Wednesday, April 3, 2013

C is for Composer Study - A to Z April Challenge

Composer and music study can be done as a family for homeschooling. Generally, we study six composers per year (one composer per six-week period; for a total of six composers and 36 weeks of study).

Stories of the Great Composers has an accompanying CD that 
makes learning about composers 
engaging and enjoyable for children.


Music appreciation is done in a similar way to art appreciation. We listen to the music of one composer at various times throughout the week. I tell Sophia and Olivia which composer's music we are listening to at the time.

This CD has nine nocturnes that are 
performed on the piano by Maurizio Pollini.

Sometimes we listen to the music during a break between other school subjects.

Sophia, Olivia, Montague, Cooper, Eenie, and Meenie 
are listening to Chopin's Polonaise in G Minor.
This was Chopin's first published piece, 
written when was 7 years old.


Other families play music in their vehicle while running errands or play it at home in the background during a meal.

I always try to select a nice variety of songs so that the girls have a chance to hear more than just one song repeatedly played during the time we are studying a particular composer.

Sometimes I have read a short biography about that composer to them to give them further insight about the person writing the music.

This a short biography about Chopin in the 
Stories of the Great Composers book.
The following 1 1/2 pages had a story about Chopin.


This week (and for the next five weeks) we are learning about Frederic Chopin. Other composers we have and/or will be learning about during this school year include: Bach; Mozart; Strauss; Tchaikovsky; and Stravinsky.

A Bit About Frederic Chopin

Frederic Chopin was born on March 1, 1810, in Poland. His father was French and his mother was Polish. As a child he showed an intelligence that allowed him to absorb everything. As he became a teenager and young adult, his abilities of drawing, observation, and imitate what he observed grew.

Frederic's first professional piano teacher was the respected Wojciech Zywny. Chopin's devotion to the piano greatly increased his skills which soon surpassed those of his teacher.

At the age of seven, his public performances began to be compared to Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart as a child, and to his contemporary, Ludwig van Beethoven.


One of only two known photographic images 
of Frederic Chopin.


No other composer could play the piano like Chopin. His performances showed exceptional happiness, tenderness, and boldness.

Chopin's love of Poland is captured in a small container filled with Polish soil that his friends gave him before he left Poland at the age of 21. The soil was sprinkled over his grave when he died in Paris on October 17, 1849, at the age of 38.

Word Search

The girls each did a word search focused on Chopin that was at Making Music Fun.

Olivia doing the word search about Chopin.


Sophia and Olivia both enjoyed doing this activity.

Play a Piece on the Piano

Making Music Fun also had free printed music available.

Sophia played a piece of music written by Chopin.


An easy piece that Chopin wrote is called the Funeral March.

Olivia learning to play Chopin's Funeral March.

I printed the piece and each of the girls took a turn playing it on the piano.

Sophia playing Chopin's Funeral March while
Olivia, Cooper, and Montague listen.


Even the dogs wanted to listen to the girls play a piece that Chopin wrote.


8 comments:

Maryann Miller said...

Music appreciation at our house involved putting records on and singing and dancing along with the music. It was a lot of fun and my kids appreciated it.(smile)

Cheryl Rennels said...

I understand that Chopin is one of the hardest composers to play. Do you agree?

Angeline Trevena said...

Really interesting about his little tub of Polish soil. My son is only 7 months old and he already loves music; I sing to him all the time.
Coffintree Hill

Kirsten said...

What a great way to learn about music. I can see why so many people go for home schooling. :-)

Just Ermie &
Short Story Ideas

Sharon Himsl said...

Hi, stopping by in the a-z. My son studied classical piano (age 4 to college), so music filled our home for many years. Funny though, whenever he played jazz, our cat would growl and leave the room. Ha-ha. Such a critic that cat--only loved the classics. Nice post.

Powdered Toast Man said...

my goldfish loves Mozart.

Rinelle Grey said...

That's a great way to do it. I'm rather lacking in any musical knowledge myself, but something like this could be fun.

Rinelle Grey

Garner Goings On said...

Love Chopin! Great ideas!