I received a copy of the materials and was compensated for my time. However, I was not required to write a positive review. All opinions are honest and my own.
“Who is Sebastian Bach?”
If you asked me that question 25 years ago, I most certainly would have answered, “Well, he is the lead singer of Skid Row, of course!!”
Seriously. I would have.
(You know, Skid Row, the popular rock band from the late 80’s/early 90’s….? 18 and Life? I Remember You?)
My knowledge of classical composers was sorely lacking and I graduated high school without much of any classical music knowledge at all.
I knew the names Bach, Beethoven and Mozart but honestly, that’s about the extent of it. And I do not remember learning about the classical composers, even in college.
Without much musical knowledge or background myself, it was a little intimidating to be faced with teaching my children music appreciation. And although one of my great joys is to plan learning units, that excitement fades a bit when I have absolutely no knowledge of something. Prior to a few months ago, teaching the kids music appreciation was barely on my radar. Music appreciation was on my list of “someday”.
Zeezok to the rescue
So when an amazing box of music appreciation materials arrived on my doorstep from Zeezok Publishing you can imagine how excited I was! We homeschoolers get excited about those boxes of books at our doorstep anyways, right? 😉 And as I paged through the biographies and the student activity book, I knew my job had just been made easier. Instant relief. Here, in front of me, was a top quality and complete music appreciation curriculum for my children and I wouldn’t have to try and come up with something on my own! Woot!
As I opened up the box I immediately took notice of the seven composer biographies, including Bach, Handel, Haydn, Mozart, Beethoven, Paganini and Schubert. Each approximately 125 pages in length with some pictures included, I had a feeling these would be good real alouds with the kids. Also in that lovely box was a student activity book, music CDs, and a CD-ROM with printables for lapbooks. Quite a package!
Since that splendid day a few months ago when that lovely box arrived, the children and I have worked through a couple of the composer studies. It’s geared for students in Kindergarten through Grade 6 and all three of my children are within that range so it has worked out well for us. Although, if you have children older or younger, I certainly think they could participate and learn something. Heck, I’m way outside the age range for the program and I’ve learned a lot and enjoyed it. 🙂
Components of the Zeezok Music Appreciation Program
- The Composer Biographies ~Turns out, I was right about the composer biographies being good read alouds. We have read two of them so far and the children have been engaged in each of the stories. I suspect they will enjoy the other five as well. Read alouds are one of the highlights of homeschooling for us and these seven books, each written about a different composer, are the highlight of this Music Appreciation program. They are perfect for elementary aged children because they tell the story of each composer in an interesting and easy to understand way. There are also pictures and short musical pieces included. My five-year-old girls are not completing any of the workbook or lapbook activities, other than participating in general discussion, yet they are learning so much about the composers, just by listening to the stories and musical pieces.
- The Musical Pieces ~ The children are thrilled whenever we get to
listen to a musical piece during the story. They enjoy getting to be the one to find the musical track on the CD and take turns controlling the player. It is so fun to hear their comments too. “Oh, this song is so pretty!”, “I like this!”, “Let’s play that one again!”. Their joy of listening to the pieces written by each composer is evident in their comments.
- The Student Workbook ~ If you are looking for a straightforward plan of what to complete with your student each of the 4 weeks of the composer study, than you will be pleased with this. Of course you don’t have to follow the schedule and can create your own, but I have found it to be very manageable. In addition to a schedule, the student workbook also includes lessons and activities across the curriculum each week. For us, I decided to give Kellan, our 8-year-old the activity book since Jenna and Alaina aren’t reading independently yet and wouldn’t be able to do a majority of the activities without a lot of assistance from me. Zeezok recommends that you purchase a separate workbook for each of your students so if I had included them in this portion, I would have ordered books for them as well. There are some activities from the student book that we all do together orally, such as the comprehension questions and discussing character qualities. There are others, such as the cut and paste activities and copywork, that only Kellan completes.
- The Lapbooks ~ With this package, you will receive a CD-ROM with printable lapbook pages and instructions for each of the composer studies. It is a good review of information from the story, as well as additional activities and games. There is a fair amount of cutting and pasting, as there is with most lapbooks, so if your student loves that sort of thing then this will be a hit and if not, then probably not so much. But even if you skip this portion, your student will receive a full learning experience.
Overall, Music Appreciation for the Elementary Grades is a great program that I highly recommend, especially if you are looking to add music appreciation to your homeschool. And if you are like me and don’t have a musical background (or even if you do), the Zeezok program is a great solution. It is manageable and straightforward which makes our lives as homeschool moms so much easier, right?
The retail price of Music Appreciation for the Elementary Grades is $207.62 but if you purchase the complete set it is discounted to $169.99. And I have some great news for you, friends! Zeezok Publishing is offering and additional 10% off the whole set through March 25th! Just enter the coupon code: ihomeschool16
Plus, they are giving away one complete set! All entries must be received by 12:00am on March 26th CST (end of the day on the 25th) so be sure to enter now!
(Note: If you purchase the set during the giveaway, and subsequently win it, you will receive a refund from Zeezok for the purchase price of the set. Also, this giveaway is open to US residents only.)