Charlotte Mason: Composers

Children respond well to music and Charlotte included the study of the various composers and their compositions, as a part of the overall education of her students.  Listening to and recognizing their works is an easy element to add to your studies.  We tend to not spend as much time in this area, due to my non-musically nature, but try to at least cover 2 composers per year.  Generally, I tie the composer into a holiday or era that comes within the general area of our history timeline.  Sometimes, it is purely based on the children's interest.  Using several links and online helps, I can pull a mini-unit together in no time.  Ambleside Online has several wonderful composers listed, with additional links and helps.  Again-we follow our own path, but use this site to jump start our studies.

3 important things to incorporate: 

1.  Study the composer and his/her life using good, living books.  Tie them into your history timeline as well (some use the Century Book) to help "gel" the individual into the happenings of the world at that time.
2.  Listen to several of the composers works.  Students should be able to recognize some of their compositions (mostly the famous ones-since that is what they would be more likely to come across) and know their names (usually I ask that they remember 2 or 3 titles-if they can say, "Hey that is Mozart.",  then I am pleased and feel we succeeded.  If you have really musically inclined children-then by all means, ask them to recognize more.
3.  Put some information into a notebook (using notebooking pages, copywork, handwritten narrations, bio on the composer, etc.) or mini-book/lapbook.  I usually pick on that we'll focus on more, then just do minor work on the others.  

Frederic Chopin:

both images are from


Frederic Chopin: Son of Poland, Early Years
Frederic Chopin: Son of Poland, Later Years
both by Opal Wheeler (this has a study guide that 
is helpful too-you'll need to procure that separately from the books)
Chopin (Famous Children Series)
pictures from


Product Details
The Story of Chopin in Words and Music CD

Envelope Lapbook Idea:
Once I get all the posts moved over-I will see about transferring my Scribd 
pages over to my Homeschool Launch page.

Title Page:
I printed one of the pictures for the cover from the CD that is included 
when you purchase the study package-
it's under the PDF coloring book section.
If you don't buy the package, you'd need to get the CD separately.

First Section (double page layout)
Info available on my Scribd pages What's in the Box?
for some of the pages used
The 2 maps are from Enchanted learning, but I found some free ones from ABCteach, which are listed below under the resources section. With older students, one could certainly have this be a flip up booklet, where the student would then write some info about Poland underneath the map (just fold a piece of a construction paper to size in half, glue down the backside to the book page, then include any info you want on Poland on the inside. I saw lots of stuff that could go there, such as the flag, the info on the people, industries, etc. I chose to forgo this because of my son's age [when we did this study] and the time crunch.

Second Section (double page layout with the pockets at either end):
The Piano Keys flip up book (again-just fold a sheet of construction paper in half, which fits the size of the keys image, to make this). Inside this booklet we included some basic info on pianos. How many keys (52 wht./ 36 blk.), type of instrument (keyboard)and the info on Cristofori. One could certainly do a larger study about the piano if need be, for older students-and add that info there too.

I also downloaded some sheet music worksheets, and had my son copy some lines from one of Chopin's music. And because Frederic loved to make create his own newspapers as a child, I had the boy do a front page edition of his own (both of these activities are stored in the left pocket).   I had him write the titles on some and then I took down his dictation for the story section.  

The other side has a 2 division pocket. The first one contains some coloring pictures from the Early Years, I downloaded from the CD that came with the study; and the section behind it contains the Later Years coloring pages.
  You can also put the Early and Later Year labels on the inside division sections if you would like.

the little glue down flap is under the purple piece at the top-
The Chopin's Music pieces pull-up booklet, is on Scribd too. 

Sources for pictures:
The Piano picture is for members only on ABCteach-so I cannot link it...but there should be something out there in freebie land for you to download.

ABCteach's Piano Key Image (I used this one) I suggest making it smaller (if possible) cuz it is pretty big

I actually downloaded Enchanted Learning's maps for our project. I am a member, so I have access to these images. If you too are a member, just search for map of Poland, or Poland. Map of Europe.

Music Sheet printout (I don't see this being for members only-give it a try)

Peter Tchaikovsky
image from

File:Nutcracker design.jpg
image from

Sources for Tchaikovsky and the Nutcracker Ballet 



Product Details
Tchaikovsky Discovers America by Esther Kalman and Rick Jacobson
Peter Tchaikovsky (Getting to Know the World's Greatest Composers)by Mike Venezia
The Nutcracker by Susan Jeffers


Product Details
The Story of Tchaikovsky in Words and Music


The Nutcracker Prince [VHS]

The Nutcracker Prince [VHS]
old and OK, check your library to see if you get it there
The Nutcracker 
and I found a VHS of this-pray for me people-that I can watch at least 5 mins of it

Lapbook/Notebooking Pages Ideas:

Yes, please notice the white lapbook-new product my friend is making,
 and also note the 3 hole punched strip at the side of the lapbook-
that is one of the best things since sliced bread-
now you can add one of these to your book and it pops
 into a 3 ring binder to stay safe and cozy like.

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