Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Art & Music

These are both subjects that I struggle to teach.  I don't have training in, nor am I especially talented at, either.  None of that precludes me (or anyone else) from teaching, but it does affect my level of confidence.

 A lot.

Last year we read through The Story of the Orchestra and it ended up being one of my very favorite books.  It gives a general overview of the orchestra (and many composers) along with music that showcases specific instruments (and composers).  I highly recommend it.

This year we decided to try out Erica's (at Confessions of a Homeschooler) Worlds Greatest Composers series.  Then I decided to also use her Worlds Greatest Artists series.

Both curriculum use the same series of books by Mike Venezia for the "textbook" for each composer.  They are simple (and funny) biographies on so many different famous people.  They're pretty inexpensive, but I went an even cheaper route and check out most of the ones I need from my library.

We do both art and music twice a week, getting us through one composer and one artist every month or so.

For music, Erica has a piece of music and an activity to do every lesson, as well as questions to help direct discussion about what you're listening to.  I love it for a few reasons: it's simple (both in preparation and time to complete), my kids love it, and it's a great introduction to some fantastic music.

In art we study specific pieces of art, talk about the artists life and do two projects for each artist we study.  My kids love it.  They love doing projects and have so much fun trying to put their own spin on each artists style. 

What we're doing isn't exhaustive by any means, it's a gentle introduction, but we're having a lot of fun with it.  If you're looking for a little something to get started (an inexpensive little something, which is even better), check these out!

Both Makenna and Ben also play piano for part of their music experience.  Makenna's been playing for almost a year, but Ben just started this year.

We really like Alfred's and Ben's trying out the All-in-one Course this year.  It's a very basic, gentle introduction to playing.  We're moving pretty slow, but he's liking it a lot, which is the most important thing for us.

Makenna has almost finished with Complete Level 1 and likes it a lot.  It's a much quicker start (she was already playing around by herself and she was also 11 when we got started) and has kept her attention really well.  She's playing so well, I might have to find her a more accomplished teacher pretty soon.  Or maybe I just need to practice some more.

What's your favorite music curriculum or activity?


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