Remedial Education: First Year Curriculum

by Bernard Brandt

As mentioned elsewhere, I have decided to undertake a self-tuition for the next ten years, in which the first three years will involve a mastery of the Trivium of Grammar, Logic, and Rhetoric, and the fundamentals of an updated Quadrivium of Music, Mathematics, Physics, and Visual studies.

As this decision took the form of a New Year’s Resolution, and as we know that most such resolutions go the way of all flash (pun intended), and as I have tried this before, alas, I have decided to articulate a first year curriculum. I also intend on committing myself to weekly progress reports, indicating what I have done in the previous week. I will not be posting these on Facebook, but they should be available to anyone who follows my weblog.

I have already mentioned that I intended on starting my studies of the Trivium with Grammar, and that, to that end, I intend on spending my first year on a mastery of Greek, and twelve or so weeks, or one quarter year each, on getting the fundamentals of the following four languages: Old English, Mediaeval Latin, French and German. I also intend on a short course of study as to what Modern Linguistics has found as to the understanding of the form and structure of language. And I will be attempting to make use of what Timothy Ferriss and others have taught about ‘hacking’ languages.

As regards the Quadrivium, I have decided that it would be best to start with Mathematics and Music. Physics depends upon an understanding of Mathematics, and Visual Studies have as their foundation Geometry, which I will be studying through Mathematics.

As for Music, I have decided on three initial and parallel courses of study: Musicianship, Voice, and Guitar. For Musicianship, I will be starting with Marta Ghezzo’s Solfege, Ear Training, Rhythm, Dictation, and Music Theory: A Comprehensive Courseand Ron Gorem’s Hearing and Writing Music. For Voice, my main text will be the study of Richard Miller’s The Structure of Singing. I have not decided yet on a text or texts for Guitar, but will be learning and memorizing the notes on the fretboard, and will be working my way through the fingering of scales, chords, arppegii, and progressions.

As for Mathematics, my main text will be Mathematics for the Million. I intend upon studying a chapter per month, and at that rate, should be done in a year’s time. I also intend upon a mastery of calculation, following in the steps of Alexander Aitken and John Wallis. I will begin by mastering times tables up to 30 x 30, and factoring numbers up to 900. I will then work my way through the mental algorithms provided in the following books: How to Master Everyday Math Problems, Dead Reckoning, and Vedic Mathematics.

In short, these will be my texts and plans for the next three months:


–Pharr,  Homeric Greek;

–Sweet, Anglo Saxon Reader;

–Bodner & Hogben, The Loom of Language.


–Ghezzo, Solfege, Ear Training, Rhythm, Dictation, and Music Theory: A Comprehensive Course;

–Gorem, Hearing and Writing Music;

–Miller, The Structure of Singing.


–Hogben, Mathematics for the Million;

–Flansburg, How to Master Everyday Math Problems.

We’ll see just how far I get in the next three months.

Postscript: I am endebted to Jeffrey Tucker, for his recommendation of two books by Henry Hazlett, Thinking as a Science and The Way to Will Power. As a result of reading the latter, I have come to the conclusion that some ways that I will develop the will power to continue on this course of studies, and of actions, can only be through the willingness to give up other things. To that end, I intend on cancelling my subscription to cable TV, and to greatly curtail my participation in Facebook.