Composer study is an essential part of a full and rich home education for children.
Whether it is exposing children to the ornate organ works of JS Bach, the tempestuous repertoire of Beethoven, the sweeping symphonies of Gustav Mahler, or even the iconic movie music of John Williams, learning about one composer IN DEPTH is of great value.
Consider Charlotte Mason's instruction to parents on the subject:
How then do we go about teaching our children about composers? And, how do we do that if we, the parents, have little or no musical knowledge?
Giving our children the gift of a composer's music is so simple.
Choose a Composer!
The first step is choosing a composer to study.
Here are a few ways to go about doing that:
- Choose a composer based on the historical time period you are studying.
- Choose a composer based on INTEREST (Do you have a favorite composer? Does your child love a certain piece of music? Have you always wanted to know about a composer? Start there.).
- Here's a list of 5 composers children will enjoy --- easy!
Learn About the Composer's Life
Children love to learn PERSONAL details about composers.
And, let's face it: most composers have/had extremely interesting (and sometimes scandalous) lives!
The best way our family has found to learn about a composer's life is through quality biographies.
In Best Books for Music Appreciation we detail many of these books (and a few other resources) that help your children become intrigued with a particular composer.
Explore the Music!
This is the part that becomes a bit daunting for some parents.
How do you teach your children about a composer's music when you don't know about the music yourself?
- Use YouTube to find playlists of a composer's music
- Purchase a "best of" collection (many of these are available to stream for FREE if you have Amazon Prime)
- Find a curriculum that guides you through the composer's music
After homeschooling for many years and now authoring a music appreciation curriculum, I found a need for quality composer studies.
There are plenty of studies that focus on the composer's life and have a student listen to their works, but not many studies that really DISSECT the works and teach children the finer points of listening.
Wouldn't it be great if your child heard a piece by JS Bach and just KNEW it was by Bach because of the way it sounded?
SQUILT Spotlights do just that.
Each Spotlight includes PLENTY of biographical information about the composer, and it also includes three representative works by that composer, complete with listening links, directions for listening (and plenty of scripted teaching instructions for parents!), notebooking pages, and MORE!
The SQUILT listening sheet has helped thousands of parents break music down into its essential elements, and better still - it is training children to recognize those same elements!
Each Spotlight also includes special access to a password protected resource page on SQUILT Music that provides additional resources for learning.
By the end of a SQUILT Spotlight your children will know all about a composer as well as what their works SOUND LIKE, and what makes that composer's works unique to THEM.
Currently, Spotlights are available for Bach, Handel, Mozart & Dvorak - with more coming soon!
Composer study doesn't have to get left out of your child's education.
In fact, it just might become something that sticks with them for the REST of their life. Wouldn't that be a great gift to give your children?