Tuesday, April 10, 2018

A Review of Music Appreciation I from Memoria Press

Little Miss plays piano and she is finishing up her third year of piano lessons later this spring.  Even though she loves to play piano, we have never really spent much time learning more about the music she plays and the history of music.  I wanted to change that for her.  This is why I was happy to receive Music Appreciation I from Memoria Press to review recently.
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Memoria Press is a family-run publishing company that was started in 1994.  They produce simple classical Christian education materials for home schools and private schools.  Since 1994 this company has grown a lot and they offer various subjects of study for preschool through twelfth grade.  They even offer an online academy for grades 3-12.  They are definitely a resource that I check when I am searching for curriculum in our school.

The Music Appreciation I set that we received includes the book and 2 CD's.  It is intended for students in grades 3-5 and teaches about Western classical music.  The book we received included text for reading, musical selections that you could either play if you could read music or listen to on the CD's, and review tests with answer keys.  The book has 26 chapters that are broken down into sections.  The sections are: Listen, A Little History, Musical Concept, About the Piece, Music History, Facts to Remember, and Listen Again.  Each chapter focuses on a different composer for your student to learn about along with musical terms and concepts that apply to the lesson.  You do not have to have musical knowledge or a background in music theory to use this book or teach from it.
I thought that learning more about music history and theory would help Little Miss in her piano lessons.  She learns a lot like me and if I know the background of what I am learning, the concepts are easier for me to grasp.  I also thought that learning more detailed information about the history and theory of all the different styles of music (her piano teacher does a fantastic job of teaching of discussing the basics of these concepts) would motivate her in her piano lessons.
Once we received this set, I read over how to use them.  I decided that it would be best to study each chapter over a few days.  The reading was already broken into sections and that made it easy for me to assign Little Miss a small part or two each day.  We would listen to the piece for the chapter and then I would have her read section II to me which was the history.  This is where we learned about the composer, their life, and the history of the piece of music we were listening to.  The next day I would have Little Miss read about the Musical Concept.  This is where we learned about form, movements, melody, concertos, and much, much more.  Then she would either listen to the tracks that demonstrated the musical concepts or she would try to play the pieces on her piano.  Very early on she could read the music and play it on her piano, but as we got a little further in, the pieces got too complicated for her to play so we would just listen.  We also usually read the "About the Piece" section on this day as well.  There were always a lot of interesting things to learn from this section of reading too.  Sometimes we learned the reason why the piece was created and other times we learned the theme of the piece, how it was played, or about movement in the piece.  The last day of each chapter, we read the "Music History," "Facts to Remember," and "Listen Again" sections.  These sections taught us about different styles of music, different musical terms (some my daughter has learned already and some she has not), and interesting facts.  Did you know that Johann Sebastian Bach had twenty children?  The "Listen Again" section had us listen for very specific things to see if we could hear them and pick them out.  It taught Little Miss to listen closer to all the music she hears which reiterates what her piano teacher has been saying about listening closely for a long time.
At first Little Miss wasn't very excited about learning Music Appreciation.  She is my reluctant piano player even though her musical ability is a gift from God and something we are highly encouraging.  Once she started reading the chapters and reading about different composers, she started enjoying this Music Appreciation I set.  She thought all the background information was cool to learn and I even heard her telling some of the "Facts to Remember" to her dad one night when he asked her about school.  For Little Miss, the Music Appreciation confirms what she has been learning in piano lessons and it helps her to know why she can't just rush through the technique and theory in her lessons.  It has also encouraged her to practice more so that she can learn new skills and play harder pieces.  We have both enjoyed learning from this Music Appreciation I since I have her read the lessons aloud.  Little Miss's favorite part of the lessons is the listen again so that she can listen for the fine details in the music.  She likes to see if she can pick out what they tell her to listen to.  She is looking forward to learning about more composers.  We have many more to learn about since we just finished up chapter 10.  The only complaint I have about this set is that the track numbers in the book for the CD do not match up to the track numbers in the CD menu so we struggle to figure out if we are listening to the right track, but I think we have listened to the right ones so far.

If you are looking to study music, I would definitely recommend this Music Appreciation I from Memoria Press.  It is thorough, detailed, and keeps your attention.  You can learn more about it here.  You can learn more about the other curricula that Memoria Press offers by clicking here.  I know I want to check out their First Form Latin for future use in our school.  You can also learn more about all that Memoria Press offers on their social media accounts on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Google+, Instagram, and YouTube.  Please also check out the reviews from my friends on the Homeschool Review Crew by clicking on the banner below.  We got the opportunity to review several products from Memoria Press so I am looking forward to checking them all out.
Spelling, Music Appreciation & Latin {Memoria Press Reviews}


  1. Thank you so much for your review. I am interested in this product and it helped to hear how you used it with Little Miss :) :)

  2. Totally agree about the track numbers not matching the book! LOL! I went through and wrote them in the book so I didn't have to count them out each time or guess! As a piano teacher myself, I can affirm that this book is an EXCELLENT addition for any music student. I'm glad Little Miss is enjoying it.


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