Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Composer & Music Study- Ludwig Van Beethoven

For our Term 1 Composer this year, we're studying the great Ludwig Van Beethoven.  I decided that as my children are older now, it would be easier for me to blog my plans and then they can go online here and take advantage of the links below to complete their assignments.  The added benefit, of course, is being able to share it with my readers as well. 

It's always important to me that they develop an "ear" for the composer we are studying and the only way to accomplish this is to have them listen, listen, and listen some more.  The blessing of studying classical composers is that there are so many free and inexpensive resources out there for this.  I try to choose a few pieces in particular that I'd love for them to recognize and then just let them enjoy a nice mix of their works.  I use Ambleside Online's Artist & Composer rotation often for links to great works and ideas for the most important pieces.  You will find they have Beethoven scheduled for 2017/2018 Term 3.  I don't use their rotations but rather try to look at who we are studying in history and/or who I have the most access to resources for.  For Beethoven, the latter was the reason I chose him first. 

The kids will be reading short biographies about Ludwig using the following books that are either free online or I was able to find at our local library. 
1- The World's Great Men of Music by Henriette Brower- Beethoven is Chapter 7
2- Story of the Great Composers - the chapter on Beethoven
3- The Heroic Symphony by Anna Harwell Celenza (I've posted a link to the book on Amazon but I was able to find it at our local library)
4-Ludwig Van Beethoven: Musical Genius by Brendan January (I also found this at our local library although it is available very inexpensively on Amazon)
5- Beethoven for Kids: His Life and Music with 21 Activities (For Kids series) - this is a wonderful resource, especially for bright elementary and middle school children and is available free if you have Kindle Unlimited.
6- Beethoven : The story of a little boy who was forced to practice by Thomas Tapper - available free online.
7- Ludwig Beethoven and the Chiming Tower Bells by Opal Wheeler - as my library doesn't carry this book, this will probably be the one I splurge on for Composer study this term.  We have used Mrs. Wheeler's composer biographies in the past with much enjoyment so I am more apt to spend on her books.
I will expect them to complete a Notebooking Page about Beethoven's life and accomplishments.  They're also to place Beethoven in their Book of Centuries, and map out his birthplace and home.  We use free notebooking pages and timeline pieces from Practical Pages, here.   Making Music Fun also has a coloring page that you could print and allow the kids to color while listening to his works.  My children still enjoy coloring while listening and they add this to their notebooking section on the musician/composer.

Listen!  As I said, they will be listening to Beethoven throughout the term.  We began the study by listening to Famous Composers by Darren Henley.  We checked this out from our library and renew it often, or return it and place it on hold again. I really should just purchase it as we listen to them more than once to hear the music and also the stories about the composers.  This audio book gives a brief biography with interesting tidbits about the composers' personalities intertwined with pieces of their music.  It's a great way to introduce the kids to the new composer for the term. 

I am going to attempt to follow the Ambleside Online recommendations for the pieces to listen to.  I like the kids to listen to each piece for a week before moving on to the next.  My hopes are that if they hear them, they will at least recognize a few pieces per composer and learn to enjoy it.

   1. Symphony 5
   2. Piano Sonata 14 (Moonlight, Opus 27) (mentioned in Famous Composers)

**I MUST add here, as I type this and test links, my 11 year old just shouted from the table where they are doing math work, "Moonlight Sonata!" See?  It works!  She remembered it from listening to Famous Composers several times.

   3. Razumovsky String Quartets Opus 59,
   4. Piano Concerto 5 (Emperor, Opus 73)
   5. Symphony 7
   6. Fidelio

I find a lot of the music at the library on CD and also online.  I often play their composer's selection while they are working on art, during lunchtime or during board games.  We spend a couple of hours a week in the van driving Chance to his classes, running errands, heading to American Heritage Girls' meetings and events, and farm shows and swaps so we often spend that time listening and enjoying the composer of the term together. 

For Beethoven, in addition to Famous Composers, we are also listening to Beethoven Lives Upstairs which I found at our local library.

We will spend all of Term 1, listening to, reading about, researching and notebooking and writing about Ludwig Van Beethoven in a Charlotte Mason style.  For more enjoyable books and links to Beethoven materials, visit Simply Charlotte Mason's page.

For some more ideas and downloads you can use with Beethoven, follow the links below:
Beethoven Lives Upstairs Lapbook from Homeschool Share
Blank Composer Notebook Pages from the Notebooking Fairy's Beethoven page
Making Music Fun's Beethoven Page with an available app
Free Beethoven MP3s
How to use the Young Scholar's Guide to Composer's for Music Study
For more outstanding links to Music & Composer study, follow us on Pinterest.

For us, studying composers a la' Charlotte Mason style, simply means, using some living books to learn about their lives and what made them great (hopefully incorporating their Christianity into things), enjoying and absorbing their music, and narrating and notebooking what we've learned. For Term 2, we will move on to Tchaikovsky, which I hope to blog about very soon.  I hope you find some of these resources helpful in your own studies.



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