Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Zeezok Music Appreciation - A Schoolhouse Crew Review

Review Crew
In early March I learned I would be part of the group of Crew members who would receive the products from Zeezok Publishing LLC to review.

A couple of weeks later we received a fabulous package containing the complete program of Music Appreciation Book 1: for the Elementary Grades for our use. Even though I have a 16 year old son (no younger students), I requested this review to use as a part of my son's Music Appreciation course. Materials written for younger students can still benefit older students. Older students often get more out of the information, or retain more of the facts. The parent teacher can also supplement the program with more resources to bring the program to a higher level.

This Music Appreciation package includes books, with CDs of related musical pieces, to study Mozart, Beethoven, Haydn, Handel, Bach, Schubert, and Paganini. We were asked to let the Crew leadership know which one composer we wished to focus on for the review. That was a difficult choice -- it is such a great selection of composers! I settled on Mozart, though, so he has been the focus of our studies since we received the materials.

The materials arrived, and there was initial sorting, exploring, and trying to remember who we were starting with. Then the biography was pulled out, and the reading began.
Confusion ensued... How much do I read? Where are the assignments? We pulled back together to regroup. Key important resource, the student workbook! We were back in business with knowing how the program was set up and what to do when.  

Note that the workbook is 3-hole punched! Down the road I might put Music Appreciation into a 3" 3-ring binder with dividers for each composer! If you add duct tape to the lapbook and hole-punch it, you can store it in the 3-ring binder with the workbook! But I get ahead of myself...

In addition to the Music Appreciation program (which includes the workbook, composer biographies, and a box of music disks) we received the lapbook CD. It contains PDF lapbooks for each of the included composers.

The program can be used without the lapbooks, but the workbook is clearly designed to be used with the lapbook, assigning the student to do things in the lapbook as the student works through the assignments.

Printing a lapbook on your own printer uses a lot of ink, and my husband says it is less expensive to just go to a local shop to get your print outs. I downloaded my lapbook from the CD to a portable drive and headed to Kinkos. At our shop the black and white copies were $0.15 a page, but the color pages were $0.75 a page. I printed one or two pages in color, but printed the rest in B/W. My student can color it in later if he wants to.

So my student is not a lapbook kinda kid, but I'm a lapbook kinda mama, so I did a lot of the lapbook creation with only a little help from my student. 

Since the lapbook isn't his thing, it was mostly put together all at once rather than step-by-step while going through the workbook. That's a confusing way to do it, though. I didn't print out the sample photos or the instructions from the CD, and one of the lapbook pages come out of the workbook! We finally got it all figured out with a little help from another Crew member answering a question!

My son really enjoyed learning about Mozart, the Wonder Boy! I did, too. And I learned that in spite of my son's age, this program would have been better covered together (the two of us, teacher and student). There are places in the workbook that say things like, "Listen to music, Disk 4, track 25". My student wasn't keen on completing that type of assignment...

I have really enjoyed adding Zeezok Music App to our studies this spring. While this is targeted towards the Elementary Grades, we still found it enjoyable for a high schooler and an adult. It would not be sufficient to count for a high school credit (and doesn't claim to be), but when added to our other work we have done in composer studies it is a valuable and valid addition to my student's course portfolio. Sometimes it is nice to study some of your materials at a lighter level. The student still learns and retains a great deal!
The workbook study pages were broken down to study Mozart for four weeks. Each week assigned certain pages from the biography, certain comprehension questions, a listening assignment, a section about Mozart's character qualities, a section with interesting tidbits about Mozart and an assignment on the assembly of the lapbook. Certain assignments varied from week to week - assignments about the Mozart family, German words to know, information about instruments and classical music - a wide variety of information. So sad when I learned that Mozart died at such a young age (37).

This is Book 1... Is there a Book 2 you might ask? It is in the works and will be for the middle-school grades.

I am thankful to Zeezok for their generosity in extending this program to us to review. I highly recommend it to folks who might be looking for such a program. In my state "Music" is a required subject for instruction in grades K-8, and it can be difficult for many to decide how to fulfill that requirement. ("What do I teach? How much is enough? etc.)

So let me know if you have any questions, or if you decide to try this program after reading my review.

Other members of the Review Crew also reviewed this product. To see other product reviews, please click the button below.
Music Appreciation for the Elementary Grades {Zeezok Publishing LLC Review}

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