I got into listening to classical music in my tween years. My mom went and bought some classical cassette tapes (remember those?) and played them for weeks on end.
While I grew to love classical music, I never really got to know much about the composers themselves. Which is why I was so excited to have the opportunity to review the Music Appreciation for the Elementary Grades program from Zeezok!
Not only do you get to hear classical music, you and your kids get to learn about the lives and experiences of the masters, which greatly influenced their work. Take a look at how the program makes music education a snap and how we used it to complete a Mozart composer study!
Disclosure: I received this product for free and I was compensated for my time. All opinions are my own and I was not required to post a positive review.
How Zeezok Makes Composer Study Simple
Teaching classical music can seem rather complicated, especially if you’re new to homeschooling or if your kids don’t really love history. But Zeezok’s Music Appreciation for the Elementary Grades really makes it simple.
Here’s how the program can handle some of the common objections homeschooling parents might make:
- It’s too hard to plan my own lessons. Lesson planning is a serious time investment for homeschoolers. But Zeezok’s program already has the lessons planned out for you! There are weekly reading assignments, projects, and worksheets ready to go!
- I don’t know enough about classical composers. As I mentioned above, I didn’t either. But the books and workbooks are so thoroughly written, I ended up learning about these composers right along with the kids!
- I can’t get my kids to enjoy listening to classical music. When you mention “classical music” to your kids, you might not get the most excited response. Let’s face it: Kids are more likely to listen to Bieber than Bach. But the Zeezok Music Appreciation for the Elementary Grades program gets kids involved in learning about the composers, which makes them more interested in hearing the music they wrote.
As you can see, the Zeezok Book 1 Collection includes composer studies for seven musicians: Beethoven, Paganini, Schubert, Bach, Mozart, Handel, and Haydn. Each composer has a chapter book with lovely illustrations and a set of weekly lesson plans in the workbook.
There is also a lapbook CD, which has lapbook printables for each composer, and a multi-disc music collection featuring works by all seven composers. It’s an amazingly complete curriculum.
Mozart Composer Study for Kids
For our first composer study, I decided to go with Mozart. Since he started composing at such a young age (five years old!), I thought he would be more relatable, especially for my boys.
The Mozart book is entitled “Mozart, the Wonder Boy” and it’s a lovely, well-written chapter book about Mozart’s childhood, career, and early death. It’s written in a very kid-friendly tone, but it doesn’t mince words about Mozart’s problems, including his financial issues and his sickness.
We used it as a read-aloud and the kids really enjoyed it. As we read each chapter, we’d turn to the corresponding section in the Music Appreciation Book 1 workbook and complete the activities.
Mozart played several instruments and the Music Appreciation Workbook lists them all. Some of them like the clavier and the clavichord are no longer in common use, but some of the other instruments are.
To hear these instruments, we visited the Dallas Symphony Orchestra Kids website and listened to the sounds of the harpischord, organ, piano, and violin. The organ was the favorite by a long shot. 🙂
Towards the latter part of his career, Mozart branched out into writing operas, including “The Marriage of Figaro”. Since my kids knew almost nothing about operas, we read the section about the story in the Music Appreciation Workbook.
Then we watched this Opera in Brief video to try to understand what happened in the plot.
It was neat for the kids to learn that opera is not always serious. It can be funny! Plus, it’s impressive to realize that composers can write what is basically a sitcom, except set to music and sung live in Italian. That takes talent.
We love using lapbooks and I was really enthralled with the Mozart lapbook, which is included in the Lapbook CD. You just print the pages and follow the directions.
One of the first activities in the lapbook is a geography minibook that lists countries and cities that Mozart visited. The country minibook is good for younger kids, while the city minibook suits older children. Since our boys were making the lapbook along with Tigger, we printed both geography minibooks and let them complete both separately.
As the boys found each country on our giant wall map, they ran back and drew a line from the name to the place on the map. Tigger did the same with the city minibook.
Mozart was born in Salzburg, Austria, so we decided to learn more about the town and its history. This Rick Steves clip was super helpful.
Can I just run away and live there now? So, so beautiful. My boys weren’t that enthralled with the scenery, but they really liked the funicular railway. To each his own, right?
Now that we had a better understanding of Mozart’s early life, we started working on the timeline in the Mozart lapbook. Tigger sorted out the life events and glued them in the correct spot in the minibook.
It was so tragic to learn that Mozart only lived to be 35. It’s astounding to think of how much music he produced in such a short period of time.
And our lapbook is complete!
If you think this was extensive, let me just add that this only shows a few of the activities for the Mozart unit. Plus, there are units for SIX other composers! Zeezok’s Music Appreciation for the Elementary Grades is truly a comprehensive music curriculum. We’re looking forward to using the rest of the program through the rest of this school year!
Stock your homeschooling library with the Book 1 Collection from the Zeezok online shop!
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