2010-11 Year in Review: Composer Study

We are super low-key about Composer Study, as you'll soon find out. If you want some more in-depth suggestions, click on over to Ambleside and do what they say. :)

I began the year with a plan to listen to Mr. Bach Comes to Call and one other CD~ the Beethoven one, I think. It's a dramatized story with some history thrown in and, of course: the music of the composers. We did listen to Mr. Bach Comes to Call, but for some reason we don't do audio CDs well here. I don't know what it is-- we listen to music just fine but for some reason it always seems too distracting in our home to tune into dialogue on a CD. (Maybe it's because I don't personally love the additional noise it creates or maybe it's because when we quieted to listen, the little girls decided that was the time to get louder. :)) I ended up setting up the CD in another room with the older three kids and entertained the little girls away from them, but that sort of defeated the purpose of doing this part of school all together. And then- I wasn't able to hear it, so I couldn't follow up on what they had heard. So I scrapped this plan and moved to Plan B, which was *really* simple:

I simply checked out various classical music CDs at the library and we listened to them. We did that for awhile~ we'd fold laundry together and listen to classical music, or I'd play it while the kids were doing their schoolwork at the table. That's it. So not really Composer *Study*, then, more like Composer Listening. ;)

Then. Mark discovered a gem of a book at a thrift store and I was (still am) over-the-moon about it. He actually found four composer biographies for about $1.99 apiece. Neither of us had never heard of these, but he showed them to me and after a quick perusal, I knew they were a find! It appears there are several more in the set, and now I'm on the lookout for them because we love them so much. I took some photos of the Peter Tschaikowsky book for you:

This is what we settled into, and it just suits us so well. The kids loved this book! Each week I read a portion of the book, and as we read, we listened to Tschaikowsky on Pandora. Easy-peasy. :)

So that's that. Next year I plan to simply delve into the other biographies we have collected.

Note: If you're interested, Zeezok Publishing has republished these Opal Wheeler biographies, and you can find them here.


Click here for an earlier post detailing another season of Composer Study in our home.

Next post: Picture Study


  1. We ADORE Opal Wheelers books- so far we have collected

    Sebastian Bach - The Boy of Thuringia
    Joseph Haydn The Merry Little Peasant
    Handel at the Court of Kinds

    We do our study just like you do. Occasionally, we will watch Youtube for the composer we are studying so that we can see an orchestra actually performing the parts.

    We listened to Mr Bach Comes to Call (and several others in that series) while driving on long car trips. It works great for something like this, but I have to agree that it just is NOISE when I try to do it here at home.

    If you ever want to borrow one of the books I listed for your upcoming composer study, I would be happy to loan any of them.


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