The Old Schoolhouse® Product & Curriculum Reviews

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Alfred Publishing Co. Review by Diane Wheeler and 11 more

My First Classical Recorder Book My First Patriotic Recorder Book
Daisy Rock Guitars for Girls
Family Music Time:
Teach Yourself to Play Harmonica
Teach Yourself to Play Guitar
Meet the Great Composers
June Montgomery and Maurice Hinson
Essential Dictionary of Music
Meet the Great Composers
June Montgomery and Maurice Hinson
Alfred Essentials of Music Theory Student Version
Teach Yourself to Play Piano
Alfred's Drum Method
Teach Yourself to Sing
Stories of the Great Composers Flash Cards
Music for Little Mozarts
Theory for Young Musicians

My First Classical Recorder Book
My First Patriotic Recorder Book

As a mother without any musical training, I still want to provide a good musical education for my children. Besides providing lessons by qualified music instructors, an option is the Alfred Publishing Education Catalog for Homeschoolers.

My children have been very busy trying out the recorders that we have received from Alfred Publishing. My First Classical Recorder Book and My First Patriotic Recorder Book have clear, simple information that makes it easy for my children to use. Starting with information about the instrument itself (types, parts, care), it teaches how to use the recorder as well. Two pages of "Getting Acquainted with Music" include notes, rests, dotted notes, the staff, and more. With each song, whether patriotic or classical, there is a picture of the fingering for each note in that song. In My First Patriotic Recorder Book, there are 18 patriotic songs, including America, Battle Hymn of the Republic, Hail to the Chief and You're a Grand Old Flag. In My First Classical Recorder Book, there are 21 classical songs including Ode to Joy, Merry Widow Waltz, Lullaby and Beethoven's 5th. The final page in both books is a complete fingering chart.

If you have a self-motivated, reading child who is ready for music instruction, these books can be used independently as an excellent introduction to the recorder. My children that have no music background have needed my help with some of the introduction to music pages and the fingering, but the books have given me the information I need to fill in the gaps.

Alfred Publishing Co. can be found on the Internet at or you can call them at (818) 892-2452. Jodi Malone, the Homeschool Specialist at Alfred, says in the catalog introduction: "This catalog is designed for Homeschooling parents. Each title was carefully selected to be 'parent friendly' as well as educationally sound." It is good to know there is a music company that has our unique needs and requirements in mind.

-- Product Review by: Diane Wheeler, Senior Staff Writer, The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine

Daisy Rock Guitars for Girls

"All in all, Alfred Publishing once again proves that it is on the cutting edge and the place to go for 'anything music.'" -- The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine

Some things are just really good ideas. They are those particular things that you come across and think, "This is GREAT! Why hasn't anyone done anything like this before?!"

Well, I tell you the truth, that is precisely what I thought when I heard about Daisy Rock guitars, which are designed specifically for girls! When I caught wind of the Daisy Rock line (through Alfred Publishing), I just had to see it for myself.

I have been playing guitar since I was four years old. As a young girl I had a general feeling that guitars were more of a boy thing to play (like the drums), and although it didn't necessarily deter me from playing - it did use to bother me. I remember going to guitar stores with my dad and looking at row after row of very heavy and manly looking guitars. On one of these trips, I was so excited when I caught a glimmer of pink hanging in a row, but when I pulled the electric guitar out, not only was it still just as heavy, it was in a very ugly lightening bolt shape - and sadly for me, it was the only "girl" choice available.

Now, there is no longer a reason to "fret." It is a new day for girl guitar players!

I was sent a Daisy Rock catalog and nearly fell over with delight. "Fell over with delight, Jenefer? Aren't you being a little dramatic?" Yes, maybe so, but you have to see these to understand what the excitement is about. These girl guitars are fall-out-of-your-chair cute. They not only come in "girl" colors like Powder Pink, Sky Blue, Sunny Yellow, Princess Purple, Red Hot Red, Pepper Mint etc., but they also come in "girl" shapes like daisies and hearts. You really have to see them to believe how adorable these are. I had to send my dad to their website. As a buyer for a busy music store, and a coveted guitar instructor, I knew he'd want to know about these and offer me "Dad's Honest Invaluable Opinion." He e-mailed me right back, and here are his exact words:

Hey, I already am familiar with the Daisy Rock line of guitars. You may not know much about Schecter Guitars, but they're one of the top guitar makers in the U.S. (I personally own four of these $2000 to $3500 guitars). They are connected with the Daisy Rock line, and that alone is enough to make me a Daisy Rock fan.

But here's what's really important: Kids have to love their guitar and be proud of it if they're going to really enjoy and get the most out of their learning experience. As a guitar instructor, I've seen it over and over - when students have a guitar that they think is uncool, they just don't "get into it"; they coast along from week to week, making marginal progress. Then the day comes when the student gets the guitar of his/her dreams, and I watch the progress skyrocket. I'm not kidding; it's like night and day. Therefore, I can imagine how young girls will be excited and proud of these guitars and simply practice more than they would have with a guitar that didn't appeal to them. Hey, why do you think I practice/play so much? I've got guitars that I'm proud of and love!

After hearing that from my dad, a professional with over 40 years experience who knows guitars, I was even more convinced. High recommendations from Jim Wright don't come easy. He looks for the best.

My daughter, Ryann, and I chose the more traditional shaped acoustic guitar in Powder Pink. And when it came in, you should have seen the commotion in my house. First of all, even the BOX it came in was cute (their logo is darling). The guitar was presented in a very cute purple Gig Bag/ Back Pack, which is a soft guitar carrying case that has two straps in back (just like a back pack for easy carrying) and also has a pouch in front; great for stashing picks, music books, or whatever else your pre-teen girl can think of to jam in there. The Daisy Acoustic line also comes with two pages of removable butterfly and daisy decals with which to "design" the new guitar. Those created a tremendous amount of excitement and after the guitar was all done up, the rest of the decals went right up on her walls. VERY cute!

I had already seen from the catalog that the Daisy Line was appealing to look at and had a fun approach that welcomes girl players, but in the back of my mind I had all of the practical questions. Will this line live up to the Schecter reputation that my dad swears by? How is the sound? How is the feel? Will she be able to handle it comfortably? Before Ryann had a go on it, I put it through the test - and again, I was delighted. The body has a composite oval back, which gives it a surprisingly rich sound that carries well. The frets were in the medium range - perfect for beginners. The overall feel was wonderfully light; and this is really nice (especially for beginners), because they do not have to battle with lugging it into place while trying to coordinate their fingers.

The Daisy Rock Line gets a row of A+s all the way through. It has a fun "girl" look, a wonderful assortment in electric, bass, and acoustics, extremely reasonably priced (between the low $200 to higher $300 range), a great, lightweight feel, a nice sound, and, maybe best of all, it offers that extra incentive for girls who now have a choice in guitars specifically designed for them. It is no wonder that Daisy Rock has received a flurry of media attention from magazines such as Newsweek, Time, People, and was also featured on NBC's Today Show.

Also available through Alfred Publishing is the Daisy Rock Girl's Guitar Method workbook (just under 50 pages) that comes with a brilliantly helpful CD, which can be played in your audio CD player, or can be played in your computer where material is presented both visually and audibly, and works just like a software program guiding you through the lessons. The workbook is very colorful and uses an approach that is easy to follow and understand. For practicality and usability, this is a very beneficial book and I would recommend it as a good resource - tremendously complete - for teaching method. As a side note, I realize that many of our readers have high Christian standards and would want to know that this is not a Christian workbook. It includes photos of some of the more popular secular female musicians who could be considered bad role models by some families.

All in all, Alfred Publishing once again proves that it is on the cutting edge and the place to go for "anything music." We have been more than impressed with what Alfred Publishing offers to the homeschool community. If you have a girl who is learning - or who wants to learn guitar - the Daisy Rock line is a fun, fun, fun and practical choice about which she is sure to get excited.

Check out the Daisy Guitar line at And, for all of your music and teaching needs, go to the Alfred Publishing website at

You're sure to be impressed! Thank you Tish Ciravolo for turning a great idea into reality! And thank you Alfred Publishing for bringing Daisy Rock to the homeschool community!

-- Product Review by: Jenefer Igarashi, Senior Editor, The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine and James Wright, Professional Guitar Buyer, Music Instructor and lead guitarist of Cross Country band; and tested on Ryann Igarashi (age nine).

Family Music Time:
Teach Yourself to Play Harmonica
Teach Yourself to Play Guitar

Let me begin by saying that this twin pack includes a Horner Harmonica. After that, it is go at your own pace.

The lessons on both CDs are very easy to understand. They include history of the instrument and comparisons of the different types of instrument available. The lesson continues with explaining proper holding positions and care of the instrument.

In the Harmonica course, the notes are displayed by numbers that correspond to the numbers above the reed holes on the harmonica. The student begins with very basic lessons, how to make a note by blowing air in or sucking air out of the reed hole.

Basic music theory is incorporated as the lessons advance with whole, half, quarter, and eight notes being explained and presented through the computer speakers.

The lessons are very clear and there is much reinforcement in each exercise. The sheet music is highlighted as it is played in the lesson. The user has the option of speeding up or slowing down the tempo as well as adding accompaniment and recording their own performance.

Within 30 minutes of loading the program, my 11-year-old son was clearly playing "Ode to Joy" on the harmonica.

The Guitar course is an exceptional self-teaching class. After learning about the different types of acoustic and electric guitars, the student begins with proper tuning technique and goes on to single string fingering, proceeds to two string fingering and then continues adding one string at a time until all six strings are being used. The TAB (tablature) method of reading music is taught along with standard notation.

With over 60 songs to choose from in a variety of styles (rock, jazz, blues, folk, heavy metal, and country) there is something to interest any student. The course offers song options for both electric and acoustic guitars.

There is ample chord, scales, and cool licks practice within the program. The cool licks are available in whatever style the student prefers.

Both courses offer "Add-A-Lesson" by free Internet download. They both also have MIDI and synthesizer capabilities for playback.

Although there is no printable sheet music for away from the computer practice, the companion books are available at the Music to Your Door website for a very reasonable price, most under $10.

With self pace options, fingering positions, and in the case of the Harmonica course, instruction on diaphragmatic breathing, this is truly an exceptional self-teaching program duo.

I highly recommend this for all ages. The programs are simple, yet challenging, and the user defines the pace ensuring that good playing skill is readily obtainable.

-- Product Review by: Carol H. Knott, The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine

Teach Yourself to Play Guitar

My 12-year-old son decided that he wanted to learn to play the guitar one day several months ago. Not having the means to furnish weekly lessons, but having ready access to a guitar, Teach Yourself to Play Guitar was fortuitously thrust into his hands and he eagerly sat down for his first lesson. Within days, I was beginning to hear pleasant single note melodies strummed in time to a CD accompaniment that was included with the book. While my intuition told me he was moving too quickly through the pages, I was pleased to see him smiling over his immediate success in making pleasant music. Several days later I discovered he had returned to previous pages to improve on important technique and skills he had hurried through the first time.

Teach Yourself To Play Guitar provides adequate information to teach a new student important basics such as proper tuning and holding of the instrument, posture, and type of instrument and strings to purchase, as well as music and tablature reading. While it might be helpful for the student to be acquainted with notes, time signatures, and the treble clef staff beforehand, it is not necessary for his success with the book since this information is briefly presented. The CD accompaniment is a wonderful tool providing added interactive fun. Chording, scales, licks, and riffs in all styles are introduced, as well, in order that, upon completion of the book, the student "will be able to play from popular TAB folios and be ready to play in a band."

My son is so pleased to be able to follow in his dad's footsteps by learning the guitar. He thoroughly enjoys the book and looks forward to playing along with the CD when he has mastered each song. He writes, "I like the music in the book, and that book makes me feel like I'm making progress. If you are trying to learn guitar it is the book you'll want. And the CD it comes with is great!" For a similar price ($19.95) as two lessons from a teacher, my son has been able to spend many hours and weeks progressing in confidence and technique. It has also been valuable in allowing him to proceed at his own pace. One additional benefit is that it has given me an idea of just how serious his intentions were in the first place without having spent the money up front on lessons.

-- Product Review by: Louise Carlton, The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine

Meet the Great Composers
By June Montgomery and Maurice Hinson
Essential Dictionary of Music

I want my children to learn more about music than I know. That leaves me with two options: to send them to class after class or to discover resources we can explore at home as a family. (They do go "out" for private lessons, but I am talking more in terms of music appreciation.)

Alfred has been a supplier of teaching books for students for decades, but they also have some neat products to help us teach our children to love music. In our home we like to focus on one composer and one artist per month. Alfred's book, Meet the Great Composers, by June Montgomery and Maurice Hinson, is a great starting point! I had a chance to look at Book Two, which goes from Francois Couperin (1668-1733) to Samuel Barber (1910 - 1981), so from Baroque to Contemporary. The book comes with a CD with 17 short selections. The text consists of the composer's story, some facts about the time period or the instruments used, and a closing activity, like a word search or a crossword puzzle. Major compositions are listed, as well as the short-featured excerpt on the CD. So, you could read the narrative about the composer and listen to the CD and have a nice overview. Or, you could read the narrative, listen to the CD, and head off to the library to get more books and compositions about the composer. Either way, this combo provides a nice starting place for your music appreciation.

I also looked at their Essential Dictionary of Music. This compact little volume is packed with information. It begins with a very complete music dictionary. Next is a section on composers; listing their dates, musical time period, compositional media, and important items about the artist. What follows is a very complete section on music theory and an ending section on instrument and vocal ranges.

Is music missing in your home school program? It doesn't have to be complicated. Check this out!

-- Product Review by: Christine Field, Senior Correspondent, The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine

Meet the Great Composers
By June Montgomery and Maurice Hinson

This is a very fun workbook to go through. It is called Meet the Great Composers. It includes a lot of information on famous composers such as Beethoven, Bach, and Mozart. It is very interesting and it all sticks! For instance, I learned that Bach had 20 kids and he taught most of them to play instruments. I also discovered that his cat inspired one of Scarlatti's famous sonatas! Handel had all sorts of neat little facts about him. One was that he composed six sonatas by the time he was 11 years old. There is detailed and interesting information on 17 different composers in this program!

One thing that makes The Great Composers fun is that at the end of every lesson there are reviews in puzzle form or in a matching game! I don't usually look forward to tests, but this sure made it entertaining.

Included in all of the lessons (17 in all) are the years that the composers were born and died, the musical period in which they lived (Baroque, Classical, Romantic, Contemporary, etc.), instruments they played, names of their major compositions, interesting facts, and the stories of the composers' lives.

The thing that really topped off this already wonderful book was a music CD that was included! All 17 composers are represented on it, and it is so helpful to grasp the styles of the different periods and selected composers. I feel like I learned so much.

As a homeschool student who appreciates music in all its forms, I have really enjoyed working out of this book and I am sure that others will too. If you are, or have, a student who does not appreciate music, this workbook and great CD could change their mind!

-- Product Review by: Coie Igarashi, Age 13, The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine

Alfred Essentials of Music Theory Student Version
Teach Yourself to Play Piano

Alfred Publishing Company has a line of products designed especially for the homeschooling family. These products are parent friendly and educationally sound. Our family reviewed two products from their homeschool line. Alfred's Essentials of Music Theory on CD-ROM is an interactive program for Windows and Mac (see their web site at to get complete system requirements) designed to teach music theory. You don't need a music background to use this program; it starts from the basics. Topics covered include the treble and bass clefts, flats, sharps, naturals, time signatures, major and minor scales, triads and chords, harmonizing melodies, and composing melodies. My older children take piano lessons and they thought this would be boring and a repetition of what they have learned from their instructor. Well, they were surprised to find the information was interesting and the exercises were fun. I also used the program and found it to be educational without being tiresome. While the program is designed for ages 10 to adult, my six-year-old found that she could do much of the material with just a bit of reading help. My 10 and 12-year-old children liked the note games (not games in the sense of fast action computer generated games, but games you can play over and over on note naming). So is this a program you will want to buy? If you want your child to have a well-rounded education in music theory without a lot of time on your part, you should look into Alfred's Essentials of Music Theory on CD-ROM. It is easy to use and reasonably priced.

The other item we reviewed is Teach Yourself to Play Piano from the Teach Yourself to Play Series. Other books in this series are Bass, Guitar, Ukulele, Mandolin, Drums, Harmonica, Recorder, and Singing. The Teach Yourself series is recommended for grades six and up. Teaching yourself to play an instrument can be very difficult. The Teach Yourself series does not require the use of a music teacher, although one would be helpful if you have difficulties with any of the material. Teach Yourself to Play Piano is designed for beginners and as a refresher course. Beginning lessons include how to sit at the piano, how to tune your instrument, how the fingers are numbered, the keyboard and note reading, and hand exercises. In just a few lessons (Alfred recommends 30 minutes per day) you are playing "Ode to Joy." Lessons include warm ups, finger "aerobics," melodic intervals, and more. This is a great way to whet your appetite for playing the piano. An accompanying CD is available that contains demonstrations on how the music should sound and provides a background orchestra.

Both products from Alfred Publishing were thorough and of high quality. The cover on Teach Yourself to Play Piano is extremely durable and will hold up to a lot of use. I can highly recommend Alfred Publishing's Teach Yourself to Play Piano and Alfred's Essentials of Music Theory on CD-ROM. To purchase these and other Alfred Music Products, go to or visit your local music store.

-- Product Review by: Tina Rice and family, The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine

Alfred's Drum Method

What is all this fuss about Alfred music stuff? I'll tell you! It's excellent. Not only that, the company is FRIENDLY, which is so nice. We all hear stories about certain education companies who are "cold" or "un-fun." Alfred is at the top of FUN! Our family had the opportunity to see a number of things, but we chose to discuss the Teach Yourself To Play The Harmonica and Alfred's Drum Method, Book 1.

Our children love it when UPS and Fed Ex pull up constantly. We get a LOT of curriculum to "play with." However, when the Alfred FOUR BOXES arrived, everyone's jaws dropped. My oldest son, Paul (12) has been begging to learn the drums for a couple of months now. He wants an enormous set of ORANGE drums (he's nuts). He begs, and we say "NO." After a while, he sweetly reminds us that he REALLY wants to learn the drums, and he NEEDS an orange ($500!) set to do it. (Still, the answer is "no.")

Well, Alfred Publishing Company, THANK YOU VERY MUCH.

Alfred sent us the greatest thing for wannabe drum players that I have ever seen. The Alfred's Drum Method is a very attractive "drum" (drum pad). It is darling because it's red and white, with two sturdy, professional, full-size, adorable (Vic Firth), red drumsticks. Paul began drooling the second this was out of the box. "Now I can play! Now I can play!" he yelped. I told him, "Yep, you master this thing first. Then we can talk orange." He pulled the teaching video out of its case and disappeared. All we could hear was tap, tap, tap. The boy was in heaven all day! The teaching book that comes with this great set is super; learn everything from rudimental studies, roll studies, cymbal techniques to drum care and tuning, plus more! It's worth it. Anyone who has a kid driving them nuts for drums NEEDS THIS SET!

Teach Yourself to Play Harmonica is another incredible music program from Alfred, the people who know kids AND music. I kid you not when I tell you that my son Lukey has been begging for a harmonica, so he, like Paul, about fell over when the Alfred boxes contained his dream instrument. This kid shocked his auntie and me when he, within about one hour of cracking open the book, was playing almost a complete song on the harmonica. We were surprised that a 10 year old could self teach himself like this, from a BOOK. He did not need us. He took the book and the harmonica in his room, and just DID it! This program is excellent because it's compact and pretty much anyone can afford it. You get the self-teaching book, the harmonica (kids love harmonicas) and even a CD in the back of the book. Your kid is SET. Normally we don't drool over all the products that come in, but, we have to say here, Alfred makes us drool.

--Product Review by: Publishers, The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine

Teach Yourself to Play Piano
Teach Yourself to Sing

I must admit I was somewhat skeptical when I popped these CDs into my computer. I mean, who can learn to play piano on a computer? Who could learn to sing from a computer? Well, I can, and so can you! These lessons are extremely thorough and complete. The piano lessons contain a booklet with all the songs on it, so if you have a piano in your home you can practice away from the computer. The CD assumes you have some sort of electronic mini keyboard that you can attach to your piano, and with this you can learn to play piano. The course starts out assuming you know nothing, so even a beginner can learn, although there is lots of reading, so I wouldn't recommend it for too young a person. My 11-year-old son had no trouble following along. The downside to this program is that you need to be self-motivated. There is no teacher standing over you making sure you practice! If the lessons are followed slowly and accurately, these are quality lessons! The lessons include an interactive song player that lets you see exactly how each song should be played, and then it lets you hear how it should be played! You can mix accompaniment audio tracks, and you can record your own music! It doesn't replace having an instructor right beside you, but it sure comes close and is an excellent way to teach, especially if you are in a remote location, or if cost is an issue. Alfred is a world famous name for their piano lesson books, and from the look of these piano lessons, their interactive products will be equally successful! Of course, there is really no comparison to sitting down at a real piano, but this is the next best thing! For those of us that don't mind the new technology, I would give this product five stars - that is, if we were rating products by stars, which we aren't - but I really enjoyed this product!

The Teach Yourself to Sing CD continues along the same vein as the piano course. The lessons start out assuming you know nothing about your voice, and explain in detail how your vocal sound is produced. The lessons include breathing, posture, warming up, reading music, and more. As with the piano lessons, you must be self-motivated to realize success; there is no teacher nearby to make sure you are sitting properly or practicing regularly! There is, however, the option of recording your own voice, although you need a microphone for this, and you can hear how the song is meant to be sung, and transpose it into any key you wish. There is also the option for speeding up or slowing down the tempo. I enjoyed working my way through these lessons, and even though I'm not ready to stand up and sing a solo in church, this gives me the confidence to know that I can continue practicing in the comfort of my computer room and there will be no critics until I ask there to be! Both of these CDs are available from and there is another great option: you can download more songs for both of these sets of lessons right from the website! I highly recommend both of these instructional CDs!

-- Product Review by: Holly Cameron, BC, Canada, The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine

Stories of the Great Composers Flash Cards

Alfred is a well-respected name in the music industry, and I was pleased to get the chance to review their flash cards for beginning music students and Stories of the Great Composers. The 89 flash cards are color-coded and include all the musical notes, symbols, and terms that a beginning music student needs to know. The yellow cards include the treble and bass clef signs as well as all the letter note names and positions on both the staff and keyboard. The pink cards drill eighth, quarter, dotted quarter, half, dotted half, and whole notes and their corresponding rests. Time signature is also reviewed on the pink cards. Tempo and dynamics are on the white cards: adagio, moderato, pianissimo, forte, and so forth. Green cards cover signs such as sharp, flat, staccato, and repeat. Finally, melodic and harmonic intervals and key signatures are on the blue cards. Children look at the front of the card, say what it is, and check their answers on the back. The cards are sturdy cardstock; however, I suggest laminating them if you want them to last through several children.

Stories of the Great Composers is a wonderful resource for elementary students. Thirteen composers are studied: Bach, Haydn, Beethoven, Schubert, Felix and Fanny Mendelssohn, Chopin, Foster, Dvorak, Sousa, MacDowell, Debussy, and Rachmaninoff. Each unit begins with a short biography of the composer, followed by a fictional account of a real event in the composer's life. Three of the composer's important compositions are listed, as well as information about an additional one found on an optional accompanying CD. At the end of each unit is a short puzzle or matching game for review, and at the back of the book are cutout composer clue cards and picture cards for a review game. The 13 selections found on the optional CD are wonderful! These are not just snippets, but nice, long samples of each composer's work. You will hear Bach's Jesu, Joy of Man's Desiring beautifully played on an organ, the famous Wedding March by Felix Mendelsshohn (and find out how it came to be played at weddings the world over), and Sousa's inspirational march Stars and Stripes Forever. There are no introductions to the selections on the CD, so it makes nice background music anytime. Each unit should take about 20 minutes; however, there is so much room for further listening and study that you could spend as much time as you like on each composer. I am delighted to have found such a simple, fun way to introduce my children to the great composers and their works.

-- Product Review by: Heather Jackowitz, The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine

Music for Little Mozarts

This is a delightful beginning course for children (and parents) who want their students to understand beginning piano. From the very start, our children loved the musical CDs included in the program. You can go as fast or as slow as your child can learn and they will learn fast by following the adventures of two small stuffed friends that come with it! Beethoven Bear and Mozart Mouse take your children from the playroom to the recital stage as they learn about music together. There are four levels in this series and we took a look at level one. This is where to start if your child knows little or nothing about music. The animals will go from teaching your child how to sit properly at the piano and hold their fingers correctly, to simple tunes (Concert Day) on the keys. They will learn about forte and piano (loud and soft); quarter, half, and whole notes; quarter, half, and whole rests; and the notes on the keyboard A-E. This complete program includes the Music Lesson Book 1 with its accompanying CD that thoroughly goes through each lesson and the Music Discovery Book 1 with its accompanying CD that combines singing, music appreciation, movement, and rhythm activities that will help open your child to the wonderful world of music! It also includes a Music Workbook 1 with coloring and ear training exercises, musical flash cards, a music activity board (magnetic and dry erase) and, of course, the loveable stuffed animals! The Old Schoolhouseâ„¢ thinks this is a charming way to appeal to the finer senses in your children and teach them how to love and appreciate beautiful music.

-- Product Review by: Kate Kessler, Staff Writer, The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine

Theory for Young Musicians

When Gena Suarez, of The Old Schoolhouse Magazine, asked me to evaluate a new offering from Alfred's Publishing Company called Theory for Young Musicians, I readily agreed. I'm very familiar with Alfred's full line of music publications (especially the complete line of method books for piano), since we carry them all at Matanuska Music in Wasilla, Alaska.

This 31-page book is aimed at youngsters, ages eight to 12. This age group will certainly enjoy it because it's a fun book, designed for the student to write out their answers and get fully involved. There are plenty of cute pictures to keep your budding musician interested and attentive. The author has cleverly made learning and understanding notes a game - not work. For example, the student will find hidden messages by writing the correct notes (pitch) in the spaces provided. Another sure hit is the cookie recipes the student completes by understanding and writing how many counts (rhythm) each note receives. A lot of fun exercises drive these ideas home. And good news for home school moms and dads with no musical background - all the answers to the exercises are in the back of the book.

Theory for Young Musicians provides information for both the treble clef (for instruments like the flute, clarinet, violin, guitar, etc), and the bass clef (for instruments like bassoon, tuba, trombone, etc.), so there is something for everybody in this book. Students will look forward to their music class and learn a lot with this fun book but beware- mom or dad may be asked to bake cookies or make frosting after a few of the lessons.

-- Product Review by: James R. Wright, Music Consultant, TOS Associate Art and Music