Throughout the school year, my students learn music history by briefly studying the lives of four great composers. For a few minutes every week or so, I read a short, fun story and then play a piano piece by the featured composer. In2014-2015, this included Bach, Beethoven, Tchaikovsky, and Gershwin.
In May and early June, it's time for review. First we look over a timeline and find the composers' portraits. We discuss the musical period and what was happening in history. We talk about the kind of keyboards available and the popular sound of the time.
Then I play selections and we guess the composer. Is the music written by Bach, or Beethoven, or Tchaikovsky, or Gershwin? When I prompted one young student, "This is George. . . " She quickly answered, "George Clooney!"
The correct answer was "George Gershwin," but that's OK. She's learning, and will guess the right composer next time.