The 75 lessons in this curriculum move through classical music starting with Corelli in the Baroque Period and going all the way to Stravinsky in the Modern Era. Here is a list of the many composers studied:
A study of the instruments and structure of the orchestra is also interspersed throughout the curriculum.
Features of this curriculum:
Included in the set are a composers card game, five living books, 18 Audio CDs, 2 coloring books, a timeline, and a schedule/teacher’s guide.
Don’t be fooled by the term “coloring book.” They are full of text and information, complemented by black and white drawings.
The VOX Music Masters audio CDs are narratives of composer’s lives sprinkled with relevant musical selections throughout. A single narrator tells the story. There is no dramatic dialogue or sound effects. These are more straightforward than say a Jim Weiss or Your Story Hour audio. That is, they are not as entertaining in a humorous or exciting way. But they are well made and full of facts about the composers. We do enjoy them; my daughter has never complained that they are boring. For younger students, you may want to use the Classical Kids CDs instead.
A timeline with beautiful images is part of the complete package. Besides the line drawings, there are even two strips of cardstock for making the actual timeline. (Or the figures could be but onto your own pre-existing timeline.)
The composers card game is basically a matching game like Go Fish with composers on the cards. It’s a fun way to reinforce the names and works of the music masters you study.
About the Guide
In the guide, all reading assignments are scheduled clearly, lesson by lesson so that you could hand the guide over to your middle schooler (or high schooler) and let him do the study basically on his own.
Notebooking suggestions and tasks are included in the lessons. These are varied and open-ended. Examples include mapping, sketching diagrams and labeling them, writing definitions, taking notes on a certain historical topic, coloring and pasting in an image from the coloring book. (There are no printable notebooking pages, just tasks to complete in your blank notebook.)
Occasionally websites are listed for additional study. And there are short research projects integrated into the curriculum.
Most lessons include a culminating or key question that is answered in the reading assignments. You can choose how to handle it, either discussing it orally with your child or having him write the answer in his notebook.
Materials needed in addition to the set:
- An atlas
- A composition book (or other format for notebooking)
How to use History of Classical Music
BF History of Classical Music is truly a history of music and not of history in general. Thus I consider it insufficient for a year’s history curriculum. Instead I suggest BF History of Classical Music could be used in a Charlotte Mason homeschool in two ways:
1. As an in-depth unit study covering the span of a few months.
BF History of Classical Music has only 75 lessons. So if you completed two lessons each day (very doable if this is your base curriculum) you could finish it in less than forty school days (9 weeks on a five day school week; 10 weeks with school four days a week). Because of the heavy emphasis on reading and writing, BF History of Classical Music would make a good language arts curriculum.
2. As a guide for composer studies.
The BF History of Classical Music could supply almost all you need for several years of composer study if you spent a term on each composer in the materials. Instead of doing two lessons each week as the publisher suggests, you could stretch out all the Bach assignments, for example, over the course of a 6-12 week term. By adding daily music listening to the routine, you would have a very rich composer study.
Although the curriculum states it is for 5th – 8th graders, I see no reason why high schoolers couldn’t benefit from these lessons and living books. Fifth and sixth graders may need to have some of the more challenging reading assignments read aloud to them.