Should aim at studying 6 pieces by one composer per term. This can be done as a family. The PNEU programmes always scheduled the same composer for the entire family or school. All the Composer lessons are below the guidelines on this lesson page.
Forms 2 and up:
You may utilize The Book Of Great Musicians and The Second Book of Great Musicians by P. Scholes as nice living composer biographies/introductions to music history to accompany their listening and lessons if there is time or in the afternoons for an occupation/free read. These books have short bios as well as information about music genres and history. You will want to select the section of the book that fits with the composer you are studying. The content of these two books is pretty much in chronological order. I have included the table of contents to help you select which book you will need to read from based on the composer you are studying. (Form 1 students were rarely assigned a living biography to read in the PNEU programmes, but there is no harm in them listening in to a family read aloud if they are interested. I would recommend that when they indicate they are done that you excuse them, because knowing the music is really the main point of the lessons.)
You may also use other living, biography books that you own, as desired. Here is another on that is mentioned in the Parents’ Review:
Story-Lives of Master Musicians by Brower
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Sample Music Appreciation Lesson – Handel
Handel: Year 1, Term 1
Parents and Teachers should print The Term’s Music – Handel PDF for the term and read the Biography ahead of the term to prep for this term’s study of Handel. The musical pieces for the term are listed below the guidelines and also linked to YouTube. Another fabulous biographical Christian resource for teachers is A Gift of Music: Great Composers and Their Influence by Jane Stuart Smith and Betty Carlson – Handel is pg. 39 and they list other great listening options for him as well! You can purchase it on Amazon fairly cheaply used.
Living Biographies for Older Students to read on their own:
The Master of the Musicians; A Story of Handel’s Days
Studies of the Great Composers: pg. 22-59
Remember your Lesson Guidelines:
- At least 30 Minutes per week
- If your children play an instrument, try to find pieces that are by this composer and easy enough to play.
- The Division of your lesson:
- At least one quarter of the time [about 8-10 minutes] available should be devoted to Ear Training [Sol-fa – hearing pitch and rhythm or possibly things to be listening for in a particular piece of music]-Progressive lessons each term – Review Sol-fa or practice listening to some part of the song that they should listen carefully for. Maybe clap a common rhythm from the piece or sing the theme to prepare them to listen for it in the piece.
- After ear training, a short space of time should be devoted to acquainting the pupils with the basics of music–the meaning of common musical terms, the instruments of the orchestra. The information should be severely practical, care being taken not to burden the minds of the pupils with lists of technical terms. Attention focused on things such as the historical growth of the different musical forms, the evolution of the orchestra and the keyboard instruments, not on the names of chords or types of counterpoint. This information can be found in the PDF on Handel, online or possibly in the Biographies about him as well. You will learn more as a parent if you do a little digging yourself for some of this information. But remember, a little digging and very short space of time given to sharing this information as the music is the “main thing”!
- The remainder of the time should be devoted to studying the composer of the term. The chosen biographies (this refers to the main PDF articles I have attached from The Term’s Music) are chosen with reference to the teacher rather than the pupil. The teacher uses what she learns from the article and helps to make the composer a living personality, and the composer should be linked up as far as possible with any pre-existing facts in the minds of the pupils regarding the times in which he lived, Music should be fitted into the scheme of history-study, and not left isolated and use should be made of the history charts.
- Having prepared the ground, as the climax of the lesson, we turn to the actual music of the composer. Each syllabus (in The Term’s Music PDF and below with you tube videos) consists of five or six works.
- The children must not be given too much at a time. After awhile they will stop listening, but please do listen to the same song enough times they know it, as a friend.
- No piece must be left before the children are able to recognise it and really know it: “It is better to work thoroughly at two or three items in the syllabus than attempt to compass the whole superficially… Each piece of music should be mastered before passing on to the next… Before any attempt at a dissection of the structure of the music is made, the pupils should be familiarized with the thematic material of the movement, each tune in turn being played through several times, until the class can hum or whistle it without assistance.” TTM – Glover
Programme of Music
(1) “The Harmonious Blacksmith”
(2) Prelude, Air and Variations : from “Three Lessons”
(3) Violin Sonata in F and here’s the Free Score to Follow along with the lesson suggestions.
(4) (a) “He shall feed His Flock” (Messiah) (I have added Handel’s Messiah here as well. In Mason’s day, when they didn’t have gramophones or CD players, they chose music that could be played live on piano, violin or sung. This choral piece is one you don’t want to miss!)
(b) “Ombra mai fu” Start the recording at 3 min. to see beginning of the opera or 5 min. to just hear the first Aria “Ombra mai fu” This opera recording is done in English. Here is “Ombra mai fu” in Italian, the original language. Try to listen to both languages to become familiar with the melody. (From the Opera: Serse or Xerxes) (More about the Aria)
(5) Concerto Grosso, Op. 6: No. 10 in D Minor
Other suggested Listening:
“L’Allegro ed il Penseroso”
Concerti Grossi (op. 3)
Concerto in B Flat for Harp and Orchestra
Concerti for Organ
Dettingen Te Deum
Israel in Egypt
Royal Fireworks Music