S2: E47 Classical Music Appreciation for Home and School with RaeAnna Goss

Season Two
Episode 47
Classical Music Appreciation for Home and School with RaeAnna Goss



RaeAnna Goss is a second generation homeschooler and has been involved in music education since an early teenager.  She began as a piano teacher to neighborhood children and then served as assistant director in the homeschool band which developed a passion for sharing music with others.  Taking that passion further, she studied music education at Lee University and after graduating college spent ten years in the public schools, led workshops for music teachers, and also served as president for her local Orff-Schulwerk chapter.  Since having children, she has been teaching early childhood music classes, mother and baby music classes, homeschool music classes, and piano lessons.  She loves sharing with fellow moms and teachers!

Contact Info:

Email: raeanna@gmail.com
Instagram: @gosshomeschool
Facebook: Here
Blog: Goss Home Academy  and Composer Study Guide
YouTube Channel: Here
Wildwood Podcast Episode:  Hear more about music with RaeAnna on this podcast episode!


Full Transcript:

Jessica:  RaeAnna, thank you so much for talking today.

RaeAnna: Thank you Jessica!  It's so awesome to see you again and hear from you.

Jessica:  It's so nice to kind of catch up.

RaeAnna:  Yeah... yeah, 'cause we were both at Lee.  I graduated at 2002.  When did you graduate?

Jessica:  I graduated at 2000.

RaeAnna: So we were overlapped a little bit yeah...

Jessica:  Yeah so it's so neat to see you.  I love this!  So I mean we know you went to Lee, but can you tell us a little bit more about your musical upbringing and kind of your experiences with music?

RaeAnna:  Yes! So I started at a early age with Suzuki strings and that was the first exposure to music that I had as a 4-year old all the way up until the time I was 10 - taking different Suzuki string lessons privately.  And then I was one of those kids who begged their parents to let them quit their instrument because I just didn't find joy in it and I know my parents struggled with the decision because they had bought me a cello and it was an expensive investment, but they trusted me and they went for it and I had this passion to play piano and that was the right choice that my parents allowed me to quit cello so that I could take piano lessons because that was my love and they didn't ever have to ask me to practice.  It was a joy to sit down and practice and I had the most encouraging, nurturing piano teacher from age 10 on to college and then in college as well.

Jessica:  Were you a piano major or an education major?

RaeAnna:  I was music education major.

Jessica:  Okay.  That's what I thought.  And what are you doing now?

RaeAnna:  After teaching for about ten years in the public schools in Williamson County, I had my second child.  I went back to work after my first child and then when he was 2, I got pregnant with my daughter and I knew that I wanted to stay home with my babies so I left the public school and for about a year or two years I was just a SAHM, but then when my daughter turned 2 and my son was 4, they were both old enough for the local preschool and so I started teaching music classes with the local preschool so that I could go to school with them for a couple of years and then I also taught the Music with Mommy.  It was similar to Kindermusik.  It was a program for babies and moms to bond through music so that was just fun and always still doing piano through that whole time.

And now as a homeschool mom - so my son is 10 and my daughter is 7 - I've had a lot of opportunities since they've started formal schooling to do music classes with groups of homeschoolers.  Right now I have four different groups. So I have a group that meets once a month and its a regular co-op style group where we meet all afternoon and morning and we have different subjects and I teach the music subjects so I get to have that classroom experience with those kids that we have in co-op.  And then this year I started a music and nature group where we're actually performing our music outside.  And we're outside in nature for two hours and we're singing all of these wonderful singing games and folk songs and just watching the kids be kids and have fun with these old folk songs is so awesome for my heart.  I just I took a video of them yesterday.  We met yesterday and they sang (singing) "Little Swallow fly from your nest."  And we talked about birds and we played the swallow game - kind of like duck-duck-goose.  And then I have an art and music tutorial that we do an hour of drawing instruction.  There's a drawing instructor who comes to our house and then I do the music and I actually have some barred instruments of my own.  So I can pull more Orff process for those kids who come for that group.

And then the fourth group that I have meets a week before the national young people's conference and I have a group of friends that come over to the house and I've prepared listening lessons, like what are in the book, for the composer and the pieces we will hear at the symphony because I really think that's important before a student goes to listen to a live performance, having them familiar with the music will make the experience that much richer.  So that's the fourth group that I have is the group that comes to my house and we do listening lessons for an hour and it's really fun.  I love that even thought I'm not in the traditional classroom I still have room to flex my music teacher muscles.

Jessica:  How old are the students in the groups that you're with?

RaeAnna:  They're all elementary because that's what my kids are.  They're like age 5 to 11.

Jessica:  What are you doing when you're outside then?


=RaeAnna:  We have a whole nature lesson.  One of the books that I read last year was called The Coyote's Guide to Connecting with Nature and it's more of a mentor's guide.  And actually I think even music teachers would enjoy reading this book because it talks about being a mentor and you know that's what we are as educators is we're mentoring kids.  We want them to have the opportunities to discover for themselves instead of forcing knowledge onto them and expecting them just to memorize it.  We want them to be learners.  We want them to be, as the book calls it, a coyote learner where it's questioning everything.  And through questions you discover and you learn and so I use that as kind of my nature spine of going out into the nature preserve that we go to.  We hike for about 20 minutes and then I spread out a big tarp and I do a story with them and then I find some sort of fairy tale that has to do with our theme for the month and then we nature sketch and we do a drawing lesson on the nature - like yesterday was birds - so we did a little bit of a sketching lesson using John Meir Laws on how to sketch birds.  And then I teach them a folk song!  And so I love that folk songs are so nature based.  It is so easy to find a folk song that has to do with whatever lesson we're doing.  The first month our lesson was on the Tennessee fresh water muscles and I found a song - it's not about Tennessee - but it's about muscles and so a French folk song.  (Singing in French)  So I taught them in French and we played a singing game.  Yesterday was about birds so we sang Little Swallow.  I had Bluebird, Bluebird ready, but we didn't have enough time.  And then next month we're going to talk about - I called it... it's our 'cute rodent theme' - we'll do squirrels and woodchucks.  I know at least one of the songs and games will be Hop Old Squirrel.  So that's... I mean nature has been such a huge passion of mine as well so it's really great that I can combine both the nature and the music together.

Jessica:  And like you said, there's so many folk songs and folk materials surrounding that.

RaeAnna:  It is so easy.

Jessica:  How long have you been homeschooling them then?

RaeAnna:  Since 2015.

Jessica:  How did your homeschool situation work with teaching music?

RaeAnna:  Well fortunately we have a very large population of homeschoolers where I live so just putting it out there to say 'Hey I'm going to teach this class and come on over' so I've taught a lot in my home and then we've also had churches open up their doors for groups to come in and we've done group classes for music in church fellowship halls.

Jessica:  Yeah, you have this resource that you've curated and created.  Can you tell us a little bit about what made you interested in creating the - it's called the Composer's Study Companion.

RaeAnna:  Yeah!  You took classes with Dr. Thomas, right?

Jessica:  Oh I love Dr. Thomas.  Yes!

RaeAnna:  Me too.  You know, I honestly - he had a reputation for being the hardest professor in the music building, but I just loved his classes.  I loved - I think I loved the challenge also because of my personality.  I was like this is the hardest class but I'm gonna do good and I learned so much just from the challenge that it was to really just focus on listening.  When I started homeschooling, there's a method of education called Charlotte Mason and Charlotte Mason was a British educator in the early 1900s who wrote a volume, a set of volumes, about educational philosophy so she's not a music person at all, but she used a lot of really great musical ideas in the curriculum through the people that she trusted to teach music and one of them was Annie Curwen.  And you've heard of the Curwen hand signs.  Her father-in-law is John Curwen, who wrote Tonic Sol-fa, which is kind of like, I don't know, maybe an early development of what we now have in Kodaly.  And when I started researching Charlotte Mason for just our homeschool, I started hearing more about Tonic Sol-fa and that is what the schools used in England in the early 1900s

When I looked at the Tonic Solfa method, I thought okay, this is very antiquated because we have so many amazing resources through Kodaly.  Through Orff.  So I've also had a passion for homeschool moms and dads to know how you can adapt just musical education as well through singing and then there's also the composer side.  And so they also in the schools in England, they would always focus on a composer.  Now when I was in the public schools, I always did a composer of the month because I would see my kids once a week and we could have four listening activities per composer and I would rotate them through the years so we actually would like within 3 or 4 years we would never repeat a composer because we had so many to choose from and so many activities.   So I really wanted to give that to homeschool parents, you know, they don't always have the opportunities to put their kids in a class with a teacher who can expound on the form of a piece of music or really help a student to hear the instrumentation; to hear the timbre of the flutes or the oboes or English horns.  The average homeschool parent without a musical background wouldn't know the difference between an English horn and an oboe, you know.  So things like that I love having the resource of the internet to share videos and share lesson plans and things for, like I said, the average homeschool mom to follow and guide a student in that listening.

Jessica:  When you created this, how did you begin putting it together?

RaeAnna:  Yeah, one of the resources used in some of those old, old classrooms back in the early 1900s was a book called Thomas Tapper's Child's Own Book of Great Musicians.  These are public domain.  Thomas Tapper wrote a set of 12 composers and they're really sweet little biographies and it's biography written for a child to read with pictures to cut out and paste into the book so as you're reading the biography about the composer you can put a little picture of what Bach's keyboard looked like or what Mozart's house looked like.  So just little pictures like that.  So that's the biography part of it.  You know, learning about music history is learning about the composer's life, but also knowing the music and this old resource of Thomas Tapper's doesn't have any sort of audio recording to go with it.  There are lists of suggested pieces, but with my ten years plus of teaching about composers through active movement and maybe even singing the melody to some songs.  We loved Beethoven's Wig!  It really gets the kids to really listen for the melody and to understand the melody and to recognize the melody and when they hear a song, they can say 'Oh!  I recognize that.  That's Fur Elise by Beethoven!  Or things like that so that's how I started with the book that I wrote.

Now the book that I wrote also has a short biography that I just put in there.  You know, I'm talking to the general mom or the general dad of hey - this is something interesting about Mozart's life.  And I could read you a passage if you'd want to hear.  I pulled out Mozart. I was looking through Mozart because what I'm doing right now is proofreading and editing the book before it's published, but I wrote in here - these are just my own words.  Just think of a conversation and we're sitting down to coffee and I'm sharing how excited I am about Mozart!

"Mozart was a prodigy born into a musical family and he was destined for greatness.  His father was already an accomplished composer and toured around with his children in performances throughout Europe.  Mozart was from Austria and started touring at age three and started composing at age five.  Knowing how to compose music involves knowing how to improvise and Mozart was a master."

And so I'll talk about those types of characteristics of Mozart's composing and how he used Theme and Variation so much in his music.  And what a concerto is.  His Oboe Concerto.  So just different things about the composer's life and his music.

Jessica:  And will there be links so that you can find it online somewhere or just the title.  By the title people will be able to find the music to it?

RaeAnna:  Yeah, so YouTube is awesome.  I went ahead and I made playlists for all of the suggested pieces.  Every composer has six suggested pieces.  So the way that the schools in England would do it, is instead of a composer a month, they would do a composer a term. So that means you'd take one composer over 12 weeks and that really allowed the students to live with that style. To live with that music that way they could recognize when they hear 'Oh wait that sounds like Mozart.'  That might be a Classical piece of music.  So I also talks about that - about the different periods of music history - and how, I'll go back to the Mozart again - I wrote:

"When I explain to my students how to explain music from this era, I give examples of the term Style Galant, which is a style lighter and elegant than the serious nature of the ornamental Baroque period.  Cadences are also usually over the top at the end of the pieces giving that final resolution a clear and precise finality."

So yeah I hope that my passion comes through in these biographies and then the selections of the songs that every student should hear and should know.  And I like I said, those 12 weeks - really live with that composer in music.  That he wrote.  This book is just all - I'll list you the composers.  I do plan to do some stand alone lists on my blog like for Amy Beach and Fanny Mendelssohn, but the 12 composers in this book:
Bach, Mozart, Beethoven, Handel, Haydn, Liszt, Verdi, Schubert, Grieg, Chopin, Schumann, Wagner, and then I'll also have a glossary.
You were asking about the links - the playlist links - for each of those composers.

Jessica:  Those are great!  Amy Beach is actually one that I did like a whole paper and a whole research thing on because I love her music.

RaeAnna:  Yes, me too.  We're going to hear the Gaelic Symphony next week at the National Symphony.

Jessica:  Oh you are?!

RaeAnna:  Yes!

Jessica:  It's so pretty!  I love her music and her story and just - just amazing and how her mom didn't want her to learn.  She wanted her to wait a while before she started, but she just kept going back to the piano and playing and then they realized she really does have a gift, you know...

RaeAnna:  Yes, yes.  That perseverance!

Jessica:  And I love how when you wrote the story, like as you were reading it, that it's more relatable for the students to hear.  You know, as you were telling about how Mozart was composing melodies and out of that grew and he developed - not developed - out of that grew improvisations and he created and he traveled with his father.  It's language - I should say - it's language kids can understand.

RaeAnna:  What we call in the Charlotte Mason kind of world is we call it 'living.'  It's like a living book because it's narrative in its style instead of dry textbook facts.

Jessica:  Yeah.  I like that because so often the students when we do composer studies or things, they can't really identify with the composer and I always like to give them information that makes them living - that makes them alive for them!  If homeschool families are using these resources, how would they - if they're not a music teacher - how do you hope they would use this resource with their child?

RaeAnna:  In the beginning of the book, I've done a whole chapter on how to implement.  I think it is overwhelming.  It's like that story "how do you eat an elephant?"  You just have to take one bite at a time.  If you're not a musical person and the thought of trying to teach your kid music is really overwhelming, I hope that just the small step by step of:
1) Turn on the song
2) Listen to it
3) Can you hear this happening in the song?

I do also plan on also having some live videos on my page where if there is a reader who is curious - okay, how does this actually look?  I would actually love to answer questions through Facebook .  I have the Facebook page set up and I have the YouTube page set up.  Just doing things like that that promotes community I would hope could also be a help for parents who are unsure.  And you had asked me about how music teachers use this because I know that listeners of your podcasts are mostly professionals.  The seasoned music teachers probably won't get a lot out of this just be honest because they've been around the block.  They already know awesome tips and tricks of using what I call 'active listening' in their music classroom, but if it helps - it's not going to be a very expensive book on Amazon and if it helps to get some more listening ideas, I would hope that they would also enjoy checking it out.  Just to continue to promote that love to classical students.

And they're not long lessons.  You know, when I was in the classroom, our composer of the month would maybe last 10 minutes out of the 45 minutes I have with them.  We worked on rhythm.  We worked on solfege.  We worked on reading and improvisation and the whole Orff process within lessons so actually doing a whole composer study is not going to be taking up 30 minutes of your class time.

Jessica:  What ages would you say you've aimed the book towards?  Is it more elementary?

RaeAnna:  Well, I tried to aim it towards all ages because as homeschool families, we do raise a family with multiple ages and I mean I'm almost 40 years old.  I enjoy listening and doing the same activities that the kids will be doing and I feel like they'll get a lot out of it.  There might be some that are more geared towards younger students because let's say you have a high schooler who has already studied the instruments of the orchestra.  They know their families really well.  You don't need to beat that concept into them if they can already recognize and pull out the timbres from their listening of 'oh yeah that's the brass section'; that's the percussion section.  But for a younger student, that's a great way to teach that concept through listening.

For the younger students, I do have some suggestions of actually following a score.  And I've given some links - especially when you get into some opera - I think that opera is a great genre to study for students so that they can be familiar with the storylines especially if they're already reading Gerta and Proust and all of these Greek mythology and they have an understanding of that.  Then they can be like "oh wow well Wagner's Ring Cycle - that's really interesting how he pulled in all of this mythology" and they can make this connection.  And I have that in the book so I really was thinking of all ages when I wrote it, but I can't help if my nurturing side of elementary comes out more than any sort of high academic side.

Jessica:  And I was thinking as you talking like well... I was thinking of all the places in Dallas: the Dallas Opera or the Winspear Theater - they'll do different events, the Dallas Symphony Orchestra.  You know, just if you're near a city or even a local community, you can go ahead and go online to their websites and find what's ahead in the season, which may then relate to if they see the composer in the book!

RaeAnna:  That's exactly what we're doing right now.  Christian and Eva Mae have been listening to Puccini and we're going to go see Madame Butterfly on October 5, I think it is.  We go to Dress Rehearsal because my kids are 10 and 7.  I don't want to pay $50 a ticket for a 10 and 7 year old and we have an awesome arts education organization that allows students to go to dress rehearsals because they want students to be exposed to the wonderful art and it's also not going to be distracting for those who did pay $50 a ticket if my 7 year is like "Mommy!  Mommy!  Mommy!"

 Jessica:  We just went to see Sleeping Beauty by the Texas Ballet Theater so we were listening to some of the music by Tchaikovsky in the car and things.  My youngest daughter really enjoyed it.  She was like this was amazing!  My older daughter was like, you know what I could appreciate it.  It wasn't my thing, but I could appreciate it.  I thought well we must be exposing her to enough of things if she can appreciate what she's heard even if she doesn't love it, but then we were talking about on the way home like "What did you notice about the dancing?  Or what did you notice about the music?  Or just the storyline in general about how they portrayed it? And I think that's just important to get our kids thinking about what they hear and how it relates to the movement or how it relates to the orchestra.  We got to go to the orchestra pit and we were talking about the different instruments as they were warming up.  I just think that's such a huge blessing that honestly I don't remember as a kid seeing a live orchestra until I was a little older.

RaeAnna:  It's sad - so the National Symphony is amazing.  They have young people concerts - about three a year.  As homeschoolers, we're also invited to attend and there's usually more homeschoolers than there are public schools sometimes because of funding for buses and some public schools just can't get there which is so sad.  And I was there.  All the years that I was teaching in public school I tried to get a field trip to the symphony, but all the grade levels - they could only do one a year and they'd already been set up with how they wanted to set up their field trip allotment so the best that I could do was bring in groups into the school and we had some assemblies where they could hear small chamber groups.  I would teach the composer of the month.  We would learn and get familiar with famous pieces about a certain composer and then chamber group could come in and play some of those.  Yeah, I hope for the sake of our society that the arts will continue to be put at the forefront of education and hope for a revitalization of that - the importance of the arts.

Jessica:  We were talking about that at dinner tonight actually.  I was just talking about the exposure of music and what kids are exposed to and what...like Riley, we were playing the big overture to Sleeping Beauty and she was like 'gosh that's so much.'  I got to thinking like man, I need to play even more for her to get used to it because she's like 'I really hate it and I don't like it' and I'm like... I said 'I don't know that ..." and I shouldn't have said it this way maybe - but I'm like I don't know if you hate it.  It's just so different and you're not used to it that you don't relate to it and so getting to relate to the music just by hearing it.  And it might not be like all that they consume, but having it be part of what they learn about so that it's familiar and that they understand the history behind it and the people behind it and kind of the, like you said earlier, it just becomes alive.  They're living composers or living music.  And I think that's important.  It's a challenge for me - to do more with it.

We kind of talked about this, but what do you believe students can learn studying composers?

RaeAnna:  I believe that there are multiple disciplines that are enhanced through the study of music.  I think that all the studies that have been done on the Mozart effect and all of that - how music affects the brain - there's nothing but positive research.  That's one reason I also am a big fan of the aesthetic of how music makes you feel.  That quote: "Where words fail, music speaks" - is so true to the human soul.  Now we are all different.  Music might not speak to someone the same way that it speaks to me.  I might put on my YouTube playlist and I still cry every time I hear Barbara's Adagio for Strings or Aaron Copland's Appalachian Spring.  Like there are pieces that just touch my soul and I can't help but cry.  Actually my kids were laughing at me because Puccini's O Mio Babbino Caro.  Like it started playing - I have a playlist in the car of Puccini's music to get them familiar with Puccini before we go to Madame Butterfly and it came on.  I was like 'Oh guys I love this song so much!  It makes me cry.'  My daughter's like "Don't cry!"

But I mean I think if you don't expose your child, if you don't expose your students, how will they know how music affects them?  How will they know what affects their soul?  So for me that's a big thing.  But the whole...science and brain physiology and effects.  The positive effect that it can be on a person.  I mean you have that left side of the brain part, but you also have that right side of the brain that is the creative and the emotional and the aesthetic.  And that's what I hope parents can see as they expose their children to classical music on how that is just a positive effect.  I've never met anyone who is like 'Oh I wish I hadn't listened to all that classical music - it didn't do anything for me.'  I mean, there's just been so much research that we can point to that listening to classical music is just so good for your brain and your soul.

Jessica:  For me personally it's like I can't imagine my life without music at all.  It really is - it's what I turn to when I have a hard time.  It's what I turn to when I want something joyful.  And you have different seasons of life where you look back and listen to a song and it brings back all of those emotions and everything you've felt.  Some people it happens that way with smell where they're like 'oh' - they recognize a smell and it brings back memories, but for me it's music.  It's everything for that and it's yeah - very, very moving.  Do you have a favorite - I mean you mentioned a few songs - but do you have a favorite song or a favorite composer that you enjoy teaching about?

RaeAnna:  I always gravitate towards Aaron Copland.  I love the themes within music that are patriotic.  I love the orchestration and the teaching elements that can be done through... do you say Rodeo or Rodeo?

Jessica:  I say Rodeo.  I actually had a... I don't know - how do you pronounce it?

RaeAnna:  I say Rodeo too.

Jessica:  I've always called it Rodeo, but now that I live in Texas I really would say Rodeo but...

RaeAnna:  But yeah so Aaron Copland is not in my book because what I wanted to do with this book was I wanted it to be a companion to the books by Thomas Tapper so a parent can get the biography book by Thomas Tapper and my composer companion book and they can use both of them to really dig deep into those composers, but I do have plans to make a study for Tchaikovsky.  To make a study for Copland.  To make a study for Amy Beach.  That follows the same kind of layout in the book.  I talked a little bit about the layout like I have a biography that I wrote like a conversational 'this is what I love about the composer and this is what his life was like and then six pieces.

And then I also have a story at the end that is a public domain story.  In researching the writings about composers that may have been used in the schools a long time ago, I found some gems that I'd never heard about.  One of the books that I tried to pull most from - it's called Face to Face with Great Musicians written by Charles David Isaacson in 1918 and they're great stories.  These are going to be geared more to the high schoolers, but they're stories - wonderful stories that put you into the time of the composer.  Like I think it's with Grieg's section, they're walking along the road and they see Grieg sitting at the table and they go up to him and start a conversation and so it's just a really sweet narrative, but again it's written in 1918 so the language I think would be hard for an elementary student to follow, but great for high schoolers.  So when I make Tchaikovsky, Copland, and Amy Beach, I want to follow that same sort of format to have y own narrative, to have the six selected pieces with activities and the biography story from public domain.

I didn't really talk about the activities - do you want me to talk about the activities with the six selections?  So I just made a Facebook Live today on the Composer Study Companion Facebook page while I'm proofreading the Mozart.  I thought 'oh this piece would be great for like a Move It! Activity.  Are you familiar with John Feierabend and Move It?

Jessica:  Yup - yeah.

RaeAnna:  So I've said several times throughout our interview about form and I really do feel like if I were to say what is the most important intellectual thing to get from classical music, it would be to understand form.  And I put a quote in the book as well of another musicologist who talked about how important form is.  Movement is great to demonstrate form for students.  So I have - if we want to make a link of something when you do the podcast - we can link to the live video and I walk the viewer through the Minuet and Trio in G Major of Mozart on the form of the piece.  And I'll just read to you - if you're looking at the book, if you're reading the chapter on Mozart, you get to the chapter with the six selections.  I have them with the title - the head is the title - and then I again talk about what I could do.  Can I just read?

Jessica:  Yeah - Go for it!

RaeAnna: Okay - K-1: Ask your kids what they remember doing when they were five years old.  It's amazing to know that this song was composed by Mozart when he was only five years old and it's the very first song recorded into his musical collection.  It's listed as 'K1' for the man (Kochel).  He collected all of Mozart's works and catalogued them for future preservation.  Many composers will have strange letters after the title of the piece.  If it is not a musical term, it usually will be an indicator of a catalog work.  Bach's works, for example, are listed B.W.V for Bach-Werke-Verzeichnis... I don't know how to pronounce it!  We're going to have some Bach musicologists that are going to crucify me for that!  So what I like to do for each of those listening examples is give a little bit about the piece and then an activity.  So the activities is going to be a movement and I made a video so you can follow the video to teach the form of the piece.

Jessica:  Do you have any listening maps?

RaeAnna:  I did!  There are a couple of places online that have some listening maps and I've linked to those websites so that they could go directly to like the Dallas Symphony Orchestra and see for the Young People's Concert, this listening map was used for it.  And I do talk about listening maps in the book because I love listening maps.  It's great.  It's really good for the kids to be able to follow along. Make that where you're teaching all the educational learning styles - you've got the visual; you've got the auditory; you've got the kinesthetic, which I think is very important as an education to make sure that every students is different so some students will learn more through one style.

Jessica:  So where can we find all these resources that you've talked about?  Is your book published?

RaeAnna:  It will be published by the end of the year.  My goal is to have it ready in December.  I have a team of about 15 proofreaders and I've asked them to give me back my feedback at the end of September so that I can go ahead and get all the formatting done because it'll be available on Amazon.  The book will be a print book, but you'll get a free pdf or e-book as well because I have so many links in it.  I mean you can't study composers without listening.  So to do all that leg work to make sure that the right one is selected for the right song.  All those links will be available just to click when you have the e-book.  Just an e-book is available too.  As a homeschool mom, sometimes I'm not always at a place where I can click a link and I might want to just work on the biography today so picking up the book to be able to read to them, I think, is going to be very handy.

Jessica:  What is your website?

RaeAnna:  The blog that I have for Composer Study Companion - I believe that's the actual website - it's www.composerstudy.home.blog

Jessica:  And you also have a resource called Solfa... I'm going to say it wrong.

RaeAnna:  Solfa Sofa - yeah!  And I chose that name, because I don't know about you, but always love that some tone sets make words and one of the ones that my kids love is  (singing)  so-la-mi = salami!  So-fa = sofa.  So that's why I picked that kind of silly name.  But yeah, remember when I was talking back about John Curwen and the tonic Solfa method, I do.  I feel like - I might have Charlotte Mason people come after me with pitchforks by saying this, but it is an antiquated system.

The way that the Curwen's taught rhythm especially - I'm not sure if you're familiar with the tonic Solfa system?  With rhythm, they did not have any sort of bar notation.  With Kodály, we could have the Kodály notation.  We could just have one line that stands for 'ta' or 'du' or whatever system you have.  The beamed eighth notes - titi.  What they would have with the Curwen system was - maybe I'll put up a picture; it's really hard to describe.  It's easier to see a picture, but they have the solfege syllables.  So let's say you had a measure:

So - Mi - So - So - Mi

They would just have the S M  SS  M, but there was no bar notation to delineate ta ta titi ta - it was just spaced a specific way on the page.  So you would have to know how the spacing happened and how the pulse happened.  It is a method and it was successful back in the day, but we have Kodály now and we have notation software that is really easy for kids to follow that.  And the reason that they did it and the reason that the Tonic Solfa method was created was 'sound before sight.'  To be able to feel the pulse, hear the intervals, sing back the intervals, and not be taught the lines and spaces  of a five line space.  And we do that the same way in the elementary system in our schools is we teach them iconic notation.  We teach them the Kodály bar stick notation before we teach them how to read (singing) S-M-SS-M on a five line staff with quarter notes and eighth notes.  In its own way it was elemental in its approach, but I feel like we have much better now.  So my Solfa Sofa is very much pulling from my Kodály training and Orff training in helping families start with the tone sets.
And I start with:
So-Mi
So-Mi-La
Mi-Re-Do
Do-Re-Mi-So-La

You know, so they can go through those graduated methods of the learning solfa.

Jessica:  That sequence...

RaeAnna:  Yeah - that sequence.  That's the word I was looking for!

Jessica:  Can we find it like on a separate tab or is it on a different website?

RaeAnna:  Yeah, I started Solfa Sofa two years ago.  Maybe three years ago.  I just set it up again as a WordPress Blog.  I did put a link of it on the composer study companion.  I have a homeschool blog of the stuff that I do with my kids that's all history, geography, all that stuff, but then you know with my background in music I wanted to have those resources for families so I have a separate page for the solfa/solfege lessons and then I have a separate page for the Composer lessons.

Jessica:  Excellent.  So many great resources.  I think it's so great that you're doing so much of this and putting it out there for other teachers and moms and dads and families.

RaeAnna:  I think it's a blessing that I homeschool and that I have the time to do it because I remember being full-time public school teacher.  There's no time to put something like this together so I just, I consider it a blessing that I do... that I can approach this style of teaching for the average homeschool mom or dad.  Or even just the average mom or dad.  I mean if there is a family that wants to incorporate more music into their child's education at home after they come home, you know, this is a great great resource to do that.

Jessica:  If someone had questions - I mean obviously they can go to your blog - but if someone had questions about how you use it or just about the materials, how could they contact you?

RaeAnna:  If anyone does have questions, reach out to me.  I'm readily available to answer questions.  Like I said before, having the internet now I think is such a wonderful tool for us as educators because we have this broad network of people to reach out to and help and so, you know, if there's a specific question or request even, posting that on Facebook or in an email (raeanna@gmail.com) , I would love to run with that and answer questions on Facebook Live or YouTube or yeah...

Jessica:  And are you on Twitter or Instagram?  I mean I know you're on Facebook.

RaeAnna:  Yeah I am on Instagram - @gosshomeschool.

Jessica:  Thank you so much for talking - it was so nice.  I really enjoyed hearing about your resources.  I'll make sure to put some links out so that way we can be watching for when it comes out at the end of the year.

RaeAnna:  Thank you Jessica.

Jessica:  Repost later.  This was great.

RaeAnna:  This was so wonderful.  I really enjoyed talking with you.


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