I promised it would be coming, and here it is today: a review of Zeezok Music Appreciation Book 1 for the Elementary Grades.
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Because the curriculum is so big and is meant to be used over a full year, we just barely scratched the surface.
I decided to skip to the last composer of the collection, Franz Schubert, since we had never studied him as a family before.
We started by reading the biography called Franz Schubert and His Merry Friends by Opal Wheeler and Sybil Deucher.
The books have lovely illustrations. It’s a very fun story to read aloud. The words aren’t too particularly difficult, so older elementary students should be able to read it themselves.
Interspersed within the book were listening examples that went along with the story of Franz Schubert as a child. (Yes, he composed music when he was a child!) I had loaded the CDs into iTunes, so it was easy to find the track that went along with each example. I also tried to play some of them myself, and my 10-year-old son found a couple of songs he wants to learn to play now. 🙂
I’m really excited to read the other biographies of the series as well.
I’m impressed with the quality of the recordings: very fine musicians played these musical examples. (I also enjoyed the explanations of different instruments of the orchestra which showed each instrument’s range and capabilities with actual orchestral examples to hear them played.)
After reading a chapter in the book, we looked at the activities for that section in the Activity Book. There were comprehension questions, explanations about geography and culture, and activities to complete.
See some examples below:
At the back of the Activity Book is an answer key.
Finally, my lapbook-loving daughter had a ball putting together the lapbook on Schubert. All the lapbooking pictures and pages to print out are included on a separate CD-Rom disc. (Today, in fact, she asked if she could start doing the Beethoven one even though we haven’t read the book about him yet!)
In this next picture, she is composing a piece of music, just like Schubert did.
And then she played her composition on the piano!
My Final Assessment:
I think the Zeezok Music Appreciation Book 1 for the Elementary Grades is of the finest quality. It has everything I would want to find in an elementary music appreciation curriculum–the biographies, the activities which so varied, the recordings, and the lapbook activities! I’m looking forward to Book 2 with a whole new set of composers which will come out next year!
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(Update: The giveaway has ended.)
(Disclosure: I received a set of Zeezok Music Appreciation Book 1 for the Elementary Grades in order to honesty review it here.)