I have a wonderful reference book I want to share with you! The Story of the Orchestra by Robert Levine is an excellent resource for anyone who wants to introduce their children to classical music.
First, let me back up a bit and share how I came across this wonderful book. One of my favorite aspects of a Charlotte Mason education are the lovely extras like fine art and music. Unfortunately, those are also subjects that I have absolutely no background in! I needed a little help in my attempts to enrich my children’s education. Luckily I found the guide I needed from Barb, a homeschool mom and fellow Curriculum Choice author.
This post contains an affiliate link to Harmony Fine Arts, a curriculum I use and love.
Barb created the Harmony Fine Arts curriculum materials to help other homeschoolers incorporate great art and music appreciation. Her curriculum helps me know what and how to introduce them to my children.
This year (our second with HFA materials) we’re using the Grade 5 Ancient Art and the Orchestra plans because they coordinate perfectly with our history studies. One of the resources Barb listed to use with the Grade 5 curriculum was the book The Story of the Orchestra. I contacted the publisher and they kindly agreed to send me a copy to review. You can find it here.
The Story of the Orchestra
I absolutely love this book! It’s become one of my all-time favorite reference books. The first section goes over the eras of classical music and introduces famous composers from each era with information about their life and musical style. The second section of the book teaches about the sections of the orchestra and each instrument in the sections.
Throughout the book information is presented attractively, with illustrations, short paragraphs, and boxes to set apart different topics.
The best part of this book is the audio CD filled with over an hour of classical music, excerpts from famous music highlighting a composer or instrument. A CD icon instructs you to play a certain track. What is wonderful are the notes filled with helpful information about the musical piece and what to listen for.
What else do I love about the book?
- I think this book has something to offer for all ages, from the youngest child who can listen to the music and try to pick out a certain instrument or when the music sounds like something else (like horse’s hooves), to older children who can take in all the details of the orchestra, instruments, and composers.
- The book includes quotations about music from famous people or the composers and musicians themselves. This builds our sense of a community of music appreciators, and helps us see the importance of learning about classical music. Through the selections on the CD we’ve found music we wanted to listen to in its entirety, like Carnival of the Animals.
- It’s giving all of us a much more educated listening ear, with leads to a greater appreciation for what we are hearing.
I think this book would be a great addition to any home library. It’s not only engaging to look through but provides the real key to music appreciation–the chance to listen to great music!
Heidi homeschools her two children in Maine using an eclectic mix including Charlotte Mason’s ideas, quality literature and hands-on learning. She strives to show her children that learning is an exciting, life long adventure. She shares their experiences on her blog, Home Schoolroom.
-originally published January 2014