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Hands-On Music History

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Home School in the Woods has become a favorite of ours! We have now been reviewing the Composers Activity-Pak, which is part of their collection of Hands-On History Activity-Paks. We previously reviewed a couple of their a la carte items if you’d like to find out more about their extensive variety of products.

This in-depth music unit study set covers history (obviously) but also music theory, the orchestra, composers, instruments, and a bunch of well-known songs to add an auditory component.

Composer Lap Book

The lap book is the meat of this Activity-Pak. It has a bunch of different pieces! I’m so glad they give detailed instructions on how to put things together, including some images of the process. I also like that they label each printable page so you don’t get confused if you print it all at once.

Each page is labeled by activity and page number

We did one activity from the lapbook; the “keyboard vocabulary,” as my girls liked the keyboard image (it’s familiar to them as they get to bang around on the piano at their grandparents’ house). This includes vocab of the types of musical pieces such as “sonata” and “fugue,” and covers different terms you’d see in sheet music, such as “forte.”

Peeking at the definitions behind each vocab word

The Orchestra

We also assembled and played around with the orchestra seating chart. This is made using a separate file folder and it features four different seating charts depending what musical era we are learning about. We talked about the sounds each instrument makes and what category each might fall into (strings, brass, woodwind, percussion). I may or may not have been imitating the instruments, much to their chagrin.

The orchestra seating chart covers instruments from the baroque, classical, romantic, and modern eras

There is so much more for us to get to with the Composers Activity-Pak! Other activities include:

  • Composer timeline
  • “Pieces with a Purpose,” which has cut-outs that represent different items like a CD player or hymn book, with a blurb about each
  • Composer cards with space to write facts about each (a great research project)
  • Music appreciation writing/drawing sheets (I like that this has an area for drawing for children who are not ready or able to write yet)
  • Periods of music mini-book
  • Composer cards, which can be used like a Go Fish game

We enjoyed listening to the included audio files. Some are longer and some are excerpts. These technically go with the music appreciation sheets. Still, the kids loved listening to these as orchestra music is not something they hear too often. We talked about how the music tells a story and what emotions it can invoke. I should have printed off the music appreciation sheets for this, but we did discuss it orally. This is one of the first things we did, but now that we’ve done some of the other activities, I think we can better incorporate the terms we have learned.

We can take as long as we’d like to finish these up and incorporate this info into other unit studies as the years pass. The activities are created with file folders and cardstock so they are pretty durable if you keep them in a safe spot. In addition, there is also a list of extra resources to use as supplements to the materials provided directly by Home School in the Woods. These are very customizable so you can create the exact unit study you desire for your own family.

I tend to get overwhelmed with a lot of pieces to put together and this is really my only hangup with Home School in the Woods. But as I use more of their products, I’ve learned to only print and assemble as we go. You only have to put each part together once, and if your kids are older and more responsible with scissors and glue, you can delegate this to them. Mine are 6 and 4 so they are limited on what I let them do for these (although since it’s a printable product, I could just print a page again if necessary). Some parts can be tricky to cut out! But again, once it’s done, it’s done, and you can use it for so many activities and learning experiences.

Overall, this is a wonderful product to introduce your kids to classical music, music history, and to learn about instruments and the people who play them.

Home School in the Woods JUST released their latest and final addition to their Project Passport collection! You can check out Project Passport: Ancient Rome right here. This is a huge unit study with 25 “stops” and includes over an hour and a half of audio dramas. This sounds so fun!

Please read more reviews from the Homeschool Review Crew! There are a whopping 90 of us reviewing homeschool history products across the board.

One reply to Hands-On Music History

  1. This looks like a really fun way to learn and I will have to try this with my children!

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