Embracing a Healthy Family: Music Appreciation Book 2: for the Middle Grades by Zeezok Publishing Review

Music Appreciation Book 2: for the Middle Grades by Zeezok Publishing Review

Some of the classes I took relative to the arts and humanities as a child were the ones that seemed to be the most fun. Although when the book work instruction was discussed, it wasn't always as fun as the hands on activity. When given the opportunity to dive in to music appreciation in a different manner, I couldn't wait to try it out with my homeschool. Music Appreciation Book 2: for the Middle Grades by Zeezok Publishing grabbed my interest because it was not just a book with words. It's a user-friendly, multi-grade curriculum that consists of nine biographies of seven composers and a student book. The curriculum, although the main subject is music, covers grammar, history, character trait studies and much more turning it into an excellent resource for introducing music while re-emphasizing other subjects.

The Curriculum Details

The one year curriculum utilizes the nine biographies, the Student Activity Book and the optional use of a lapbook (sold separately) or notebook and QR codes. There are two sets of books to utilize across different grades. Book 1 is intended for K-6 and Book 2, what is being utilized for this review, is for grades 5-8. The curriculum's expectations are that each composer will require approximately four weeks which special notation that it is allowable to adapt to your child's abilities and schedule as needed.

The Student Activity Book provides lessons that were written for a variety of learners. As a supplement to the reading books, it provides activities that include geography lessons, history lessons, and much more.

The Student Activity Book provides an additional option of having the student(s) create a journaling notebook which are contained within each week's lesson. The optional lapbook provides further activities by having the student create a lapbook for all the composers with pre-printed pages that can be purchased separately. 

These are the books and eBooks for the nine composers:

  • Frederick Chopin: The Early Years
  • Frederick Chopin: The Later Years
  • Robert Schumann and Mascot Ziff
  • Adventures of Richard Wagner
  • Stephen Foster and His Little Dog Tray
  • The Young Brahms
  • The Story of Peter Tchaikovsky
  • Peter Tchaikovsky and the Nutcracker Ballet
  • Edward MacDowell and His Cabin in the Pines

Each book is complete with interesting facts and information about the composers. The drawings are black and white. Each book had an old school feel which I liked and challenged my student. I was disappointed that I couldn't get her as thrilled about the curriculum as I was at first but as we kept moving forward, she find herself liking it more and more. I really enjoyed the first two books on Chopin and learned a lot. As she completed each lesson, she didn't resist me as much and would tell me little facts she had learned.


Another cool feature that is also new is the Music Appreciation for the Middle Grades App. The app allows the user to click on the link to play the composition linked to that particular lesson as shown above. There is also a QR code feature that can be utilized that I will discuss further in the review. The app contains many cool features and activities that coincide with each lesson. For example, this video about Chopin:

I have to admit that I was pretty amused over the QR codes and having the ability to hear the specific songs from each composer with the use of my phone. The technology of today is something to marvel at especially from an educational level. While studying our first composer, Chopin, it was nice to be able to play the songs as we learned more about him. The App also provides the links. Here is a quick sample of using the QR code to hear one of Chopin's compositions and then Schumann. I don't have my phone and QR code app set up to optimally use the program but it will provide a quick example:


Our Review

Our seven week review period allowed us to complete our lessons for Chopin and start on Schumann. In future assignments, we will complete Wagner, Foster, Brahms, Tchaikovsky, and McDowell. As we started with Chopin, it included a book for his earlier years and a book for his later years.

The Student Activity Book provides a Scope and Sequence that allows the teacher/parent a chance to see how each composer matches up to Music Appreciation Standards:

The Student Activity Book provides a weekly outline for each composer with all the assignments for each four weeks:

As she progressed through the weeks, she found that reading the chapter assignments and working close with the Student Activity Book helped her to be able to complete the Comprehension Questions. The answers are contained in the book.

The entire course is set up so nice to maximize the educational opportunities from the vocabulary words to even sections like Tidbits of Interest that provided fun facts such as:

"Frederic's (Chopin) thinness and weakness seems to be something he struggled with his entire life. He weighed less than a hundred pounds even as an adult."

Once we reached Schumann, she had experienced a great volume of information and enjoyed the musical notes, key signatures, music symbols and vocabulary, and the grand staff. The pages of the Student Activity Book have tab like sections to easily find each composer. Looking ahead, I reviewed each of the composers and loved the layout, the information presented and how the music lessons continued to build on the previous knowledge learned. I really look forward to my student having a chance to learn about each composer, the time period, significant world events, and much more! The bonus recipes throughout each composer's biography was a hit with my student as well and we look forward to using them during our home economics time. My plan is to have her help cook some of the recipes and provide a note-card detailing the significance of the composer at hand relative to each recipes.

Overall, I think it's an innovative, fun, creative and highly educational curriculum. We both loved the special features of the apps to hear the music or watch a video and much more. It's the right mixture of reading and activities that make up one of the most robust music curriculum I have seen.  We recommend Music Appreciation Book 2: for the Middle Grades by Zeezok Publishing. I plan on purchasing another Study Activity Book for my other daughter as well as my granddaughter.

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Check out what others on the Homeschool Review Crew, a division of The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine, thought by clicking on the (photo) link below:

Music Appreciation Book 2: for the Middle Grades {Zeezok Publishing Reviews}

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