For the last several weeks we’ve been learning all about Frederick Chopin using Music Appreciation Book 2: for the Middle Grades from Zeezok Publishing. This program will introduce students to seven of the world’s greatest composers through music, stories, and interesting tidbits about each composers life.
I have made it no secret that my music knowledge and skills is severely lacking, so I was really excited to try out this music appreciation program, knowing that I will learn just as much as the kids. Unpacking the box was like Christmas. The books just kept on coming. The entire Music Appreciation Book 2 set comes with the following:
The program includes one student book which contains a wide variety of activities and topics ranging from American and world history, grammar, geography, music studies, character trait studies and more. If you are a family that enjoys unit studies, this would be such a great program to do this with- it even includes recipes from each country that is mentioned.
It also includes 9 biographies written by Opal Wheeler that introduces students to seven different composers. Each of these stories delve readers into an engaging account of the composers life with great illustrations included.
One of my my favorite aspects of the program is the QR codes, which allow for students to quickly access all music, interactive quizzes, and other website links. I will mention that although I loved having quick access to the music, it was a bit of a challenge because we don’t allow internet on our children’s devices, so the only way they could use the QR codes were if they used my phone. – but eh, a minor inconvenience.
Composers included in Music Appreciation for Middle Grades:
- Frederic Chopin
- Robert Schumann
- Richard Wagner
- Stephen Foster
- Johannes Brahms
- Peter Tchaikovsky
- Edwards MacDowell
The Student Workbook:
The workbook is a big part of the program, and where we spent the most of our time. There is so much information here! There are weekly lesson plans to follow for each composer followed by activity pages filled with comprehension questions, character qualities, fun tidbits, vocabulary words to learn, family history, music theory, composer quizzes and short fun activities for students to complete.
This program is great for students that are multi-sensory. You can read, listen, write and do with this program. The workbook is bright and colorful with engaging pictures.
The program covers each composer in 4 weeks. This gives you time to read the biography, work through the workbook and do any of the activities. A separate lapbook is available for purchase on Zeezok’s website, that would be perfect for younger students to work along with older students through this program.
While the book has the composers lined up in a particular order, there is no need to follow that order. You can choose to learn about whatever composer you are interested in without causing confusion or getting behind.
The workbook is perforated and hole punched, in case you want to write on the pages more easily. I like that we could take the quizzes out and place them in in a separate notebook for record keeping.
What we liked about the program:
I loved the workbook. Honestly I thought is was very well produced. It had so much information in it and it kept us all interested as we read the tidbits and answered the questions throughout. I learned a lot and I know my children did too. The QR codes were also my favorite! I appreciated that the information was right there and we didn’t have to go searching for it on the website.
What we didn’t like:
While I personally loved having the biographies (I’m a history nut) My children thought the reading was long.
I also don’t love that the workbooks are meant for just one student, they are not reproducible. For homeschooling families, this is often an issue. My 11 year old did most of the work, but we worked around only having one copy by doing many of the questions out loud together.
There are not a ton of reviews that I have done, where I feel that it’s worth our time to continue with the material after the review period is up, but this one is definitely one that I feel added value to our homeschool time and we will continue to work through the rest of our school year. I’m even looking into what other curriculum Zeezok publishing has, because I am so impressed with the quality of these materials.
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