Memoria Press is one of my favorite companies to review for. When I saw them on our vendor list and went to research the products they were offering, it was very hard to decide which product would be my first choice, they all looked so good! Since my daughter Lily started taking piano lessons this year I thought she would enjoy reviewing Memoria Press's brand new Music Appreciation I.
Memoria Press is a family run company that publishes Classical Christian materials in a variety of subjects for homeschools and private schools. Memoria Press curriculum is easy to teach and requires no previous knowledge of the subject being taught, but have high Academic Standards. We have used several different products from Memoria Press and have been very impressed with all of them.
Music Appreciation I was designed to be used with children grades 3-5, but it could also be used with older students as well. In this course students will learn musical concepts such as rhythm, form, pitch, and more while listening to famous pieces of Western classical music. They will also learn facts about the composers, and the history of music as the course goes mostly chronologically through time. This course will give students a greater understanding and appreciation of classical music.
Music Appreciation I ($23.90) includes a 137 page paper book that contains the readings for all of the 26 lessons. It also has the review tests with the answer keys and the music for the examples on the CD so you can follow along or musicians can play along The course also includes 2 companion audio CDs that students listen to throughout the lessons to be able to hear the concepts that are being discussed. On the Memoria Press website, there is a link to all of the songs you will need to listen to on either YouTube or Spotify.
Each of the lessons follow a similar format. The first step is to listen to the piece of music via the Youtube or Spotify link. There is a chart that tells where to stop and start. Next you read the section in the book titled A Little History which gives information about things such as the composer, music at the time period, instruments etc..The third part is called Musical Concept. There the musical concepts are defined and you listen to examples of the concept on the accompanying CD. The next section is titled About the Piece and gives information on the piece being studied and you listen to a short portion of the piece on the CD. Some of the chapters have another section titled Music History and then there is a summary of Facts to Remember about the chapter. The last step is to listen to the music again.
After every 4 chapters there is a Review Test that contains fill in the blank, matching, multiple choice, and answering questions. Students also listen and identify portions of the pieces they have studied.
I have been using Music Appreciation I with my 3rd grade daughter. My 5th and 6th graders have been listening in as well. Some people may find it easier to break up the lesson over the course of a week, but for us it has been easier to complete an entire lesson in one day. I have been reading aloud the sections from the book, but it can easily be used independently by 3rd grade and up as long as the younger students are strong readers.
We have been using this course for around 6 weeks and have already learned many things that we didn't know such as the piano was first called the arpicembalo, and then pianoforte (soft/loud) before it was shortened to piano. I think the course does a great job presenting the information without making it seem overwhelming. We have enjoyed listening to the music and learning about the concepts of form, melody, solo, tutti, and more. We like reading and learning about the composers backgrounds. There have been several instances when after completing a lesson we have heard the music being played and Lily has recognized it. Last week after we finished the chapter on Beethoven and Fur Elise, Fur Elise was on the play list for Lily's ballet class and she recognized it right away.
The only thing that has been challenging for us is that the track numbers in the book for the CD do not match up with what shows up on our TV when we play the music through the Playstation. The tracks in the book are labeled 3.1, 3.2, 3.3, etc.. but when they show up for us on the CD it is just 1,2,3, so they do not match what is listed in the book. I had to renumber the tracks in the book so we would remember what to play for each lesson.
Members of The Crew reviewed a variety of products from Memoria Press including their brand new Traditional Spelling I and II, and Prima Latina, Latin Christiana, First, Second, Third, and 4th Form Latin + Henle I To see what my Crew Mates had to say, stop by the Crew Blog!