Rainbow Price: $28.95
At least three music courses (for beginners – either in age or experience) in one user-friendly, family-oriented package: music appreciation/history, reading music, and making/enjoying music. We all have this nagging idea that we really ought to be doing something about music but don't know exactly what. Or perhaps you're one of those moms who recognize that there are tremendous advantages for your children (spiritually, emotionally and mentally) when enjoying music is part of your daily lives but you can't imagine how you'll fit one more thing into your busy lives and homes. Marcia Washburn makes it easy for us by leading us step-by-step and providing a wealth of online resources to broaden that experience. You don't need to be able to read music or recognize one composer from another or spend a lot of money or time gathering resources. The author even assures us that this product has been "field-tested to ensure that musically illiterate adults can confidently use it with their children."
Beethoven Who? is an ebook, or in other words, pdf files on CD-ROM, readable from your computer. This ebook-on-CD format is perfect for providing quality information, hands-on activities, games, reproducible listening sheets and listening suggestions in an affordable package. AND, there are links – lots of links – to quality internet sources for listening to orchestra-performed and artist-performed pieces (classical, traditional, folk, patriotic, and sacred music). Many of the listening links also provide video footage so you get a great view of each instrument in the orchestra.
As we mentioned earlier, coverage of all things introductory and basic to music appreciation and enjoyment are included. The first section – Listening to Music – provides an overview of the elements of music (terms and basic info) followed by a period-by-period examination of major composers, musical instruments, historical setting, and notable pieces. In this section are briefly annotated (the author tells what to expect and look for) links to orchestras performing various pieces as well as video re-enactments such as costumed musicians playing period instruments while floating on the Thames River in England and even flash mob versions. The links are designed to build in you and your children appreciation for the music involved and to just plain enjoy a huge variety of musical experiences. In this section you'll find descriptions of the various periods (Baroque, Classical, Romantic, Impressionistic, and Twentieth Century), short biographical sketches (with full-color pictures) of the major composers within each, examples of their major works, and lots of interesting odds and ends about both composers and works. To give you just a bit of an idea of the care that has gone into making the video link selections, consider the Flight of the Bumblebee (a work of the Romantic period composer Rimsky-Korsakov). Links for this piece include an orchestra (so you can see how fast their fingers need to move), the record-holder for the fastest violin version, a master violinist (Perlman) performance, a number of solo instruments each playing the piece (oboe, bassoon, clarinet, soprano recorder, and tuba), a Canadian Brass comedic version, a Disney cartoon shortened version, and, lastly, a boogie-woogie rendition on the piano. Notes on these links include observing that at 1:55 the pianist is smiling at an audience member (boogie-woogie) and a caution not to read the comments on the clarinet link (inappropriate content).
The second section – Reading Music – covers all the basics providing a wealth of reinforcing activities. Reproducible masters are often included for memory games or bingo, for instance, as well as using a variety of rudimentary, homemade musical instruments (toilet paper tube maracas, oatmeal container drums, metal bottle cap tambourines, and a drinking glass orchestra – all instructions included). Music Reading, Pitch, Rhythm, and Dynamics are all covered. Activities are easy and fun to do and will involve your entire family in a musical exploration adventure.
Section 3 – Making Music – transported me back to my grade school days and had me agreeing with the author that American folk and traditional songs – once learned in elementary school music classes like mine – are disappearing from our culture. You'll appreciate her determination not to let that happen as you listen through her list of not-to-be-missed songs: action songs (London Bridge), love/friendship songs (Bicycle Built for Two), animal songs (Itsy, Bitsy Spider), work songs (I've Been Working on the Railroad), patriotic songs (America the Beautiful), and sacred songs (hymns such as A Mighty Fortress and children's songs such as Jesus Loves the Little Children). Trust me, I've only scratched the surface of her many, many suggestions here. Again, there are a multitude of annotated links and often, historical and cultural anecdotes. She ends this section with suggestions for ways you can make music together as a family and ways to incorporate musical experiences into your everyday family life. A series of appendices include How to Use the Links in the Book, an Elements of Music Chart, a master for Sample Listening Sheets, a Resources list, and a Glossary of Terms. There is also a complete index for the entire e-book./
You can probably tell that I'm excited about the potential of this product to open the lives of our children to musical experiences, some noble, some mundane. There's over 300 pages of musical information, countless links, reproducibles, and, most importantly, the sense that "I can do this!" ~ Janice