The Five Fathers of Music
By Matt Barnabei
The development of music is something that cannot be attributed to solely one person, unlike the immediate association of, let’s say, Apple Inc. and Steve Jobs. There are, however, certainly those who have been immensely influential in regards to music and its progression. Tara Cunningham’s interactive and educational curriculum The Five Fathers of Music dubs just what the title says. Johann Sebastian Bach, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Ludwig Van Beethoven, Johannes Brahms and George Gershwin, as far as we are concerned, are ultimately The Five Fathers of Music. The Five Fathers of Music is a comprehensive music-history program focusing on these five composers.
There are a number of faces to this unique curriculum program that makes it superlative. Personally, I appreciate tremendously how it utilizes visual, auditory and hands-on learning. Tara proclaims that The Five Fathers of Music is, “The most fun you will ever have learning about these crazy guys and their wonderful music!” That statement has rung true for me, and I’ve taken several music courses throughout elementary school, high school and college.
The Five Fathers of Music: Home Edition is intended for 2-4 players and enjoyed by homeschoolers, families and classrooms. The Home Edition is equipped with a 40-day Syllabus and Workbook that thoroughly cover each of Five Fathers of Music. The Five Fathers of Music has a total of 30 distinct activities that ensure, the seemingly impossible, educational fun!
There is a wide variety of games throughout the 30 activities. Everything from original board games, such as “A Walk in the Park,” to spins on timeless classics like Go Fish! The “Brahm’s Bringo” kept me on the edge of my seat, and the competition aspect of the game encourages players to learn and digest the material.
Another unique and interesting aspect of this music-history program are the “Listening Activities.” The first “Listening Activity” for Mozart prompts the student to listen to Serenade #13 in G Major “Eine Kleine Nachtmusik” and to answer four questions regarding the piece. The first two questions, “Can you put your own words to this melody?” and “Does this piece make you want to hop, skip, run or clap?” appeal to the feelings that the piece causes the student. The third question, “While listening to this piece, where do you imagine you are?” provokes the student’s imagination. The fourth and final question of the activity simplifies the structure and provides the two types of notes the piece utilizes.
In accompaniment with these activities, a DVD is included. The DVD covers each of the composer’s birth place, early childhood information, famous compositions, entertaining trivia and more. For instance, did you know Bach had 20 children? Or that Beethoven’s favorite food was mac n’ cheese?! Following each segment devoted to each composer is a summarizing poem that is easy to memorize.
In just five to ten minutes a day, your children can learn about these great composers and their music. Each of these composers played a crucial role in the innovation of music composition. With The Five Fathers of Music kids will not only know who they are, in this digitally evolving world, but they will know the essential parts of their lives.