As a Charlotte Mason educator, music appreciation is important to our homeschooling. We strive to learn about different types of music, early in homeschooling. Things like outdoor concerts and patriotic concerts are something we attempt to do often.
We all know how important music is to our lives, but music appreciation is more than just enjoying listening to your favorite kind, but also to experience classical music. Charlotte Mason introduced her students to the classical music that was prevalent in her world and still is in ours. This is what makes it classic! It is amazing how intrigued a person becomes when giving classical music a try!
Allow me to introduce to how Charlotte Mason Would Teach Music Appreciation:
One Composer for a Term – She broke her school year up into terms and introduced one composer during that term, with a new musical piece to listen to daily for the week. You can decide what a term would look for in your home school and from that, decide how many musical pieces would need to be studies during that time.
Study the Composer as a Person – To become familiar with a person is to understand them. Charlotte Mason knew that and had her children become introduced to the composers they study through biographies. Today, we have the wonderful resource of visual biographies in the form of DVDs and my favorite resources for this is the Devine Entertainment's 6 Set of Composers DVDs. I love how these bring to life the composer and their work before your eyes, literally drawing in those watching, while learning of the life of the composer and learning what influenced them in their music
Introduce the Music – At the beginning of the week, Charlotte Mason would have the children listen to one of the musical pieces of the composer. They would become familiar with the name of the piece and listen to watch instruments could be identified by listening, the tempo, the mood and often times hear a story within the music.
Learn the Music – Music often took form in learning an instrument and replicating the piece of music on the instrument that was being learned.
Go to a Concert – Attending a concert when pieces of music will be played that has been studied for the term is a rewarding thing for your family to experience it in person. If a concert can't be enjoyed, you may want to find a youtube video of a piece being played.
Music appreciation was an important part of Charlotte Mason's method of educating. Her recommendations are still top favorites in our day, proving that good things last a long time and can be cherished by many different generations.
Just like her method in teaching art, Charlotte Mason believed in introducing something to the child and then allowing the relationship to form between the child and subject, resulting in a true education.
Here is the list of 10 Composers Charlotte Mason Would Want Your Kids to Know:
Ludwig van Beethoven – He was a German composer, as well, that lived until the early 1800's. One of my favorite pieces to introduce to my children is his Ninth Symphony, not because of the popularity of the music but because of the story behind its first being played in public. I won't share the story, because it is worth you digging in and find this inspirational and touching story of one of the most popular pieces in classical history.
Johannes Brahms – Another one of Germany's great composers, Johannes lived until the late 1800's. I would recommend introducing Symphony No 1 (4th Movement) as a great piece of his.
Frederic Chopin – A Polish composer living until the mid-1800's, when he died at just 39. A good piece to introduce to children is his Opus 7 No 2.
Edvard Grieg – A Norwegian composer who died in the early 1900's was instrumental (yes, I love to play on words) in bringing his country international recognition through is music. You may enjoy listening to In Der Halle Des Bergkonigs.
George Frideric Handel – Another German born composer, who lived until the 1700's, is most famous for his beautiful work of the Messiah. It is truly a must listen to piece!
Wolfgang Mozart – One of the most popular composers who also was born in Germany and lived to the late 1700's. His pieces have been shown to be great to listen to while children do quiet play or work, like math, as it engages the side of the brain best for these things. Here is a selection for Tuning Up the Mind and on for Relaxing, Daydream and Draw that I would highly recommend.
Peter Tchaikovsky – A Russian composer who lived until the late 1800's is one of the composers that is widely recognized for his works: The Nutcracker and Swan Lake.
Vivaldi – You must introduce your children to the Four Seasons, which is one of my favorite pieces of classical music. The tempo of each piece can almost be felt, as you listen to the seasons being played within your ears.
Here are some good selections of these composers who Charlotte Mason would want your kids to know: