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Thursday, August 16, 2007

Themes to Remember Review


ClassicalMagic.net has a music program that we love which can be used for children aged 2 and up. I'm even enjoying it! First off, I appreciate the books are hardcover, which lends an everlasting quality to them and it is apparent that Marjorie Kiel Persons spent a lot of time developing this product. Marjorie holds majors in Elementary, Secondary, Music and Religion Eduction as well as English literature and has traveled extensively.

You can read the hows and whys of how the program was developed, here and even literary benefits of the program. In each book, Persons provides a "how to" guide and practical teaching suggestions which is very helpful which includes: Listen and Sing Along, Meet the Composers, Musical terms, Games (three provided), Art, Drama, and Movement. This program is for multiple learning types and the approach is up to the parent/teacher. Your child will learn about the orchestra, opera, history of the composers, their individual styles and influences, musical terms and really come to understand the music.

In Themes to Remember Volume 1 and 2 there are illustrations for younger children, a biography of the composer with a portrait of composer (which can be purchased as an additional set separately), music terms about the particular composition or composer and lyrics to help memorize the composition. On each cd that accompanies each book there is the composition and a track that plays the composition with the lyrics. It is pleasant and fun. It sounds simple but you'd be amazed at how much your child will learn effortlessly with this program by just reading the biography, learning the music terms and singing the lyrics (memorization would be best) which is just the beginning!

Each book shares about each major time in classical music and the program could be used to study music chronologically or incrementally as the 6 year schedule that Classical Magic recommends. We're using the six year schedule, which is also why I bought the three books, there is a fourth book, Antonin Dvorák From the New World with Lyrics which tells the story of Dvorák's life in both prose and lyrics, and includes reproducibles plus a listening guide for the orchestrated recording on the CD.. The CD contains, in addition to tracks of the themes with and without lyrics, a fully orchestrated recording of the Symphony (without lyrics).

The purpose of the six year schedule is to introduce children to the simpler concepts first and then gradually increase the difficulty to match their knowledge. Even though Camille is in 2nd grade, we're starting in Year 1 which could also be used with kindergarten and younger aged children. Can I just say that it is nice to know that we have a study of classical music selected for six years! It is a relief for me and I hope no qualms about what she'll be learning. If you have multiples and are just starting out, I would keep them together and start from the beginning of the six year schedule, if that's the route you select.

With help from another homeschool mom, I created a schedule for Year 1 that we're using this year. We are studying one composition and composer for two weeks and I supplemented the schedule with living books, encyclopedia information and coloring books. Here's our Year 1 approach. If you'd like to see the whole six year schedule, click here to go to Classical Magic. For five of the six years, you'll only need the three books Themes to Remember 1, Themes to Remember 2 and Classical Karaoke for Kids, there is only one year that requires the Dvorák book which is why I purchased the three books at one time.

If you wish to know more about the lyrics included, here at places you can view them: Handel and Boccherini, more inside pages to be viewed at RainbowResource.com for Themes to Remember Vol. 1, and Themes to Remember Vol 2., and at SingNLearn.org.


 

2 comments:

Jennifer said...

Sounds like a neat curriculum. I wanted to encourage you about your bad day. My oldest is in logic stage (7th gr) and I have had many bad days and made many mistakes. I just listened to a really good lecture by Douglas Wilson (from this year's ACCS Conference) on "Lowering Standards and Submitting to Christ's Authority." He says we should never lower our standards due to "mission drift," but sometimes we need to lower standards a little bit to make sure we are not overburdening our children to the point where they don't love what they're doing. Our goal, even in classical Christian ed., is to inspire them to love what we love: God and his universe. So hang in there and on bad days take a step back. Keep the long view in mind - I burned us all out some in the younger years and regret it. Now, we sometimes get less accomplished, but they retain (and enjoy) it more. Blessings!

5atkins said...

Jessica, I am so thrilled to see your evaluation of this program. I had it on my list to buy, but unfortunately we ran out of budget! For now, I am trying to use library and internet resources, but this has definitely made the list for the next purchase! Maybe Christmas???

I also loved the science experiment. I had used the lightbulb sun and globe before, but never thought to take a moon and show the eclipse or the stages of the moon with it! Thanks for taking the time to download the pictures! Thank your adorable model too! :)

In Him, Eva