A book of this kind, though addressed to children, must necessarily
reach them through an older person. The purpose is to suggest a few of
the many aspects which music may have even to the mind of a child. If
these chapters, or whatever may be logically suggested by them, be
actually used as the basis of simple Talks with children, music may
become to them more than drill and study. They should know it as an
art, full of beauty and of dignity; full of pure thought and abounding
in joy. Music with these characteristics is the true music of the
heart. Unless music gives true pleasure to the young it may be doubted if it is wisely studied. (Emphasis mine)
Our failure to present music to the young in a manner that interests
and holds them is due not so much to the fact that music is too
difficult for children, but because the children themselves are too
difficult for us. In our ignorance we often withhold the rightful
inheritance. We must not forget that the slower adult mind often meets
a class of difficulties which are not recognized by the unprejudiced
child. It is not infrequent that with the old fears in us we persist
in recreating difficulties.
There should be ever present with the teacher the thought that music
must be led out of the individuality, not driven into it.
The teacher's knowledge is not a hammer, it is a light.
While it is suggested that these chapters be used as the
subject-matter for talks with the children, they may read verbatim if
desired. All foot-note references and suggestions are addressed to the
older person--the mother or the teacher. There is much in the
literature of art that would interest children if given to them
BOSTON, October 30, 1896
I'm also enjoying myself The World's Great Men of Music Story-Live that has a brief and lively biography of 25 composers in chronological order. I also got Operas Every Child Should Know, but I haven't read that one yet, that's from the same author as Pictures Every Child Should Know, which I also saw recommended maybe at Lindafay's site, but I'm not sure.
The problem with free resources is that there are so many that it is overwhelming and instead of assisting to me it cripples our abilities. Once more Cindy writes about appliances, facts, and once more how Charlotte Mason stresses the fact that children learn what the things they have to dig for, versus the verbal lessons and parroting facts).
We have opted this year for not doing composer study as they do it at Ambleside. We follow more Lindafay's recommendations, and are simply learning about The Orchestra, then the Ballet, and finally the Opera. Now with the Orchestra we simply listen to the Bernstein CD (Peter and the Wolf, A Carnival of Animals, and The Orchestra), and we are reading these books about the orchestra and some picture books of Haydn or anything we find on sale and as we please. But the mentioned books are great to just pick a composer, read the biography to your children, or even yourself, and talk to them about the life of these fascinating composers while picking some of their pieces at youtube and playing them during the day while you cook, have lunch, or work on math or anything else.
As with nature study, I'll advise to start small and you'll succeed. Remember this is not a race, or obligation. You need to get passionate about it first, and trust me, these biographies and free books will do that for you. I find that knowing about the life of a composer ignites a desire to hear his music, and that the music means more to me. You may still like some pieces or composers more than others, but definitely with a broader understanding comes a better appreciation.