Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Maestro Classics Review

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Maestro Classics was created by music director Stephen Simon and executive director Bonnie Ward Simon as a way to help parents and children better understand and appreciate symphonic music at home. Maestro Classics combines the performance of symphony music with narrations ranging from classical children's stories to historical information about the authors and composers.

A moms review: 
I have heard many fabulous things about Maestro Classics over the last few years, but it wasn't until several weeks ago that we got to actually experience all that these amazing CD's have to offer. We received two CDs to review My Name is Handel: The Story of Handel's Water Music and The Sorcerer's Apprentice.

Both of my children (ages 6 and 8) love music including, classical music (I'm sure it has something to do with the fact that I played classical music for them every night when they were babies). We listen to all types music at home and in the car during our many adventures, so it was no surprise they loved Maestro Classics. Maestro Classics are geared towards children ages 5-12, but I personally say they are great for audiences of all ages. Both my husband and I enjoyed the CD's as much at the children.

The Maestro Classics CDs highlight famous works by various composers. Each classical music CD contains a performance by the London Philharmonic Orchestra. But there's more! Each CD also provides background information about the compositions and the composers as well as biographies, definitions to musical terminology, explanations about the themes and moods, information about the types of instruments, sing a longs and more.

Inside each CD package there is a small activity booklet that contains the history and background of the music, a biography on the composer, words to sing a longs, musical terms, puzzles and more.

More about the CDs we received:

My Name is Handel: The Story of Handel's "Water Music": 
My Name is Handel is the story of the German composer George Frideric Handel set to his symphony music. Water Music was written by Handel to surprise King of George during a royal boat trip on the River Thames. We not only got to listen to beautiful music, but we learned some great history too. And did you know that some say Handel was a spy? The activity booklet contains lots of great information about Handel's life, what an orchestra looked like during Handel's time, important churches in Handel's life, traveling in Handel's day, and more. 

The 6 tracks include:
  1. The Story of Water Music - provides a historical look at the composition of Water Music
  2. About Handel and the Story - provides information about Handel and the time period he lived in
  3. "My Name is Handel" Song - presents a fun way to learn about Handel through a song
  4. About the Music with the Maestro - gives information about the different types of music written by Handel as well as musical terms and themes 
  5. Prepare to Perform - prepares you to sing along to the "My Name is Handel" song
  6. "My Name is Handel" Sing Along - encourages you to sing along to the "My Name is Handel" song

The Sorcerer’s Apprentice: 
The Sorcerer's Apprentice was composed by Paul Dukas and based on a poem written by the German poet Goethe which was based off an ancient Greek story. This ancient Greek story is about a young apprentice that tries to get his chores done the easy way by using magic. So he casts a spell that puts the brooms to work for him. But his magic spell doesn't work quiet as well as he had hoped and he cannot figure out how to end it. This CD also included some great history and geography lessons too.The activity booklet contains lots of great information about the poet, composer and Greek author, the orchestra, mallets, drum and bugle corps and more. There are also several puzzle activities in the booklet!

The 7 tracks include:
  1. The Sorcerer's Apprentice - provides a summary about the Sorcerer's Apprentice
  2. About the Story - provides background information about the story and the authors throughout history
  3. March of the Brooms - presents the music to one of the scores movements
  4. About the Music - provides a narration about the themes, instruments, and musical devices used in the composition
  5. The Sorcerer's Apprentice - presents the original version of the song
  6. Prepare to Perform - prepares families to use pots and pans for instruments to play your version of the March of the Brooms
  7. Play-Along for Kitchen Percussion - encourages you to play your instruments along to the March of the Brooms

After listening to each of the CD's we would work through the activity booklet together and discuss the music in more detail. I also made the children a music journal page to enhance the information learned from the CD's. (get your free music journal page below). The CD's also peaked my children's interest to learn more so we visited the local library and checked out books on music, the composers, and various time periods. 

Other titles include:
-Swan Lake
-Peter and the Wolf
-Carnival of the Animals
-Mike Mulligan and His Steam Shovel
-Casey at the Bat
-Juanita the Spanish Lobster
-Soldier's Tale
-Tortoise and the Hare

If you are looking for fun, educational, beautifully done music CD's for children I highly recommend Maestro Classics.

I made this music journal page to compliment our learning. Download your copy here or click on the photo below.

Gwyn (8 yrs old) review:
I loved the music on the CD's. They were beautiful and we learned a lot about the composers and music. I liked listening to them on our long car rides!

Links to follow:
-Maestro Classics Website
-Maestro Classics Facebook
-Maestro Classics Twitter
-Maestro Classics Pinterest

Where to buy:
Maestro Classics are available on CD for $16.98 or downloadable Mp3 for $9.98.

Click here for more Maestro Classics reviews from the The Schoolhouse Review Crew.

Click to read Crew Reviews

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