A Young Scholar's Guide to Composers Review

11/03/2009
Bright Ideas Press offers a wide range of products from fine arts, history, science and more. As a member of the Crew, I had the opportunity to review A Young Scholars Guide to Composers.
From the website, "Why take the time to “Crack the Code” of Classical Music?"
  • Music is from the Lord. He created it, and He created us with the ability to both make and appreciate music.
  • “Classical” music is uniquely part of our Western civilization.
  • Research suggests that both listening to and playing classical music aids brain development.
  • Even rudimentary exposure increases one’s level of enjoyment and understanding.
  • This course provides a close-up look at famous composers, their music, and their times, with special attention to character traits and Christian testimony (or lack thereof). Even the musically challenged will enjoy this course!
It is geared towards grades 4–8 but is easily adaptable for younger or older students and requires minimal teacher prep. This is available as a paper book ($34.95) or on a CD-Rom ($29.95). I received a printed bound version as well as a PDF download of the book. In this book you will find:
  • 32 Weekly Lessons
  • 26 Bios of Famous Composers
  • 6 Eras of Music Explained
  • Easy-to-Use Comparative Timeline
  • Easy-to-Use Maps
  • Composer Info-Cards & Game Directions
  • Note-taking Pages
  • Quizzes
  • Answer Keys
  • Listening Suggestions
  • Intricate Coloring Pages
  • Resource Book List
Check out the sample pages to get a good idea of what to expect. This book had us first learning about "Ancient Music to Music in the Middle Ages" which led us to listen to several Gregorian Chants as well as Agnus Dei and filling in a worksheet (that I was able to easily print directly from the PDF). (The actual composer lessons include more detailed work listed above).
First of all, when we studied the chants, we answered some very good questions:
  1. How many musical lines (also called voices) did we hear? (Did we hear "harmony" only or "melody"?)
  2. Is the tune catchy? (These are sung prayers - did they convey feelings?)
  3. Could we turn off the music and sing the melody? Why or why not?
Studying the chants in the this section led us down a trail to find some Hebrew chants and we discovered the Music of the Bible Revealed, and Torah cantillation: Cantillation from the Book of Ester matches the cantillation pattern in the rest of Scripture: (some people believe that because the book of Ester was not included in the Dead Sea Scrolls, and because it does not mention God in it, that it should not be a part of Scripture.) At this point, I was ready to ditch the book and pick up our Hebrew studies again and learn more about the music in the Bible because after all, the Bible is the heart of our homeschool. Bottom line, I wish that the first lesson would have focused more on the music in the bible and that it would have taught the Song of Moses (the song of the redeemed), more about the Psalms and the greatest composers of all time who wrote by divine inspiration from the Ruach HaKodesh - the Holy Spirit. Don't get me wrong - I like this book and think it is a fine study on classical music. We will continue using it and I do recommend it. I just wish it would have gotten off to a more in depth start to ancient music, because after all, "music is from the Lord!" Other crew mates are reviewing this as well, see what they think, or click on the banner below to visit the Crew Blog.
I received this product for free in exchange for my review. I offer my honest opinion. See my disclosure policy for more information.

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