The Music Study Approach
The study of music will be conducted in much the same way as the study of artists. While a bulletin board filled with images may not be necessary, it would be helpful to post a picture of the composer being studied. On the other hand, it will be important to include music selections from your chosen composer and play them during the week as often as you can for each week devoted to the study of your composer.
General Approach to a Music Study
1. Choose a composer and then 5-8 selections of their music.
2. Find a biography of your composer by either choosing a children's book, a chapter from a book of composer biographies or printed pages from an online source.
3. Find your chosen music selections from either a CD, online source or other electronic device and have them organized for easy play retrieval.
4. Post the picture of your composer and read the biography. For older students, you may wish to include some notes about the musical period for which your composer is categorized (Baroque, Classical, Romantic and Modern).
5. After your introductory lesson, listen to one music selection. Children should remain quiet during this time, but, if it helps, could be doing something relatively noiseless with their hands (knitting, drawing, building with LEGO, etc.). Be sure to keep the selections time length appropriate for the ages of the children. Let each child share their thoughts about the piece. You might even wish to have them draw whatever the music inspires in them while listening. Afterwards, share the drawings and discuss them.
6. Each additional lesson will focus on a new music selection. Always allow a few minutes to discuss the piece before moving on to something else.
7. When all of the selections have been heard, you may wish to have your students choose their favorite. If you'd like to have them complete a notebook page, such as the one used for the artist study, this is the time to complete this. The notebook page allows your students to review the main biographical points of the composer, review all of the pieces covered, share their thoughts and ideas about their favorite piece and even could share one they did not like, always including how they've arrived at their thoughts and opinions. The notebook page should not feel restrictive but can include required components. For example, you may have the page require some basic biographical information about the composer, a list of the music selections you studied and then from this point on give the child the freedom to share their own connections to the composer and the music.
8. A narration can be written for a composer's piece of music; it would be similar to the art study narration but with obvious adaptations.