Sunday, September 16, 2012

Beethoven Who? Family Fun with Music Review & Giveaway

"To all those moms who want to teach their children music, but feel unqualified—
this book is for you." ~  Marcia Washburn

Music appreciation is something I struggle with teaching. I am thankful Mrs. Washburn and I crossed paths a couple of months ago! She offered our family the opportunity to review her comprehensive, open-and-go, music appreciation curriculum Beethoven Who? Family Fun with Music. She is also offering one of my readers a free PDF copy of Beethoven Who? As an added bonus, Mrs. Washburn is  offering, Teaching Your Family to Play the Recorder, PDF to anyone who purchases Beethoven Who? by Saturday, Sept. 22. ~Details under Pricing and Giveaway at the end.

What is Beethoven Who? Family Fun with Music?

Beethoven Who? is an open-and-go PDF resource. You can plan ahead as to which element you'd like to study or just open and decide on the spot what you'd like to learn. It is extremely flexible. I believe this curriculum could take at least two years to thoroughly complete! I can see using this resource multiple times throughout the elementary and even into the middle and possibly the high school years as well.

 I also appreciate that she gives many ideas on how to use her curriculum. There is no wrong order or wrong way to introduce the material ~ find what is interesting and go with it. I found her curriculum easy to apply in our homeschool.

Additionally, I love the way Mrs. Washburn writes. She is down to earth and explains everything in simple, easy to understand terms for the average, non-musical parent like me.

This pdf ebook is over 300 pages long. It's massive. I found myself needing over a week to become acquainted with the ebook.

 (The only issue I've had to work through, is once an internal, teal colored link is clicked, I couldn't figure out how to "go back" to the page we were on.  My unbelievable, tech savvy husband figured out three different ways to do this within Adobe! You can read how to navigate back and forth within a PDF here, courtesy of my husband.)

Mrs. Washburn states that Beethoven Who? will show you how to:
  • ·         Unlock the mysteries of musical notation.
  • ·         Grow comfortable using the vocabulary of music.
  • ·         Find appealing classical, traditional, folk, patriotic, and sacred music.
  • ·         Enjoy fun hands-on activities with your children as you explore music together.
  • ·         Tie in music with other subjects and interests.
  • ·         Share your music with others.
and I agree!
How We are Using Beethoven Who? Family Fun with Music

I began by introducing the children to the composer of Carnival of the Animals, Camille Saint-Saëns on page 92. We then clicked on the musical link that directed us to a you tube video of that piece with beautiful paintings of the featured animal during 'their' piece. As we listened, the children were compelled to dance and act out the animal parts. This is suggested by Mrs. Washburn and I was pleased that the little ones automatically did this on their own. We listened for the elements Mrs. Washburn recommended such as staccato and lento, which are also defined and explained. We tried activities such as count how many lion roars we hear in "Royal March of the Lion".

She offers three pages of hands on activities for this musical piece and links to a squiddo of even more activities. We took a full week and a half to slowly enjoy and explore the many elements of Carnival of the Animals. Mrs. Washburn encourages parents to tailor the lessons to the individual family.

Next, I jumped to Action Songs. We have enjoyed this section immensely also! If you don't know the motions to  Mulberry Bush, Farmer in the Dell, PawPaw Patch, Pop Goes the Weasel and so many more - no problem. Mrs. Washburn does an excellent job explaining how to perform these timeless action songs. (There's usually a little history on the piece included as well.) Our kids love music combined with movement. These activities are always a hit!

From here on out, we've been jumping around finding elements that apply to our current studies. For example, C8 is playing a Mozart piece in piano. We found Mozart in this curriculum and did the music appreciation activities that pertained to him. I see this program lasting through many years of study. 

I like knowing what's in a book. Here is the table of contents:

  • Why Should I Teach My Children Music? p. 7 ~ This section inspired me and got me excited to teach music. I love the Christian references Mrs. Washburn uses to encourage and inspire. She talks about artistic expression, intellectual benefits, discipline that gives way to contentment and satisfaction, physical coordination, emotional release, and social benefits. 
I love her concluding paragraph in this section:
Music touches us in every area of our lives—body, soul, mind, and spirit. Nothing has quite the same power over us, other than the Holy Spirit Himself. It is a gift that we can take to heaven with us. Let’s get started learning more about this wonderful gift from our Heavenly Father—music! p.12
  • How to Use this Book p.13 ~ There are many ideas and hints on how to present the information to your students
Section I: Listening to Music ~includes teaching tips and links for listening
  • 1: The Elements of Music p.19
  • 2: Classical Music Your Children Will Love p. 26
  • 3: Baroque Period (1600–1750) p.33
  • 4: Classical Period (1750–1820) p.48
  • 5: Romantic Period (1820–1900) p.68
  • 6: Impressionistic Period (1870–1920) p.91
  • 7: Twentieth Century (1890–2000) p.98

    Section II: Reading Music ~ this section also includes activities to teach pitch, rhythm, form, dynamics, tempo, musical terms, etc.
  • 8: Basic Musical Notation p.112
  • 9: Activities to Teach Music Reading p.118
  • 10: Activities to Teach Pitch p.134
  • 11: Activities to Teach Rhythm p.141
  • 12: Activities to Teach Dynamics p.150
Section III: Making Music
  • 13: Our American Heritage of Folk & Traditional Music p.155
  • 14: Action Songs p.159
  • 15: Love & Friendship p.174
  • 16: A Musical Menagerie: Songs About Animals p.190
  • 17: Work Songs p.200
  • 18: Patriotic Songs p.213
  • 19: Sacred Songs p.240
  • 20: Making Music Together p.267
  • 21: Sharing Your Music with Others p.270
  • 22: What Next? p.278
Section IV: Appendices
  • Appendix A: How to Use the Links in this Book p.282
  • Appendix B: Elements of Music Chart p.285
  • Appendix C: Sample Listening Sheets p.287
  • Appendix D: Resources p.289
  • Appendix E: Glossary of Terms p.297
Index p.320

About Mrs. Washburn:

Marcia Washburn holds a Master’s in Music Education. She taught public school music for eight years prior to the birth of their oldest son. She has operated several businesses including a profitable piano studio. She and her husband homeschooled their five sons in rural Colorado for nineteen years.

Pricing, Giveaway and Offer!
This ebook is on sale for 19.99. Regular price is 29.99. ~ If you are eager to get started right away, you don't have to wait to see if you are the winner of this giveaway. You may buy it here. Mrs. Washburn will refund your money if you are the winner!

Also, from Mrs. Washburn ~ "In addition to the special price, anyone who orders Beethoven by Sat., Sept 22 may write me at and I will send them a free copy of my 33-page ebook, Teach Your Family to Play the Soprano Recorder. Even non-music readers can use this proven method."

Entering is easy. Just follow Rafflecopter's directions! Rafflecopter will select a random winner Friday at midnight!

Disclaimer: I received a copy of Beethoven Who? Family Fun with Music in exchange for my honest review.


  1. This would be a great resource for us! It's nice to have a ready to go set for music appreciation!

  2. I've been looking for a resource to use for music appreciation, I'd love to win this!

  3. I could sure use some help teaching this area myself. This looks like a great resource!

  4. This looks like an amazing resource!

  5. This sounds wonderful! I struggle with teaching this ara!

  6. I really need some sort of guide to help my kids with music appreciation and theory. I am so lost!!

  7. I'd love to win b/c music is often overlooked in our house (despite having many musically talented people in our family).

  8. We need more music appreciation -- and understanding the notation, etc. in our homeschool. I was a band geek in high school, we listen to various composers of classical music, but I feel incompetent to do much more. We need this!

    Thanks to you and Ms. Washburn for offering this giveaway!

  9. I'd love to win because this looks like a great resource to teach them music appreciation AND music theaory. :)

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