February 25, 2011

Ludwig Van Beethoven

We begin our composer studies of Beethoven with Opal Wheelers Ludwig Van Beethoven and the chiming bell towers. I purchased a set of her books from Vision forum with a discount deal they had last Christmas. And what a deal that was. Eight books, the study guides, the music Cd's and the coloring pages, and sheet music of the selections on the CD's for less than you would pay if you bought the books alone seperately. The boys colored these pictures while I read to them from the book.

There are two pictures for each chapter.

The story is a wonderful introduction to Beethoven as a person and well understood by children. You sense his love for nature, people and of course music. The story leaves out many of the ugly and negative aspects of this composer and allows you to see him in a good light. My boys just loved him once they had heard the this story of his life.

Some days we took time away from the story to listen to the music itself. We used this music appreciation form from Home School in the Woods composer activity pack and drew a picture of what pictures the music painted in our minds as we listened. ALL three boys said, "I see a guy sitting at a pian playing music" :) are they all realists?

Once we finished the Opal Wheeler book I introduced Beethoven as a figure in history with this time line of the composers from the HTTA composer activity pack. This activity pack is going to ba an ongoing project for us for the next 3-4 years. Great stuff in it though. I can't wait to do the orchestra activities with them once Beethoven is finished.

 Next, we began to listen to Beethoven lives upstairs by Classical Kids. This was truely a delight. The story is told by a littel boy named Christoph whose mother has rented their upstairs room to Beethoven soon after his hearing had gone completely away. It does a wondeful job of introducing the negative aspects of Beethovens personality in a way that leads the listener to feel compassion and to understand why Beethoven may have been so unrulely and rude at times. We listened to the story in six scenes. We bought the classical classroom set because it was less expensive than buying each of the clasical kids compser Cd's indiviually. The classroom set came with a scene by scene teachers guide with lesson ideas for all ages. While we listened to a scene we would continue colring the coloring pages from the opal wheeler books. Then we would do an activity from the teachers guide.

For one of the activities, We listened to Christoph telling his uncle in a letter about the things that were on Beethovens desk and around his room. I found images of these things and created this copywork page to paste them onto.

Next we listened to The Story of Beethoven. A great deal at less than $2 for the CD. This version of his life story was filled with music we did not hear so much on the other two stories. The narrator tells the story of Beethoven's life from birth until his death and describes why and for what purposes for the music Beethoven wrote as the story is told. This story we listened to in two sittings while we worked on the Van Gogh starry night murals.

That is the end.

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