Friday, September 9, 2011

A Young Scholar’s Guide to Composers ~ A Review

A Young Scholar’s Guide to Composers is Bright Ideas Press’ answer to the question “is there an easy-to-use resource that can be used to teach my 4th to 8th grader about composers?”.

Maggie Hogan and Melissa Craig of Bright Ideas Press have put together this 32-week course that can be used to give 4th to 8th graders a full year of composer studies.

A Young Scholar’s Guide to Composers

a young scholar's guide

The chapters in this 300+ page guide include:

  • Ancient Music to Music in the Middle Ages
  • Music in the Renaissance
  • The Baroque Period
  • The Classical Period
  • The Romantic Period
  • The Contemporary Period

Your 4th to 8th graders will be introduced to 26 different composers including Vivaldi, Bach, Mozart, Beethoven, Mendelssohn, Chopin, Schumann, Liszt, Ives, Gershwin and many others.

The authors of A Young Scholar’s Guide to Composers want this music appreciation course to be as “stress-free as possible”.  In order to help this happen, they have included the following recommended schedule in this guide:

Day One

  • Listen to the recommended selections {music selection recommendations for each composer are listed in the appendix}
  • Read the lesson {lesson texts run about 12oo words and take approximately 15 minutes to read aloud}
  • Fill in the note-taking pages or answer the Student Review Questions {both are included in the guide}

Day Two

  • Listen to the recommended selections again
  • Fill in the Composer Info-Card {included in the guide}
  • Color in the timeline {included in the guide}
  • Match the composer to his place of birth {map directions are in the guide}

Day Three

  • Listen to the recommended selections again

As you can see from the authors’ recommended schedule, they feel that listening music of a particular period, and/or by a particular composer is at the heart of any good and effective composer study…and I wholeheartedly agree Smile.

My Thoughts

This is a very well-thought out composer study curriculum.

IMG_1524The lesson text provided for each composer gives a very succinct summary of the life and accomplishments of that particular composer. It is a perfect introduction to a study on each individual composer.  Please note that the authors took care to include only information about the composers that they felt was appropriate for the intended age group of this study {4th to 8th grade}.  They intentionally left out information that dealt with immoral behaviors, etc. that you are sure to come across when reading about some of the composers in this study.

Following each lesson is a set of note-taking pages and/or student review questions.  These worksheets can be filled in by the student or completed orally; we chose to do them orally since my kiddos are younger.

Templates for the Composer Info Cards and the timeline are included in the appendix, along with listening suggestions for each time period and composer, a coloring page for each composer, printables for games and more.

IMG_1529 IMG_1523


It seems that Bright Ideas Press thought of everything when they published this curriculum! 

My favorite part of this curriculum is it’s “tweakability” {I think I just made that word up, but it fits Winking smile}.  My plan is to use this course as a basic jumping off point for a multiple year study of composers.  The resources provided in the appendix are invaluable, in my opinion.  The coloring pages and game printables will go a long way in helping me make composer study interesting and fun for my younger kiddos. 

More Information

You can learn more about this outstanding music appreciation curriculum at both the Bright Ideas website and at Timberdoodle’s website

A Young Scholar’s Guide to Composers can be purchased from Timberdoodle for $31.50.

Timberdoodle also has a number of other resources that can be used to teach music in your homeschool.  If you don’t have one already, be sure to request a copy of Timberdoodle’s free catalog…it is chock-full of excellent homeschool resources.

As a member of Timberdoodle's Blogger Review Team I received a free copy of the e-book version of this resource in exchange for a frank and unbiased review.



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