Saturday, February 25, 2012

Philip Sousa - Composer Study and Appreciation

"A rich and full homeschool education is sure to include some study of classical music and the famous composers who write its music," according to the Squidoo lens called "Composer Sudy - Charlotte Mason Style."

It went on to say, "The Charlotte Mason style of studying composers is an easy and inexpensive way to expose your children to the masters of music so that they grow up both appreciating classical music and knowing a bit about it."

Following this advice, we've been studying different composers this year as part of the girls' homeschooling education. I looked at the Simply Charlotte Mason's website and decided to use Module 6 for this year since the focus was on contemporary composers. This era is what Sophia is currently studying for history, so it seemed like a logical fit.

The six composers include:
- Telemann,
- Joplin,
- Sousa,
- Gershwin,
- Copland, and
- Foster.

During the fall we focused on Telemann and Joplin.  Out of the two, the girls preferred Joplin. In fact, Sophia wants to learn how to play some of Joplin's music on the piano.

John Philip Sousa

We just finished learning about and listening to John Philip Sousa's music. There is a very good CD that features Sousa's music as performed by the Band of the Grenadier Guards.  As we were listening to the music, we recognized one tthat we heard performed by the Minnesota Orchestra a couple of years ago when we attended a youth concert.

According to the Squidoo lens, it is recommended that when studying a composer that " simply listen to a lot of that composer's music. The objective is to listen to so much of the particular artist's music that you internalize his style and can recognize the music played elsewhere. This is not a cram session to memorize pieces and names. This is a slow and steady stream of exposure to a certain type of music."

It continued, "A little bit often is a common refrain among CM practitioners. Listening to two music selections each day while preparing a meal is much more effective than sitting the children down on the couch and forcing them to endure an hour of classical music. Let the music become the background of your home. And its rhythms and moods will seep into your children's heads and hearts. It's learning at its easiest. You simply hit play and let the music do its work. You do want the children to associate the music they are hearing with the composer's name. So do mention his name frequently, 'Let's put on the Tchaikovsky disc!' or 'I love this piece by Mozart.'"

This sounds like an ideal way to learn about composers and their music. However, the reality is that we simply listened to six different pieces of music over an extended period of time given the challenges with caregiving for my parents and my father's death in January. Perhaps next year I'll be able to achieve the above-suggested method for doing composer study and appreciation. 

- The Thunderer
- The Washington Post
- The High School Cadets
- Semper Fidelis
- The Stars and Stripes Forever
- The Lambs' March

Even though we're not following exactly how Charlotte Mason would have taught, I'm happy that the girls are and will be learning about six composers and at least 36 pieces of music over the course of this homeschooling year.

1 comment:

Rita said...

I know very, very little about classical music. The girls are lucky to learn about these things at a young age. :)