You must do the things you think you cannot do.
Eleanor Roosevelt

Friday, November 06, 2009

TOS Review A Young Scholar's Guide to Composers

I received an electronic copy of A Young Scholar's Guide to Composers from Bright Ideas Press. This 300+ page book contains all the information and resources you'll need for a more than adequate study of Composers from six different eras of music.

This curriculum includes:
• 32 Weekly Lessons
• 26 Bios of Famous Composers
• 6 Eras of Music Explained
• Easy-to-Use Comparative Timeline
• Easy-to-Use Maps
• Composer Info-Cards & Game Directions• Note-taking Pages
• Quizzes or Student Review Pages
• Answer Keys
• Listening Suggestions
• Intricate Coloring Pages
• Resource Lists of Books and Music for further reading

Click here to view the table of contents and sample pages from the book.

A Young Scholar's Guide to Composers is nicely laid out in bite size chunks so it's easy to make it a regular part of your school day without being overwhelming or requiring a lot of prep from mom.

I printed the section titled 'The Contemporary Period' to match our history studies. We began by reading a short but informative explanation of the people and ideas that shaped the music of this period. My kids are a little young to take notes while I'm reading so we went over the Note-taking Pages after I read the section to them, and we answered the questions together as a review.

What I appreciated most about this section is that the authors pointed the reader back to God; noting that while men may have new ideas that influence those around them, God and His word are unchanging. They also clearly presented the Gospel reminding us 'that we are responsible for our actions and that although we have a sinful nature, God can save us from our sin through Jesus' work on the cross.'

The first contemporary composer discussed is Scott Joplin who, though influenced by Bach, Mozart, and Beethoven, played ragtime music. In three and a half pages we read not only about Joplin but also an explanation of ragtime music. Hank and Ella enjoy looking at pictures while reading so I got a couple of books from the library and read those as well.

Ella really enjoyed the coloring sheets. I have to say they are very well done and interesting to look at. They're not just headshots but directly related to the musician - for example, the coloring sheet for John Williams, who composed many movie scores, shows movie reels with scenes from some of his more famous movies like Indiana Jones.

There are also timeline activities, templates to make composer flash cards, and templates to make Jeopardy and Bingo games. The suggested grade levels are 4th - 8th, and I agree. My kids are younger, and they did enjoy it. But I can see older kids benefitting most from this. I think even high school-aged kids would enjoy it as an introductory course.

If you're looking for a composer study, look no further. I think you'll be quite pleased with this one. While you're at it, be sure to check out the other products offered by Bright Ideas Press; several were reviewed by other TOS Crew members.

You can purchase this as a paperback book for $34.95 or as a CD-ROM book for $29.95.

You can also read reviews of this product written by other TOS Crew members by clicking here.
**I received this product for free so that I may offer my honest opinion of it. No other compensation was made.

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