Wednesday, April 11, 2012

The Sounds of Music

Do you hear what I hear? Music is a vital part of our lives. But teaching it to my children was a challenge. It always seemed like an optional subject. So I had to search for books that would help dispel that nonessential deception. Music was an important part of a classical education, so it should be important for today. It is interesting how music got relegated to the area of entertainment in the United States. But that is another topic altogether.

One of the books I found useful was A Young Person's Guide to Music by Neil Ardley with Music by Poul Ruders. It has a CD to accompany the text.There are two sections: the first is about the different types of instruments; the second gives a brief history of the musical periods. There is also a "How to use this book" page. I liked being able to teach about a particular instrument, show the clear pictures, and then play the CD to hear what that instrument sounded like. This book has a wealth of information, including a reference section that has "A-Z of Composers", "Musical Forms", and a glossary of musical terms.

Instruments are intriguing to study, and this book is a sure way to understand them. The illustrations show how instruments work, as well as how they relate to one another. How many notes can a woodwind player produce? 10? 20? 40? Would you believe it is 40?! On page 32 you can find out how. And what about brass instruments? How does tightening the lips affect the notes played? You will have to read the section about brass instruments to find out.

So no matter what stage of life you are in, this book makes fascinating reading if you have any interest at all in music. We are never too old to learn. That is one of the advantages of teaching my children; I learned right along with them. So pick up this book at your local bookstore and enjoy reading about and listening to music

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