A Complete Music Appreciation Curriculum, Charlotte Mason Style

After many years of composer studies in our home, I have come upon a plan that I believe is very child friendly, budget friendly and gives children a sincere appreciation and understanding of classical music. I wasn't satisfied with my children just listening to music all the way up through high school but leaving without an understanding of the music itself. Some of the music was obviously better sounding than others and I was intrigued to find that the musicians' world views influenced their compositions.  I felt this was important for my students to further investigate, but only after they had developed an ear for truly good music. So, you will find a progression in the curriculum that begins with enjoyment and ends with analysis, while keeping the enjoyment intact. I hope this helps you as you plan your music studies for your own families.

Year 1
THE ORCHESTRA - Read The Orchestra by Mark Rubin and Alan Daniel. Listen to Bernstein Favorites: Children's Classics -Peter and the Wolf, Carnival of Animals.Let the children draw the story while listening if they wish.
BALLET - Read The Nutcracker by Hoffman or Vagin. Listen to Tchaikovsky: The Nutcracker Suite. Try, try, try to watch a live performance.  They are often available during the Christmas season.  Let your child get close to the orchestra.
OPERA - Read Pet of the Met by Lydia Freeman
Listen to Mozart: Magic Flute Opera.
Another option:
Read Hansel and Gretel by Rika Lesser
Listen to the Opera: Hansel and Gretel
Watch the old movie opera for children

Year 2
MEDIEVAL MUSIC-While studying this time period in history, we enjoy the music of the time.
1. "A Feather on the Breath of God: Sequences and Hymns by Abbess Hildegard of Bingen" featuring Emma Kirkby and Gothic Voices
2. "Salve Regina - Gregorian Chant" by Benedictine Monks of Saint-Maurice; Saint Maur of Clervaux
3. "A Dance In the Garden of Mirth: Medieval Instrumental Music" by the Dufay Collective


Years 3-7 are suitable as group studies for the entire family. The composers are studied in historic order. We listen to an interesting biography over three weeks, narrate frequently and then spend the rest of the term enjoying the composer's music. Generally, we draw what comes to mind as we listen. This is all we do.  NO lessons. No worksheets. Just listen and enjoy it. 

Year 3
The Story of Bach in Words and Music
Greatest Hits: Bach
The Story of Handel in Words and Music
Greatest Hits: Handel
The Story of Haydn in Words and Music
Greatest Hits: Haydn

Year 4
The Story of Mozart in Words and Music
Greatest Hits: Mozart
The Story of Beethoven in Words and Music
Greatest Hits: Beethoven
The Story of Schubert in Words and Music
Greatest Hits: Schubert

Year 5
The Story of Mendelssohn in Words and Music
Greatest Hits: Mendelssohn
The Story of Verdi in Words and Music
Greatest Hits: Verdi
The Story of Schumann (and Grieg) in Words and Music
Greatest Hits:Schumann

Year 6
The Story of Chopin in Words and Music
Greatest Hits: Chopin
The Story of Wagner in Words and Music (pronounced Vogner)
Greatest Hits: Wagner
The Story of Grieg (and Schumann) in Words and Music
Greatest Hits: Grieg

Year 7
The Story of Strauss in Words and Music
Greatest Hits: Strauss
The Story of Brahms in Words and Music
Greatest Hits: Brahms
The Story of Dvorak in Words and Music
Greatest Hits: Dvorak

Year 8
Listen to Opera For Everyone: This program is currently free and downloadable. Compare the characters with warnings in  the Proverbs.
Barber of Seville
Carmen
Madame Butterfly

Year 9
Concise Norton Recorded Anthology of Western Music 4 CD set
Music and Moments with the Masters by Quine (Classical Composers and the Christian World View section)
Gift of Music by Jane Stuart Smith, Betty Carlson, Francis A. Schaeffer
Add composers to your timeline notebook as you study them.

Year 10
Concise Norton Recorded Anthology of Western Music 4 CD set
Music and Moments with the Masters by Quine (Classical Composers and the Christian World View section)
Gift of Music by Jane Stuart Smith, Betty Carlson, Francis A. Schaeffer
Add composers to your timeline notebook as you study them.

Note: If you cannot get Quine’s book, It is possible to complete this study without it. Another good High School option is Music of the Great Composers by Kavanaugh. Your students can slowly listen to the anthology of music and read the biographies and world views of the composers in Gift of Music as they come up in the recordings. This anthology will also familiarize your family with other composers that were not covered in previous years. Make sure they read Frances Schaeffer’s How Should We Then Live? for a more in depth understanding of how the composers' world views' influenced their music.




Note: You can find all of these resources at our CM BOOKSTORE.