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Classical Music Lapbook

Updated on January 28, 2016

Music -- the often overlooked art

Music is one of those topics that we homeschool moms know we should teach our children. But whether it's because of our own lack of knowledge, a tight homeschool budget, or just a crowded schedule, music study often gets pushed to the back burner.

This information will help you painlessly educate your children about classical music through a unit study or lapbook approach.

A Plan for Teaching Music

I have chosen to home educate my daughter with a Charlotte Mason (CM) style. The CM way to study a composer is amazingly simple!

CM recommended studying one composer in depth for one entire academic term (6-12 weeks). You simply expose your children to that artist's music over and over during that term so that they come to associate the pieces with that artist. The listening can happen anywhere, anytime -- while doing household chores, while on the road, while playing. Additionally, you can read a good biography about the composer. That's it!

Learn About the Orchestra

Before you dive into a study of a composer, you may want to back up and learn a bit about musical instruments and the orchestra. This can be a really fun unit study for all of your children, no matter how old they are! There are many great resources online for learning about the orchestra -- printables, games, and recordings.

A classic tool for learning the instruments is Peter and the Wolf, a musical composition with narration to explain the story told through the music. Kiddie Records has converted old records into MP3 formats. You can listen to Peter and the Wolf there for free! This teacher's guide from the Dallas Symphony Orchestra is excellent.

Bernstein Favorites: Children's Classics
Bernstein Favorites: Children's Classics

This is a great value as it has both Peter and the Wolf and the Carnival of the Animals.

Story of the Orchestra : Listen While You Learn About the Instruments, the Music and the Composers Who Wrote the Music!
Story of the Orchestra : Listen While You Learn About the Instruments, the Music and the Composers Who Wrote the Music!

For a review of this book and how to use it for an entire year's worth of music curriculum, visit The Homeschool Classroom.


Free Resources for Learning About the Orchestra

These fantastic links all deal with the orchestra -- instrument families, orchestra seating charts, sounds the instruments make, etc.

Online Games - about the instruments of the orchestra

These are really fun online games that will teach your children the instruments of the orchestra as they play.

Music Lapbook Photos

Click thumbnail to view full-size

Notebooking Pages - free printables

If notebooking is something you use in your homeschool, you'll want to download these free notebooking pages. Use them during your music study to record biographical information about the composers or to write descriptions of the music you hear. Or create your own notebooking pages with the graphics and images linked above.

Baroque Period - Vivaldi, Handel, and Bach

Baroque music is very rich and textured, especially in comparison with the music that came before it. During the Baroque Period, both opera and the orchestra came into being. Three of the most important contributors to music at this time were Vivaldi, Handel, and Bach.

Music of the Baroque Period


Learn about Baroque Composers

Make your composer study come alive with a more narrative approach found in these excellent music resources.

Handel at the Court of Kings
Handel at the Court of Kings

These biographies of composers written by Opal Wheeler consistently get rave reviews! Written especially for children, these books will make the time periods come alive and put a human face on the music you are listening to. There are also accompanying CDs which have the music referenced in the books. Used together, they offer a great composer study.

Mr. Bach Comes To Call
Mr. Bach Comes To Call

another in the Classical Kids series


Classical Period - Haydn, Mozart, and Beethoven

The Classical Period of music ranged from 1750 to 1820. The music had a considerably simpler texture that that of the Baroque Period. During this time, Mozart and Haydn developed the grand forms of symphony, opera, string quartet, and concerto.

Music of the Classical Period

Beethoven Lives Upstairs
Beethoven Lives Upstairs

another of the Classical Kids series


Romantic Period - Mendelssohn, Schubert, Tchaikovsky

The Romantic Period saw the development of telling a story through musical compositions. Composers began to express their cultural identity through their music by adding elements of folk songs into symphonies.Many new instruments became part of the orchestra during this time as well.The Romantic era was a golden age for virtuoso performers, so much of the music is very demanding in its technical execution.

Music from the Romantic Period

Learn About Romantic Composers


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