Composer Studies for Older Children

Oct 16, 2013

How to conduct composer studies with the 8 - 13 year old homeschool student.

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Today is Day #3 of my 10-day series, Composer Studies for Young Scholars

Yesterday, I explained how to conduct composer studies with young children, using the Charlotte Mason method. I use that method with children up to about the ages of 7 or 8 years of age.

It is perfectly acceptable to continue that process with older children. However, I prefer to add a little "meat" to their studies once they can read and write. 

The way I do that is by using A Young Scholar's Guide to Composer Studies. This is what I am currently using with Lorelai, my 10-year-old daughter. I want to share with you some of the features and how we use this curriculum. 

Features of A Young Scholar's Guide to Composers

A Young Scholar's Guide to Composers comes complete with the following:
  • 32 weekly lessons
  • 26 composer bios
  • Timelines
  • Maps
  • Folderbook activities
  • Coloring pages
  • Note-taking pages
  • Student Review Questions

What I like about this composer curriculum

Lorelai and I enjoy using this curriculum. Often times, we find ourselves sitting at the dining room table after dinner, with the laptop (for playing the compositions) and this curriculum workbook, doing impromptu lessons. Here are a few things we like about it.

Chronological order
The curriculum explains 6 eras of music followed by 26 composer studies in chronological order, which is how we study all history in our home. 

Organized and Easy to Use

The teacher's guide, student workbook, games, composer info-cards --everything-- is in one book. Even if I have no time for planning ahead, I can conduct these composer studies. That's very helpful in our home. I'm a working, single mom with children who have unpredictable sleep patterns. Rarely do days go the way I hope they will. 

This curriculum is open-n-go. It provides a 4-day schedule telling us which activities to do for the day. 

Charlotte Mason Friendly
With these lessons we are able to continue composers studies with the same format we used for composer studies in the younger years. It's slightly different in that we aren't doing music and composers on alternating days, but it gives children more exposure to the music itself by having them listen daily. It also offers hands-on activities.

The #1 selling point for Lorelai is the hands-on activities. The coloring pages, folderbooks, maps, games and other activities included in this curriculum are a motivation for her. 

Although she has no learning challenges, she's not big on reading. She'd much rather do activities than read. Knowing she'll have a note-taking page to fill out or a coloring activity helps her to get through the reading part to get to the "fun" part.

I enjoy the folderbooks with her. I've never liked lapbooks (I think it's the Type-A in me that can't stand complicated activities that make messes.) but I don't mind these folderbooks at all. 

How we use A Young Scholar's Guide to Composers

We basically follow the schedule in the book. I've expanded on it to my own liking a little but this is how we use it. 


  1. Listen to the recommended composition
  2. Read the lesson or bio.
  3. Fill in the note-taking pages or answer the review questions.
  1. Listen to the recommended composition again.
  2. Fill in the Composer-Info card. (These cards contain the composer's name, musical period, birth and death dates, birthplace, 3 facts about the composer, names of 2 compositions by the composer)
  3. Color in the timeline.
  4. Match the composer to his birthplace on the map.
  5. Complete a coloring page
  6. Create a folderbook for these materials. (A folderbook is a quicker, simpler form of a lapbook using only a folder.)
Listen to the recommended composition again. 


  1. Say the name of the composer.
  2. Say the name of the composition.
  3. Play the composition.

Who would benefit from this composer study curriculum? 

A Young Scholar's Guide to Composers is for the homeschool parent who...
  • Has a child ages 8-13
  • Wants an open-n-go curriculum
  • Wants to add a little more substance to their composer studies
  • Has a child who enjoys hands-on activities
  • Enjoys lapbooks
  • Doesn't enjoy lapbooks (like me!)
  • Wants to keep the Charlotte Mason style of conducting composer studies
Special Notes about this curriculum
The authors of this curriculum take a Christian approach in their thought processes. As a person who prefers to use secular materials, I have no issue with this particular curriculum.

I haven't found that I need to explain or adjust anything to my own Christian beliefs. If you are a secular, non-Christian homeschooler, it would be very easy to filter out the religious statements from your lessons.

How can you own A Young Scholar's Guide to Composers? 

This curriculum is currently available as an eBook for $24.95 or on CD-Rom for $29.95. You may purchase directly from Bright Ideas Press's website

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Happy Homeschooling!


  1. I really appreciate the way you clearly & concisely layout your review of these materials. I am definitely interested in this curriculum. Keep up the excellent work -- you're doing a great job for your kids & for so many other kids, too!

  2. My son is enjoying piano lessons, as well as listening to classical or jazz music. I find that the layout for this curriculum would be an additional bonus to his interest....The added outline to the composers is also a plus...The authors of this curriculum take a Christian approach in their thought processes. Would be a great addition to our love of learning.

  3. That looks great! I want to get something like this for my youngest. He's 9 and LOVES music. ;)

    1. It's a fabulous program and very affordable. We love it.


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