Music General Resource

Beck Family Musical Series

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Each set in this series contains two or three tapes and a book. The books contains the lyrics and music to a wide variety of folk tunes from around the world, hymns, and Gregorian chants. The Gregorian chants are relatively difficult, but the other songs are fairly easy to sing. I didn't know many of the songs, but we have enjoyed learning them. Each set of a book and tapes is roughly aimed at different ages, but I am having no trouble using the 4th-6th grade set with my seventh grade daughter. The sets are 1st-3rd grades, 4th-6th grades, and 7th-8th grades. The number of tapes in each set is the same as the number of grades covered. I recommend this program.

Review Date: 
1999
Reviewed by: 

Gi'Me Elbow Room, Folk Songs of A Scottish Childhood

Book cover: 'Gi'Me Elbow Room, Folk Songs of A Scottish Childhood'
Author(s): 
Bonnie Rideout
Copyright: 
1998
Publisher: 
Maggie's Music
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Three time national fiddle champion Bonnie Rideout put together an enchanting collection of songs and poems for children on this CD. She has set traditional poems and nursery rhymes (such as Bobbie Shafto and Wee Willie Winkie) to traditional Scottish tunes and includes familiar songs such as My Bonnie Lies Over the Ocean and Oh Dear, What Can the Matter Be.

The best part of the CD are the pieces of original and traditional music set to the poems of Robert Louis Stevenson and an absolutely ingenious adaption of the Yeats poem, The Fiddler from Dooney.

I cannot praise this CD enough, it is extremely well done. As part of our homeschooling we memorize poetry so my children were in awe of a Robert Louis Stevenson "song." The music is irresistable and we are all singing the songs throughout the day. The intruments used in creating the music on various pieces include the following: fiddle, viola, harp, recorder, bodhran, piano, guitar, tin whistle, ocarina, dulcimer, and if you can believe it, coffee can, tinkertoy can and kazoo.

If you and your children like traditional Irish and Scottish music, this CD would be a great addition to your collection. It can be ordered from any music store or directly from the music company.

Review Date: 
1999
Reviewed by: 

Making Music Praying Twice

Author(s): 
John and Katherine Daneluk
Illustrator(s): 
Cover Art by Shelly Dieterichs
Virginia Kearns, Margaret Kearns, Katherine Daneluk and several talented kids
Copyright: 
2008
Publisher: 
Making Music Praying Twice, Inc.
Binding: 
Softcover
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Making Music Praying Twice is a music and movement program for the young Catholic child. There are a variety of ways the parent can use the program. It can be used with your own children or with other families in a homeschool co-op or a group class for the parish. Because the program is highly adaptable, the age range is quite wide. The class could be for newborns through age 5, or toddler through second grade.

If you are familiar with the song books from days gone by like the Catholic series, We Sing and... or secular series from the same time period, this series is similar to them in that the “Children’s Songbook” includes a number of young children’s songs written as simple melodies along with the words.

The parent manual is loaded with creative ways to implement the program. Along with each song are suggestions on how to use the song, such as “play a simple beat with hands or sticks and sing the song” for Little Drummer Boy. Each song also includes "Milestones to Observe" and "Cross References". Some songs in the parent manual include guitar chords as well. This program encourages the children to actively participate with their whole bodies; either playing instruments, dancing, or using egg shakers. The back of the book includes other helpful information: glossary, suggested listening, further reading, and more.

For the parent who is not confident in sharing music with her own children, she can first listen to the CDs. The voices are pleasant to listen to, the melodies are not too complicated. To add interest, the background accompaniment varies from track to track.

A sampling of the songs include Ave Maria, Billy Boy, Did you Ever See a Lassie, Michael Row the Boat Ashore, Father I Adore You, Clementine, and many more.

If you have wanted to include music in your homeschool program for your younger children, but have been reluctant because of lack of resources or knowledge, this is an easy-to-use program that is highly adaptable to your needs.

The complete package includes five CDs, five Children’s Songbooks, and a teacher’s manual. The Children’s Songbooks include Ordinary Time—Fall, Ordinary Time—Winter, Advent-Christmas- Epiphany, Lent, and Easter—Pentecost. Items may be purchased separately.

For more information, please visit their website.

Perspective: 
Catholic
Review Date: 
6-23-2009
Reviewed by: 

Music Theory Learning Wrap-Ups: Introductory Kit

Book cover: 'Music Theory Learning Wrap-Ups: Introductory Kit'
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Kit includes four sets of 10 flashcards: Keys & Notes, Signs & Symbols, Rhythm & Vocabulary, Intervals & Chords

Our family has been enjoying Learning Wrap-Ups in a variety of subjects to drill and practice basic concepts. Each set consists of ten key-shaped plastic flash cards attached at a pivot-point with a string to wrap back and forth from question to answer. After finishing each key, simply look at the back to be sure the string matches up with the self-correcting answer key. I love how my children can study independently with these sets AND they can be used over and over again. They are sturdier and more self-contained than ordinary flash-cards (and don't get lost under the couches!). Learning Wrap-Ups may be purchased one set at a time or in money-saving multi-set kits.

This music theory kit includes four sets of Learning Wrap-Ups on Musical Theory for piano students:

Keys and Notes: Match notes on a staff to keyboard, letter notes to keyboard, notes with the same name on different staffs, fill in notes sequentially, etc. Includes some sharps and flats.

Signs and Symbols: Match musical terms (like mezzo forte and descrescendo) to their abbreviations, match musical symbols (like repeat, sharp and treble clef) with their meaning, find the relative minor for each major key, match the key with its signature in the treble clef, etc.

Rhythm and Vocabulary: Match notes to rests of equal value, match musical terms (like dolce and lento) to their English translations, match note groups of equal value, "How many counts per measure?", etc.

Intervals and Chords: Find the note to complete the chord, Match the chord with its name, Match triads to their black & white key patterns, etc.

Each set may also be purchased individually.

Review Date: 
2-21-05
Reviewed by: 

Our Musical Year: Songs of Faith, Freedom and Fun

Book cover: 'Our Musical Year: Songs of Faith, Freedom and Fun'
Publisher: 
Highnote Solutions
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Level 1 (1st and 2nd grade) includes 93 songs
130 pg. spiral-bound manual and two CDs - one learning CD and one sing-along (instrumental)
Level 2 (3rd-6th grade) includes 91 songs
142 pg. spiral-bound manual and 3 CDs. Includes music instruction and basic theory lessons
We've had a lot of frustration with finding a good music program for our family. We were unable to use the songbook that came with our package curriculum because I did not know most of the songs and we don't have a piano or the ability to properly play them if we did. When I tried to find recordings of the songs from the songbook, I was told it was out of print. I looked for other songbooks with tapes or CDs to go along with it but I was not happy with the ones I bought. They either did not have the traditional Catholic songs for children or when I was able to find some of the music for the songs I wanted my children to learn, there was no words for it to help them follow along. Also, it was very difficult to teach them when there was other children singing on the tape. I had a hard time getting them to put forth any effort and participation in music class and felt they were not learning much about music.

Finally, we purchased Our Musical Year at a homeschool conference. Since we have started using the book and music in this program, our children have increased their participation so much because they enjoy it and I feel they are really learning. Now they want to use it not only for music class, but also for fun. They are already singing some of the songs around the house and we have only used it a few times. I feel it is well worth the money because I can use it for more than one year and for more than one student. Also I think of all the money I wasted on other things to try to help me teach music class. I really like how the book is set up to go along with the liturgical year and the fun and patriotic songs are great too. I feel these are the kind of songs I want my children singing instead of what they hear on the radio. They are not just learning songs to sing either. They are learning about how music works with the notes going up and down. The learning CD is slow enough and clear so they can really hear the notes and they can understand the musical terms I teach them. This is my first year home schooling my 7 year old and 4 year old. We also have a 1 1/2 year old and a baby due this summer. This is just what I have been looking for all year long. Now I will feel better prepared for next year.

Sample lessons may be downloaded from the publisher's website.

Perspective: 
Catholic
Review Date: 
6-5-02
Reviewed by: 

Wee Sing: Around the World

Book cover: 'Wee Sing: Around the World'
Copyright: 
1994
Publisher: 
Price Stern Sloan
Number of pages: 
64 pages
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This audio tape or CD and booklet take you around the world, continent by continent, by introducing you to favorite folks songs or children's songs from each country. Someone from each country introduces themselves in their own language and then in English and the song is sung in each language as well. The booklet includes all the words to the songs in the native language and English, simple piano notation and guitar chords. There are charming illustrations including each country's flag. You'll also find a little description of each country. This has been our family's very favorite tape in the Wee Sing series.

See and hear samples on the Wee Sing Website

Review Date: 
1999
Reviewed by: