Cedar Ring Mama

Taking My Cues From Mother Earth

Waldorf Book Review: “Music Through the Grades- In the Light of the Developing Child”



I am super excited about this new book.  Diane Ingraham Barnes has really done us a huge service, and for every Waldorf-inspired homeschooling parent out there with children in the grades, I feel this is a must-have.  She has collected over 200 songs, divided each song by grade and the themes of that grade, and based all of this on over 20 years of insight into child development.  There are certainly plenty of song books available for kindergarten-age children already on the market for the Waldorf niche, but this book takes you through first to eighth grade and features 3 CD’s for the first three grades, enabling those still learning to read music to hear each of the songs before attempting to play. She includes wise notes and suggested activities to accompany the songs, with pedagogical insights on how to best meet the children where they are at during each grade, too.

Grade One comes with 17 songs to mark the seasons and passage of time and speak to the themes of the year; 21 more such songs which are also in the mood of the fifth; and 7 songs specifically geared for learning to play the pentatonic flute.  Grade 2 selections offer 31 theme/season related songs with notes on both lyre and kinderharp.  Grade Three offers 30; it also offers four songs particularly suited to teaching/playing C-flute.  All 112 of the Grades 1-3 songs are sung on CD by Diane so you can better learn to play them if, like me, reading music is not a proficiency for you. In Grade Four, the round is introduced with plenty of songs particularly suited to it; in Grade Five, iron rod activities are discussed; in Grade 6, Diane explains how to meet the child studying the Renaissance period with chants, canons, and Renaissance dances.  Seventh grade is particularly suited to the fugue and madrigals, and eighth to the opera and beginnings of choral singing as puberty and changing voices allow for it.

I plan to spend the summer becoming familiar with playing the second grade songs, especially ones related to saints and fables, as I immerse myself in D’aulaire’s Saints and Fables books (and would you believe, my dear librarian ordered five books of saints geared towards children just for me after I came in asking about them recently and there were none to be found? So sweet of her!). I do have three copies of Music Through the Grades available now (it was brand new in late April, and already my supplier sold out of their first shipment, so I had to go directly to the publisher to meet all the orders for it from our May book sale).  Please take advantage of 20% savings with the code JUNE20 and low $1.99 shipping rate. 😉 This code will also work on other products storewide, although after the last very successful sale in May the shop is a bit wiped out. I will be restocking soon! And our next co-op order is coming up very shortly in early July… wait til you see all the new things that are going to be available!

Stay tuned for another book review soon- I’ve just ordered Christine Shafer’s latest book, Magic Wool Fruit Children for the shop and have a few copies of that available, too- and one for me, you know, ahem- for reviewing purposes 😉 I can’t wait to dive into this bit of needle-felting, nature table delight!


2 thoughts on “Waldorf Book Review: “Music Through the Grades- In the Light of the Developing Child”

  1. Hi there,
    Just ordered the book. I’m very much looking forward to it. I’m preparing for 1st & 2nd grade this fall. I’m curious to know the five books of saints geared towards children that you ordered through your library. My library has ordered books I’ve requested before, and I would love some suggestions.

    • Hi Susan, she ordered Saints Tell Their Stories, Loyola Kids’ Book of Saints, Loyola Treasury of Saints, The Giant at the Ford and Other Legends of Saints, & Lives and Legends of the Saints with Paintings from the Great Museums of the World. I am not sure if she knew I was teaching about them, some of these are geared for children to read themselves- maybe by the end of 2nd grade my son would read well enough, but I plan to tell the stories- I really love D’Aulaire’s Book of Saints too which will be available to order by the next co-op order, or maybe through a library system (mine didn’t have it).

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