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What do you use in your homeschool to teach music appreciation?
Are you a trained musician, who finds it simple to teach about musical eras, composers, and styles? (I am not, by the way!)
I have to admit that I love music. And, that I spent years in choir, both at school and at church.
But I have never felt that I was particularly equipped to teach about music. So you can imagine how happy I was to review 21 Lessons in 20th Century American Music Appreciation! I received a free copy of this wonderful curriculum from Gena Mayo to review. What a lovely experience it has been!
Gena has solved my difficulty in teaching about music completely….and has created a music appreciation curriculum that is both a joy and a delight to use! 21 Lessons in 20th Century American Music Appreciation is a beautiful tool for homeschoolers (or even music or homeschool coop teachers) everywhere who’d like to add a course on the musical fine arts to their learning times with children. It’s designed to be used for students all the way from K-12.
What is 21 Lessons in 20th Century American Music Appreciation?
21 Lessons in 20th Century American Music Appreciation is a fascinating, user-friendly curriculum which covers American music in the twentieth century. In each of the 21 chapters, Gena introduces students to a particular composer or music style. She tells us a little about the composer (or the musical style), and what was happening in America during his time. And then, the most exciting part; Gena has linked to YouTube performances of the composers’ famous works….and podcasts about them as well! (Gena does recommend that parents always check the YouTube and Internet links before playing them for children; as we all know, links can change without notice.) She also includes snippets of what was going on historically in America, so that students can understand how musical themes and history influenced each other.
Here is just a short list of the wonderful composers and works you’ll be studying with 21 Lessons in 20th Century American Music Appreciation:
- Scott Joplin and Fats Waller
- The Blues
- Folk Opera and Classical Opera
- Big Band
- Aaron Copland
- Musical Theater
- and so much more!
How we used 21 Lessons in 20th Century American Music Appreciation:
21 Lessons in 20th Century American Music Appreciation is arranged chronologically, so that you start at the end of the 19th century and move chapter by chapter to post-1965 musical theater. And Gena really has made this curriculum so simple and easy to use. I printed a copy of the curriculum for myself, to keep in a folder so that I could see at a glance what we’d be covering in a given week. But this was really just a reference tool for me. The course itself is an ebook, so once it’s purchased you can save it on your computer. This is what you really want to do, because of the multiple links in each chapter that take you to the YouTube performances of each musical piece. (You can utilize this curriculum on both your computer or iPad.)
So, we started with Gena’s first chapter, which is about John Philip Sousa. Of course, most of us will probably associate Sousa with bands and marches. But Gena included more fascinating information about him that I’d never known. And the musical performances! I was astonished. Several of them were compositions which were familiar to me, but I’d never known that Sousa was the composer!
I read aloud to my son the information about the composer, and then we followed the links to each of the compositions/performances included with the composer. We listened to the music together. The entire chapter took about 20 minutes from start to finish. And it was so enjoyable–as well as informative!
In addition, Gena has included notebooking pages for students in the curriculum, so that they can record facts about both the composer and the musical pieces themselves.
My son Jackson is in the 8th grade, and he has taken piano since he was in kindergarten. And he is definitely a music lover. But honestly, he’d never learned about any of the music we’ve found in 21 Lessons in 20th Century American Music Appreciation. When we listened to the compositions together, we were just delighted with the music–our feet were really tapping! And it’s not just the compositions themselves that are fantastic. The YouTube videos of top-notch musicians performing these pieces are just a pleasure to watch.
Here’s what Jackson had to say about it:
“I liked it very much! And I loved hearing that music for the first time. It is very good!”
As for myself, I couldn’t have selected a simpler or more enjoyable music appreciation curriculum. It truly is one of the easiest curricula I’ve ever taught—even without having a strong musical history background. The compositions Gena chose to go with this curriculum (the ones you’ll link to in each chapter) are so vibrant, beautiful, and professionally done. You really sense as you move through the curriculum that Gena has not only a deep love for music, but for teaching young people about music. I love her gentle manner of teaching. It makes the entire experience truly wonderful.
So…where can you find this wonderful music appreciation program?
Gena Mayo, the author of 21 Lessons in 20th Century American Music Appreciation, has priced this curriculum at $25. (It’s a simple download, so you won’t have to pay for shipping.)
But for the month of August, she’s offering the 21 Lessons in 20th Century American Music Appreciation at 50% off, or only $12.50! You can simply click on the banner below to go to the purchase page. Just use the code August50 to get 50% off!
Be sure to visit Gena at her amazing blog, I Choose Joy. You’ll be encouraged!
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