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Our Family

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Schoolhouse Crew Review: Zeezok Publishing LLC

Music Appreciation for the Elementary Grades {Zeezok Publishing LLC Review}
For a long time I have wanted to add a composer or music appreciation study to our homeschool.  But I had not been able to find what I was looking for nor did I have the time to try to put something together.  I was so excited to have an  opportunity to review Music Appreciation Book 1: for the Elementary Grades  from Zeezok Publishing LLC.  We began our study with Handel.
Music Appreciation for the Elementary Grades {Zeezok Publishing LLC Review}
Music Appreciation Book 1: for the Elementary Grades ($169.99) has several components:

7 Composer Biographies (Mozart, Beethoven, Haydn, Handel, Bach, Schubert, Paganini)  Each of the biographies gives interesting detailed information about the composers starting with their childhood and following them to adulthood. The biographies are illustrated and also contain sheet music for several of the compositions.

Student Activity Book-This book is 353 pages.  In it you will find a wide variety of activities such as: comprehension questions, geography lessons, history lessons, recipes, instrument studies, music vocabulary, character trait studies, interesting facts, timelines, and much more.  The pages are in color and an answer key is included. 

Music CDs- 5 Music CDs containing a variety of works from the 7 different composers.  All of the music that is included in the books are on the CDs plus additional pieces.

Lapbook CD-  This CD has templates to create a lapbook for each of the 7 composers and pages showing how to arrange each composer lapbook.

There is also a coloring book  ($5.99) that does not come with the set but complements the program. I went ahead and purchased this for the girls to color while I was reading.  It has two coloring pages for each chapter in the books for a total of 60 pages to color. 

Each of the units stand alone so you can work on the composers in any order.  If you follow the suggested pace it will take you around 4 weeks to finish each composer.  As I mentioned above, we started with Handel and followed the recommended pace.  I have been using this curriculum with my 5,7,9 and 10 year olds.

The weekly outline tells you what to complete each week.  

We do school four days a week and broke up the lessons over the course of our school week.

On Mondays I read the biography aloud and the children  answered the comprehension questions.

On Tuesdays we listened to the music tracks, read the character qualities and tidbits of interest sections.

On Wednesdays we completed 2-3 lapbook or workbook activities.

On Thursdays we completed the remainder of the lapbook and workbook activities.

While I was reading from the biography, the girls colored in the coloring books.  The chapters are a bit lengthy and it was wonderful for them to have something to do while I was reading.

I cannot tell you how much we have loved Music Appreciation Book 1: for the Elementary Grades! The biographies that come with the curriculum are so interesting!  They tell wonderful stories about the people, places, and events that influenced each of the composers starting with their early childhood.  Did you know that Handel was supposed to be a lawyer?  I didn't. Amazing to think what the world would have missed out on!  We loved the illustrations in the book and I love that the sheet music is included as well for those students that can play an instrument.  Each of the pieces in the book is included on the music CDs and we very much enjoyed hearing them being played.  The children liked the Harmonious Blacksmith they said it made them think about what a blacksmith shop sounded really sounded like.

I am so impressed with the activity book.  It was even better then I expected! It is full of a wide variety of activities that will suit a wide range of learners.  The pages are in full color with interesting graphics and illustrations.  The activities are not just "busy work" but have meaning.  Some of the activities are workbook type but many of them are hands on.  The book is full of additional information.  My boys loved the story of Handel and Johann Mattheson and the duel. I really liked the geography questions and the contrasting music styles activity. 

The lapbook CD has templates and instructions to make a 2 folder lapbook for each composer.  The graphics on the CD are in color.  My printer only prints black and white so the pages do not look as good as they did on my computer screen.  For our Handel lapbook we made a mini book on salt, present day Halle, Water Music, The Electors of Germany, Whom did Handel duel?, Venezia, The Harmonious Blacksmith, and Handel's Messiah.  We also put in pages on what a mass, cantata, motet, symphony, and concerto is.  The lapbook parts were easy to cut out and assemble.  There are photos of each completed lapbook on the CD so you can be sure you are putting things in the correct place.

Folder 1

Folder 2

After we finished up our study of Handel, we started working on Joseph Haydn.  Once we finish our activities on Haydn we will set aside our study until our next school year begins in August.  It has been a big hit in our house!

The age range on this curriculum was K-6th.  Younger children can participate in some of it , but many of the activities in the activity book are more appropriate for probably grades 3 and up. According to the website, Zeezok Publishing LLC is working on the second book in this series. It will be for grades 5-8 and will cover the other 7 composers in the Great Musician Series and will be coming out some time in 2017.  I would love to see a high school level course as well.  It would make a great elective!

To see what my Crew Mates had to say, stop by the Crew Blog.
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