When I first started homeschooling I had all these ideas of how and what I was going to teach my kids. Growing up going through the public school system I knew I wanted better and that included teaching my kids more about music than I was taught. However, as the days went on, the laundry piled up and the kids grew restless after our core subjects. Music kept getting put aside. Sure the kids have tackled instruments that they really wanted to play. For example my oldest loves the guitar and has played for years. However, I didn’t spend the time to teach them the history of music or how to appreciate different styles of music. Somehow I let this part slip through the cracks. That is where this review starts. I was able to review the new curriculum Music Appreciation 1 by Memoria Press.
Memoria Press did an awesome job with this curriculum! Already knowing that my kids attention spans aren’t very long given our ADHD, this program seemed to be built just for us. The lessons are short and sweet but teach so much. One thing my kids really, really appreciate about this curriculum is that there is little or no seat work for them to do. It is just time they get to spend with Mom learning by listening, either to me reading through the history or by listening to the music. Just this one thing alone got my kids excited for learning about music. It is a time where they can just relax during our busy school days. I love that because of how this curriculum is set up not only are my boys (4th and 6th grade) learning a lot, so am I. Because of how simple and easy to use this program is, and how highly my younger kids have talked about it, my oldest son (17) wants to check it out too, even after a full day of high school classes. I can see this program being used with younger kids too, although Memoria Press recommends this being used for kids in 3rd through 5th grades. Really I can see it fitting most ages, especially if your kids have not had much or any music history or introduction to classical music.
How it Works
So now that I have given it all this praise I’m sure you are wondering how this program is set up and if it might be a good fit for your family. Each chapter or lesson is set up in 6 to 7 sections.
- Listen to the music being present for this chapter(lesson) – There is a music playlist on their website to all the videos for this section of the lessons. I was able to pull it up on my phone and stream it through our Roku on our family TV. That way all of us could watch and listen at the same time.
- Read about the history of that composer – Usually a few paragraphs to a little over one page long.
- Learn a musical concept – This is done by teaching a concept then having them listen to it using the included cd music clips. These clips are super short but really help to “show” the kids what the concept is they are talking about.
- Learn about the piece of music – Dives into the why each piece was written and any other details that will help the kids learn about this style of music.
- Learn some music history terms (not in all lessons)
- Review some facts learned during the lesson – This is just a quick list of the any facts they feel are important to remember. For us this gave us some time to reflect on what we learned, have some good discussion and answer any questions they might have.
- Listen to the music piece again but this time trying to pick out the musical concepts you learned in this lesson.
Each of these sections are short and sweet but cover so much information. Because of this you can use this one day per week covering the whole chapter(lesson) or you can cover 1-2 sections of the chapter per day having music being a part of every school day.
If you are looking for something more to add to this program, maybe to prove you have covered music/art for your state’s homeschool laws, they have you covered too. At the back of the book are review tests. Each test covers 4 chapters and is between 10-13 questions long. There are multiple choice questions, matching, short answer questions and fill in the blanks. There is one section of the review tests that stays the same for each test and that is the listening section. You as the teacher will play a short section of one of the music pieces learned during that test’s 4 chapters. The kids then mark which music piece it is. This gives them the opportunity to test themselves on how well they remember not just the facts but the music itself. However, I should mention that there is a copyright that states you can not copy any part of the book without written permission from the publisher. So that means each kiddo who you want to take the tests will need their own book. To avoid this we are just going over the questions orally together as a sort of review section. My suggestion if you really want your kiddos taking the written test would be to staple the answer keys to the back cover as they start on the backside of one of the tests. That way your kids don’t even have the temptation of looking at the answers but still get the benefit of a written test.
Given how well this Classical Christian Curriculum has worked for our ADHD family, I highly recommend this program for all homeschooling families, ADHD or not. Interested in what other homeschoolers have to say about this curriculum? Interested in other Memoria Press products like their Latin program, Latina Christiana, meant for this same age range? Click the picture below to be brought to more reviews.