I love listening to music, but I am not a musically gifted person. I can’t play an instrument, and I never learned to read music. It is because of this that I was absolutely petrified at the thought of teaching music appreciation to my children. However, Zeezok Publishing helped calm these fears with Music Appreciation Book 2: for the Middle Grades.
About the Company
The owners began their career providing homeschool families with materials in 1993. This company, The Book Peddler had them traveling all over with 10,000 pounds of books. As time progressed, they realized the need for enrichment programs. This understanding help them to launch Zeezok Publishing in 2003, with the goal to publish top quality materials that will complement a child’s educational needs.
Since 2003, the company has expanded the products that it offers, in order to provide homeschooling families with a variety of options to meet their needs.
About the Product
Music Appreciation Book 2: for the Middle Grades is a comprehension music appreciation curriculum. Components of the collection include the following products:
One Student Book
- The Student Book is a soft-cover, 315-page workbook that accompanies each of the nine composer biographies. It has perforated, easy tear pages that are already hole-punched. It begins with an introduction that explains the series and how it is structured. It also explains the components of the collection.
- The Student Book contains the scope and sequence of the series and how each composers section correlates with the music appreciation standards.
- The Student Book contains the music list that accompanies the selections found in the biographies. These are found in the form of QR codes that allows you to digitally scan and listen to the tracks.
- Finally, The Student Book contains the lessons, divided into weeks, that accompany each composer. These activities include comprehension questions, vocabulary words, QR Codes that correlate to various historical videos about the composers, and lessons about notes and reading music.
- Nine Composer Biographies covering Seven Composers
- Frederic Chopin, Early Years is a 156 page, soft-cover book written about the early life of his life. Frederic Chopin, Later Years is 155 page, soft-cover book written about the later years of his life. This book picks up where the “Early Years” book left off and goes through the time of his death. Robert Schumann and Mascot Ziff is a 167 page, soft-cover book written about the life of Robert Schumann and his cat Ziff.
- Adventures of Richard Wagner is a 151 page, soft-cover book written about Wilhelm Wagner.
- Stephen Foster and His Little Dog Tray is a 172 page, soft-cover book written about the author of “My Old Kentucky Home”.
- The Young Brahms is a 142 page, hard-cover book written about the life of Brahms until the age of fifteen.
- The Story of Peter Tchaikovsky is a 115 page, soft-cover book written about the early life of Peter Tchaikovsky.
- Peter Tchaikovsky and the Nutcracker Ballet is a 102 page, soft-cover book written about his years creating ballets. (Disclaimer: I did not receive a physical copy of this book. I received an electronic version.)
- Edward MacDowell and His Cabin in the Pines is a 144 page, soft-cover book written about his musical career.
At the time of this blogs publication the cost of the Music Appreciation Book 2: for the Middle Grades was $166.99.
How Did We Use It?
Due to this being a collection for middle school students, I used this with my 6th grade daughter. We used this together, however, there was very little need for me. Anytime there was a QR Code we did use it with my two sons who are 5th grade and 4th grade. I wanted to provide them with exposure to the history and music presented.
We used Music Appreciation Book 2: for the Middle Grades three times a week, for approximately 30 minutes each day. Sometimes, we had to work longer to complete the week. The bulk of the first day was spent reading the text, especially in the first two books about Chopin. She and I took turns reading the book to each other, while her brothers often listened.
On the other two days, we worked through the lessons for the week.
We were able to work through Frederic Chopin, Early and Later Years, and began Robert Schumann and Mascot Ziff. Looking ahead at the later weeks, I can see that the lessons follow the same format.
There are always comprehension questions for the week.
There are journal entries and other activities that help to expand the students’ knowledge.
There are recipes that can be made based upon the country that the composer is from.
What Did We Think?
A mom’s perspective–Overall, I really liked this program. I like that it combined the life and works of composers with basic music knowledge such as reading music, and musical terms such as rondo. I LOVED the technology aspect. Even though my youngest two did not do the workbook pages, we were still able to incorporate them into the lessons by letting them listen to the music and view the videos. The only issue that we had was the amount of reading that was required each week. However, this could be adapted by changing the pacing of the course. For example, instead of doing three days, you could incorporate music every day. I also really liked that the answer keys were incorporated into the student book.
A kid’s perspective-Kisha, age 11-I really liked the composers, but there was a lot of reading that I had to do each week to complete the activities. The QR codes were really neat. I liked watching the videos. One of my favorites was “Carnival of the Animals” by Camille Saint-Saens. By learning about the rhythm of a music piece I have found that I am better able to clap along with the songs at church.
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