We are studying 4 composers this year, Vivaldi, Bach, Handel and Haydn, one for each quarter. Maybe I should say that the kids will have lunch with different composer each quarter because that is how I'm going to accomplish this. At lunch each day of our first quarter we will listen to Vivaldi and I will read aloud his biography while the kids eat. We have various resources for composers already, ones that aren't shown above like:
- Meet the Great Composers (Book 1 and 2 with CDs)
- Vox Music Masters CDs which have a narrative with the compositions
- Classical Music CDs that I've bought on sale for each composer
- Bach, Beethoven and the Boys by David Barber
- Madeleine Goss biographies (out of print but wonderful): Deep-Flowing Brook, The Story of Johann Sebastian Bach
- Two encyclopedias of music
- Composer coloring books
But I wanted this time to be simple, just a listen while you eat experience. There will be no coloring pages or worksheets, this is purely a "just enjoy" focused lesson. Sometimes making studies more academic takes the joy out of it and we have plenty of time down the road to make composer studies more formal.
Here's the spine of our time: listen to the compositions with or without a biography reading and at the end of the quarter we will watch a DVD if there is an age-appropriate one available. Classical Kids and the Composer's Specials provided many age-appropriate DVD titles to enjoy. I will be switching out what we listen to, from listening to Themes to Remember which provide lyrics to help a child learn to just listening to the compositions themselves. Reading the biography will not compete with what we're listening to so CDs that have spoken words will be done on days of their own without reading the biographies. The Opal Wheeler biographies are short and very age-appropriate, the Madeleine Goss biographies are intended for an older audience, I'd say 5th grade and above but can be read aloud by a discerning parent.
Of course this means I will not be eating with the kids but I put Independent Reading right after lunch so I can eat while they are reading. I say this but I also know that Danny cannot read yet but he does enjoy having his own basket of books to explore which will be a daily habit I hope to instill in him- to have his own quiet time with books daily. I have struggled with how to fit all that I desire for my children into our day and through learning from other homeschoolers, I've realized it's just a matter of how I actually spend the time we have. I'll also be playing the composer of the quarter in other situations like in the car or when we're doing chores and any other time throughout the day I can slip it in.
The resources I've listed are things we have on hand, it's not necessary to spend a lot of money to start an informal study. The essentials are CDs and the rest can be from the library. Also, realize I'm writing all this before putting this plan into action with all my idealistic hopes and desires. Smile.