Homeschooling – Composer & Art Study

This is a short but really enjoyable part of our week.  However, it kept not happening because I hadn’t planned it.  So now it has a time of its own and tends to happen regularly, oh the joy of planning!

Art Study – for this, we simply choose an artist each half term and then each week choose one of his or her paintings.  I usually find them at Olga’s Gallery, and then save it as a screen saver for the next week.  Ultimately I would like to print them out and keep them in our art photo album.

The idea is to feast our eyes and minds on something excellent, and then narrate it – in other words describe it and our reaction to it.  Usually one person describes it to the others then we all look at the picture together and see if it matched what we had imagined as well as guess its name.  It is great for encouraging an eye for detail and I do point out things like foreground and background, shadows, symbols etc.  It is always fun to see what different things each person is struck by.

So far this year we have studied Renoir, Van Gogh, Gauguin and Rubens.  Here are a selection of our paintings:

Any guesses as to who liked which best?!  We also did a fun activity painting Starry Night by Van Gogh, it would be good to do more activities like that.  JoJo was very taken by the story of Van Gogh, and went around cutting ears off drawings under the guise of being like him…

Composer Study – Again, we choose a composer a half term and then listen to a piece of his music each week.  We might also put it on at other times too, or hear it on Classic FM, which is on a lot in this house!  Generally if I don’t have the piece on CD, we watch it on YouTube with the added advantage of being able to watch the orchestra and identify all the instruments involved.  I love YouTube!  We sometimes discuss what we hear ie is it fast or slow, cheerful or sad, and sometimes just listen.

This year we have listened to Mendelssohn and his Violin Concerto in E minor as well as Fingal’s Cave, Symphony no. 4 in A major and of course the Wedding March!

Next we enjoyed the ballet Coppélia by Délibes, watching the dvd of it many, many times during those long winter months!  If you haven’t seen it, it is such fun with lovely music.  We even got to see it performed at the Coliseum with my Dad and brother.  JoJo was very frustrated at missing it as you have to be over five, even more so as he also missed the Nutcracker at Christmas and the puppet show Grandma booked for him was cancelled due to illness…ah!

Now we are enjoying Handel, having listened to the Fireworks music, Water music, Organ Concerto in Bb major, the Hallelujah chorus from the Messiah and our very favourite (played at our wedding!) the Arrival of the Queen of Sheba.  Oh, and during the Jubilee celebrations they have been playing Zadok the Priest constantly, so that probably counts too!


4 thoughts on “Homeschooling – Composer & Art Study

  1. Did I ever tell you the joke about the little boy who went to his first classical concert. After the concert was over he was asked which part he liked best. He thought for a moment and then said, “the war dance”. Well there was no such item registered on the programme. Further questioning clarified the occasion. It was the orchestra
    tuning up at the start.

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