this! Art and music are neglected in our home also- and I hate that. I know my kids would love this and I would love that it is all prepared for me!

  34. I totally hear ya on the art and music lessons tending to fall by the wayside. We’ve started studying classical music and composer a few times already, but never really get off the ground with it. The Agents would LOVE this, especially my oldest who is kind of a workbook fan. (I know.)

  35. I had a great music appreciation class in college and I really fell in love with classical music. I would love to use this program with my kids because it is a subject for us that always gets put on the backburner.

  36. I really struggle with trying to teach anything related to music. Except for trying to learn piano from a book and my son practicing his trumpet, we don’t really do anything for music, which is sad and embarrassing! So we’d love to win this. πŸ™‚

  37. Looks like a fun curriculum. Somehow my good intentions about teaching music and art never seem to actually teach my kids the subject.

  38. Thank you for bringing this resource to our attention. My son is only 5 so we are just beginning our homeschool journey. And I too have found that music appreciation or composer study which I had hoped to tackle in a broad and easy manner has fallen by the wayside this past year as we’ve tried to figure out what works best for us. Now maybe it won’t!

  39. I would love to use this music appreciation curriculum. It looks fantabulous! I am most interested in studying Bach and Mozart first. This curriculum would save me so much time . . . time spent searching and combining resources to make a curriculum of my own. The only other curriculum we use is online, but it doesn’t get used as often as it should because it is online and not as convenient having to set-up the keyboard each time. It expires soon. My daughter’s online time is spent working on math and reading. I would love to have an interactive yet comprehensive music curriculum to use with her that includes music, lapbooking, reading, and comprehension while integrating other subjects into the lessons. It would truly be a blessing if we won this curriculum. Thank you for the opportunity to win it! My daughter loves music and I appreciate that the curriculum addressed a variety of learning styles from what I can tell from your thorough review.

  40. “Of course it never really happened that way.” Um, yeah, glad I’m not the only one. πŸ˜‰ I downloaded a music curriculum awhile ago… we’ve used it like, twice. I would love to try something new! Thanks for the recommendation. πŸ™‚

  41. I have sporadically done music appreciation through the years but have never been consistent. Something planned out for me might get it done! Thanks for the giveaway.

  42. We are doing pretty well with listening to the music and reading a biography, but I think what really sets this apart (and will help the information stick) are the lapbooks and other “unit study” type activities. Pulling things like that together are not my forte so having it done for me would be great!

  43. We’ve used the Zeezok biographies of composers in the past along with the CDs and really enjoyed them. My girls actually enjoy laptbooks so I’m seriously considering adding this to our curriculum. We’ve been trying to keep up with biographies and CDs from the library and downloads online but falling behind as I’m scrambling to find the materials as we’re heading out the door. This could help me organize at least one area of our school! πŸ™‚

  44. It would be great to study lives of these great people. My older children started piano lessons and it’s vital for them to look up to them and take in their music

  45. I would LOVE to win this!! Music and art do not make it into our days very often. Having a “grab and go” curriculum would make it easier.

  46. This will be our first year homeschooling and I would love to teach my kids about the history of music. This seems like a very engaging way to study all the famous composers and their work.

  47. Looking for curriculum for “homeschool” setting, but done at someone’s home. Two teachers teach 1-6, dividing 1-3 and 4-6. I teach piano and flute once a week at the homeschool. They have just asked me to teach music appreciation. Could I utilize the lesson plans and teach only once a week? I homeschooled our children through high school, so have experience as homeschool mom/teacher. Thanks for your input.

    1. I think that would be cramming an awful lot in just one day. It might work if you had the students read the biographies on their own during the week, then, planned some of the activities for your time together.

  48. These are great way to introduce music to kiddos . As a music lover I appreciate every bit of this article and music education is a high priority for our family.. I believe that music can lift the spirits and music is a powerful tool that helps children learn new thinking skills. Thanks for sharing this.

  49. Do you feel that a 13 year old , entering 8th grade, who loves art, music, and drama would like this? Is the woorkbook too easy for 8th or still ok? We looked at the books, CD ‘s and he was very interested.

  50. I was looking for something like this for my grandkids. This school term I thought I would try to supplement their virtual studies with music. The pandemic has turned schools upside down and leaving parents in a lurch. I want to help with their studies by teaching them Music Appreciation and giving them an outlet to get out of the house. My grands ages are, 9-13. Will this program be appropriate for them? Do I need supplies for each one?

    1. It’s been a while since we used it, but, if I recall correctly, each student will need his or her own student activity book. Everything else can be shared.

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