Parents' Choice Foundation: Reviewing Children's Media Since 1978

Quaver's Marvelous World of Music

Quaver's Marvelous World of Music

Fall 2011 DVD
Ages: 6 - 14 yrs.

Quaver's Marvelous World of Music is a comprehensive, classroom DVD series, with teacher guides and a website designed to support teachers and inspire children to learn and love music. This boxed set includes the complete first run of 30 high-energy and entertaining episodes, each covering essential music elements, such as theory, instruments and ensembles, composers, music history, and music styles.

Each episode, hosted by Graham Hepburn, a young concert pianist/music teacher, runs between twelve to fifteen minutes long, and takes place in the fictional music store called Quaver's Marvelous World of Music. Hepburn introduces a revolving cast of kids to a full spectrum of knowledge about music. He uses everything from talking (puppet) busts of famous composers, to clever gadgets, superior visual effects, a live band of student-aged musicians, and some great musical guests, to illustrate each lesson.

The teacher's guide provides clear strategies and suggestions for looking at vocabulary used, key scenes and summaries, discussion points, and really fun and creative classroom activities. There are further suggestions for homework assignments, as well as web activities using Quaver's extensive on-line recourses, which include a myriad of interactive music-making programs. Also very handy for teachers, are guidelines for assessment, wonderful cross-curriculum activities that bridge what students have learned in music with elements of math, science, history and social studies. The books also provide some simple worksheets to scan or photocopy, though most are best used as jumping off exercises, rather than concrete homework or class work.

The second unit in the series includes comprehensive (and one must again stress fun) introductions to instruments, grouped (by episode) into the woodwind family, the brass family, the keyboard family, vocals, guitars and fretted instruments and percussion. The third unit is on composers and musical history, and is particular good, as it takes a potentially dry subject and really makes it come alive for children. It covers the Baroque, Classical, Romantic and Impressionist periods. The fourth unit covers musical styles including Blues, Rock, Reggae and Country (and interestingly not Rap).

A couple of minor caveats, these materials gear more towards teachers (classroom or homeschool) who are at least comfortable with teaching music. The price for the full boxed-set may seem high, but with a formal music program missing in many public schools, it's almost a bargain. Purchase includes a one-year free access to the episode-specific Online Quaver Classroom. Each episode-specific room contains a 'Quaver Quiz', interactive white board activities, hundreds of audio tracks, scores of original Quaver songs and a teacher toolbox packed full of useful resources.

Quaver's Marvelous World of Music is a fun and comprehensive resource for teachers and educators who wish to bring a serious study of music into the classroom experience.

Lahri Bond   ©2011 Parents' Choice
Lahri Bond is a father, a writer, music historian and an art professor in Western Massachusetts. His published books include Spinning Tales Weaving Hope (with the Stories For World Change Network) for New Society Press and People of the Earth (coauthored with Ellen Evert Hopman) for Destiny Books.

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