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Has anyone designed an Music Appreciation class?

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I found this book by Julius H. Jacobson II: The Classical Music Experience (and then I discovered that SWB and JW recommended the same book in the 2nd edition of WTM!)


The book covers 42 worthy classical composers in chronological order: Palestrina - Leonard Bernstein. It gives a brief biographical sketch and offers list of works to listen to. The book comes with 2 sampler CD's (narrated by Kevin Kline), with excerpts of the recommended listening list.


Each week my ds15 reads a chapter, and notes the following in his music appreciation notebook:

-brief biographical sketch of the composer

-characteristics of composer's "school of composition" (baroque, classical, romantic, etc.) Also note world events and prominent philosophies of the time.


Next we listen to recommended selections. (We listen to complete works on our own CD's or CD's borrowed from the library. The sampler CD just gives you a "taste" of the composer's style.) In his notebook, ds lists the pieces listened to, whether he liked them, and why (why not).


Each composer gets his own page in the notebook. As ds hears other works by the composer (at a concert, recital, or on the radio), he adds that work (and his assessment) to the appropriate page.


I may follow this book with a Teaching Company course, "Appreciating the Great Composers" (or equivalent).


I decided to "do" this course when I realized that 2 credits of Fine Arts are required for an honors diploma in our state. We're doing something similar for Art Appreciation (using "Annotated Art", by Robert Cummings).




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My dd will be in 10th grade and I'd like to do an Music appreciation class for her. She has done a little music theory and plays the piano, but doesn't enjoy it and wants to quit.


Any suggestions.......even if it is just 1/2 a credit.


We don't do credits but I can offer a few suggestions which may help her to learn to enjoy listening/playing music more.


One of the things that has helped us the most (myself included) is to listen to NPR (or a better classical station if you can find it ... TheClassicalStation.org is fantastic!!). I stumbled onto this one day as I was standing in the kitchen and our youngest dd happened to be nearby. They were playing Beethoven on NPR and I asked her if she knew who composed the piece. She didn't, so I began describing to her how I knew who it was. She was hooked. I kept doing this (in the car, at home, everywhere) and began including all dc. It got to be a game and when we were all in the car on the 45 min. drive to town, they would make guesses about the composer of a piece, and then we'd all listen with excitement to see who 'won'.


After a while, when they were all familiar with many composers (good and bad), I printed off a composers timeline from somewhere on the net. I gave them each one to keep at their school tables. They were very excited as they discussed the composers and associated them with their respective time periods.


Also, if you suspect she really might enjoy piano, but is discouraged for some other reason, you might try taking her to various stores where she can see a variety of music (and instruments) and let her choose whatever she wants to play ... just for fun. Our dc found things at our local Barnes & Noble store and various instrument supply stores. Used bookstores, libraries. Keep your eyes open.


Another thing I've done which may help your dd is to buy classical CD's and play them. Start with catchy stuff (Lizst's 2nd Hungarian Rhapsody, Beethoven's 5th Symphony, Moonlight Sonata, etc.) to hook them. Then, take her down to a store like Barnes & Noble which has a large stock of classical music CD's and let her choose some herself. You may have to suggest/point out things. Play them in the car, while doing school, everywhere. Keep expanding this, slowly, to include all different kinds of music.


Live concerts/music might excite her a little more, too. It doesn't have to be a full-fledged orchestra. We used to go hear various bluegrass groups play at a nearby campground from May until Sept/Oct. For free. Loaded up the car with the lawn chairs and kids and spent every Sunday evening listening to live bluegrass. A great thing about this is that you can talk to the musicians afterwards. And you can also network to find teachers, if she hears something she likes. Or jam sessions where she can listen or join in - whatever she wants.


And finally, give her the option of choosing another instrument. We have a variety of instruments around our house. One of our ds's even asked for an accordian for his birthday one year. We bought him a used one and our youngest dd now plays it, too. It could be she just hasn't found her 'groove' yet. :)



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