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A Touch of the Infinite: Studies in Music Appreciation with Charlotte Mason (The Mason Method) (Volume 1) Paperback – May 13, 2016
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About the Author
Megan Hoyt stumbled upon Charlotte Mason's principles twenty years ago and is now part of a collectif of veteran educators who provide educational support for teachers and administrators through books, quiet retreats, and one on one mentoring. She moderates the Music section of the AmblesideOnline forum, teaches writing to middle and high school students, and works as a freelance writer. She has a BA in English and History with a lifetime teaching certificate and an MA in Theology. Hildegard’s Gift, her first picture book about Medieval composer Hildegard of Bingen, was released in 2014 with Paraclete Press. Megan Hoyt lives in Charlotte, NC, with her husband, three furry pups, and a parrot.
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A Touch of the Infinite is an excellent resource for adding music to education--in a homeschool, after kids get back from school, or for yourself. Megan Elizabeth Hoyt struck a wonderful balance between casting a vision for musical education and practical suggestions. I am so glad to own a copy of this book for frequent reference.
Hoyt includes invaluable insight into helping us understand composers and complicated music, while also explaining how simpler forms also serve a purpose. From musical instruments to singing to being an educated audience member at symphonies and other concerts, Hoyt covers so much ground in the book that there probably isn't any way you could complete it all in a lifetime. In that sense, I see this book as a great inspiration, a practical guide, and a lifelong handbook for growing in understanding, making, and appreciating music in many genres and forms.
"Students need to know why it is important that they learn about music—what purpose it will serve for their lives. What do we expect to accomplish in providing them with a cultured existence full of art, music, architecture, and sculpture?...The benefit of learning about all aspects of the arts and sciences, mathematics and history, is that it encourages us to form relationships with people, things, and events of the past, present, and future—to understand our universe and to fully grasp our place within the broader scheme."
In compiling this resource, Hoyt drew on her own extensive background in music, as well as her review of British educator Charlotte Mason's methods for music instruction. Even if you're not a Charlotte Mason fan, you might be surprised to see how widely applicable the principles are in music, and Hoyt did a masterful job of discussing how CM schools handled music while also pulling in her own outside knowledge and experience.
We study a composer every school term, and often have music playing at home (classical, yes, but other genres, too). But until I read A Touch of the Infinite, I never realized how many opportunities there are for training our ears, increasing our understanding, and building our enjoyment of the music we surround ourselves with. I'm excited to put many of these tactics and suggestions into place for the new school year, and highly recommend this book.