Learning About Composers and Music With The Story of the Orchestra

I have to confess that music appreciation is an area that I didn't study much throughout my school career. But it is something I've tried to include in our homeschool studies every year. I've found several really good resources throughout the years. And one of my favorite has been The Story of the Orchestra by Robert Levine.



The Story of the Orchestra Activities for kids
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The Story of the Orchestra and great online resources


The Story of the Orchestra introduces readers to composers, musical periods, and the orchestra. It's all narrated by Orchestra Bob. The book is written in snippets which made it great for using as a music class in our homeschool. It also includes a CD and Orchestra Bob tells readers when to play the CD. The tracks provide examples and illustrations of the content just read about. The book discusses fifteen different composers, placing them in their musical time period. It then discusses the main instruments in an orchestra by dividing them up into instrument sections as they are placed in the orchestra.

I used The Story of the Orchestra over part of one homeschool year. I didn't make a lesson plan, but I broke up our readings based on the CD track illustrations, reading until I reached a place where the CD came in and then played the CD track.

To go along with the book, I used the website Classics for Kids. This site is totally free. It has a weekly show that features a specific composer or musical piece or musical style. The shows all go along with a monthly composer theme. All of the shows are archived, so you can search for any composer you want to study. The site also has a great section about the orchestra. There are printable sheets for kids and lesson plans for teachers. It's a pretty awesome resource to be free!

Making Music Fun is another great free online resource. This site has information and printable worksheets about musical instruments and composers. And they have a whole page of printable worksheets to go along with many of the well-known composers.


Composers printables and activities suggestions


Around the web, I've found some fun printables and activities to extend the reading and learning about composers.

This blogger made a cute craft stick puzzle featuring the composer they were studying. You can use a picture of any composer, and at the end of your study you'd have a collection of composers.

Here you can find some printable resources for making a composers notebook of all of the composers you're studying.

This resources isn't free, but it's only $2 from Teachers Pay Teachers, and I think it's so cute. It's a set of coloring sheets featuring the Romantic composers.

Homeschool Share has a large list of free printable lapbook and unit studies that feature a variety of composers.

This site has some very nice free printable sheets for making a composers notebook or for a wall display.

The Story of the Orchestra Activities for kids


8 comments :

  1. Story of the Orchestra sounds like you could use it all year! And thanks for that list of resources at the end too!

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  2. Thank you for all the great resources. I took note of the first two websites you mentioned. We are currently doing piano for music but those websites will be great for future lessons, so thanks :).

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    1. You're welcome. They've been great resources for me!

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  3. Love this topic! Another book you may love that I don't see linked in the other posts either is "The Composer is Dead" by Lemony Snicket. It's a fun take on learning about composers, and once the kids have a good basis in the orchestra and orchestra musicians, they will get the jokes and really enjoy it. It's one of my favorite books about music. :)

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    1. I hadn't heard of this one, Lara, but it does sound funny. I'll have to check it out,

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