Everyone knows and has probably heard Georg Frideric Handel’s infamous and deeply moving Messiah. But did you know that, though he had been composing for years already and was famous, it was his very first oratorio, and earned him the title “Father of the Oratorio”?
Or that, though he was German-born, he relocated to and became a citizen of England, where he composed the piece? It was first performed and made famous in Ireland, and in years following, was most often played during the season of preparation for Easter (not the typical time of Advent that we often hear it now).
For the last couple of years I have been desperate to expose my children to more “culture” in their lives. I recall, as a homeschool student, having competitions with friends of ours to see who could name the most composers of songs we heard playing on the classical music station. I was never very good at it, but loved the time we spent listening to the pieces.
Before we began our composer studies, the kids would moan and groan any time a classical piece was put on – there HAD to be a way to make them love and appreciate the beauty of this genre, but I was at a loss for how.
To add to that, with 3 kids homeschooled and a baby, it is fairly difficult to find time to fit in extra studies. So though I was passionate about composer studies, I just couldn’t seem to find a program that we could easily fit into our day. Then Zeezok came to my attention, through the iHomeschool Network.
Zeezok’s Music Appreciation course has far and above exceeded any of my hopes, dreams and expectations for a composer study. And here’s why!
Why Zeezok Music Appreciation Composer Studies is a Good Fit for the Busy Homeschool Family
We arrange our homeschool week so that we alternate (usually science, geography, history, etc.) a different subject in the afternoon. That meant we only had 2 afternoons a week to fit in anything extra. With the structure and layout of Zeezok, it fit PERFECTLY!
Each composer study has a small chapter book to read, journaling pages and a lapbook. I take the opportunity during the baby’s afternoon nap to enjoy a snack and tea, while we read a chapter or two a week (there are 4 or more chapters in a book), then spend some time on the activities.
You can do as much or as little as you like in the amount of time that you have. With 3 kids working on it together, we were able to accomplish a lot in our afternoon.
Combining Stimulating Stories and Masterful Music
The Zeezok composer study comes with a “story” book on the life of each individual composer.
As you read through the books, you are quickly drawn into the life of each composer – Handel, from his hometown in Halle, Germany, where his father insisted he become a lawyer and refused to let him play music, to playing and conducting the orchestra in Hamburg and fighting a duel with his best friend; to impressing and appeasing the new King of England with his hastily but masterfully written Water Music, to how he came to write The Messiah and continued composing in his old age and blindness.
The chapters are detailed, interesting, and interspersed with opportunities to stop and listen to parts of some of the pieces the composer wrote. I loved this aspect, weaving the beauty of music into the life of the people we are reading about – brilliant! The kids never wanted to stop reading or listening – mission accomplished!
Intriguing Details Through Journaling
Journaling has become a favourite homeschool habit of ours, and the Zeezok music appreciation course comes with a colourful journal jam-packed with goodies for your lessons.
Though the program is best fitted for Elementary grades, our 2 younger students (kindergarten and Grade 2), were more than able to participate in the studies and activities.
The journal has many options, and this is where the time factor comes into play. Complete as much or as little as you are able and want, and assign anything extra to the older students!
There are opportunities for research projects, mapping and history of important locations, learning extra bits of interesting background information, and applying musical theory.
Oh yes, they learned theory and movement in music, not to mention musical terms! And they didn’t even know that’s what they were learning!
One of our favourite exercises – how does the music make you feel?
From Composer Study to a Study in Character
One of my favourite aspects of the Zeezok Composer Study was the time the authors took to draw out the character qualities of each man. As our children listened to the stories of the composers and grew to love them, we had many opportunities to talk about their character.
Though Handel’s father wanted to control him, he submitted to his father’s authority, out of love and respect for him. Great and well-known composer that he was, he still humbled himself around others. He showed love and care for his family and continued to sacrifice himself in order to provide for them.
I’m fairly certain Handel would make a fantastic hero for a young boy or girl!
Making Memories with the Lapbook
Many a lapbook we have begun, and many a lapbook we have left unfinished. We were bound and determined this would not be the case with our Handel study, and we succeeded!
Lapbooking is a fun, hands-on way of gathering thoughts and remembering what was taught during a study. The temptation for me can be to try and do too much in a lapbook – Zeezok has it balanced just right.
Throughout the journal there are opportunities to stop and work on parts of the lapbook as they learn. You can also choose to complete the lapbook all at once when you are finished the study. It’s very flexible, and either approach is bound to solidify the memories in their minds.
The lapbook printables come on a CD with the program. You do not have to have a colour printer, but it definitely makes for a more vibrant lapbook.
Win a Music Appreciation Course
Now that you know about Zeezok Composer Studies, you have an opportunity to WIN a Music Appreciation Composer Study of your own!
- If you purchase the set during the giveaway, and wins it,Zeezok will issue a refund of the purchase price.
- Prize shipped only to US mailing address.
- Enter Feb. 17, 1:00 AM to March 20, 11:59 PM.
- Winner will be chosen and notified Friday, March 21.
If you’d like to purchase a set now, use code ihomeschool to receive 10% off until March 21st.
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