I received A Young Scholar’s Guide to Composers by Melissa E. Craig, Maggie Hogan, and Richard B. Pinkerton. This year-long study consists of 32 weekly lessons and is designed for students in grades 4-8. Music is studied chronologically with sections devoted to:
- Ancient Music to Music in the Middle Ages
- Music in the Renaissance
- The Baroque Period
- The Classical Period
- The Romantic Period
- The Contemporary Period
Within each of the sections is a general overview of the period, followed by lessons on specific composers.The composer lessons have biographical information as well as specific pieces or styles that the composer is famous for. There is special emphasis on the Christian character, or lack of character, of each composer. Also included in each lesson is a Student review page. These can be used by the students to take notes as they are reading/listening to the lesson, or used after reading to test their retention.
The appendix is what makes this curriculum special. It is over 100 pages long and contains the following sections:
- Composer Info Cards
- Reproducible Composer Illustrations
- Listening Suggestions
- Reproducible Timeline
- Mapping Exercises
- Game Forms
- Coloring Pages
- Folderbook directions
- Composers resource list
- Useful websites
- Answer keys
- Certificate of Completion
As you can see, there is a lot more to A Young Scholar’s Guide to Composers than reading about composers and answering some questions. Included are multiple projects to add fun and aid in student learning.
The book is available in print or on CD. I received the electronic version and I actually prefer it to the print version for two main reasons. First, it is necessary to make multiple copies of many of the pages. This is much easier with the electronic version. In addition, my favorite feature of the electronic version is in the listening suggestions. I’ve loaded the file on my laptop, so when we want to listen to a sample selection, I can click on the link in the listening suggestions and go directly to the YouTube video and watch it immediately. That is a very helpful feature for us in using the curriculum and makes it a “pick-up and go” curriculum. I don’t even have to worry about ordering special music from the library.
So what do I like about A Young Scholar’s Guide to Composers? I really like that it is presented chronologically. Rather than use the whole curriculum in one year, I plan to use it as a supplement to our regular history program. When we are studying a time period, I can add the corresponding composers. I also think the lessons are interesting, and I especially like the ease of use of this curriculum. The hands-on projects were a plus too.
The book can be purchased from Bright Ideas Press for $24.95 for a download, $29.95 for the CD, or $34.95 for a printed copy.