Maestro Classics is a wonderful program designed to brng classical compositions to life by coupling them with traditional stories such as The Tortoise and the Hare (the CD selection that I received) as well as Peter & the Wolf, The Story of Swan Lake, Mike Mulligan & His Steam Shovel, to name but a few of their offerings.
There were a few things about this musical program that really appealed to me. For one thing I loved the illustrations that were used on the CD case as well as in the instructional booklet that is included. And speaking of instructional booklets, this one is a winner. Although it is small (to fit inside of the CD case) it is chock full of activities, information and discussion points for the entire family.
In The Tortoise and the Hare booklet they have information on the musical instruments that were used on the CD as well as a basic intoduction to musical notation and how it relates to math. My youngest daughter loves animals so the section on the difference between turtles/tortoises and rabbits/hares. There is are crossword puzzles, word scrambles and memory exercises to test how well the listeners were paying attention to the story.
The music is beautiful and played by the London Philharmonic Orchestra. So needless to say, the music is of excellent quality and very pleasing to listen to and sing along with for the kids. My almost ten year old daughter (who initially thought this was for the younger children since she’s such an old lady) really enjoyed the “Pretzel Vendor of Paris” song and played that one over and over again. My six year old daughter just loved the whole experience (for her it was an experience!) because it hit all of her pleasure buttons: music, singing and storytelling. Even my three year old son took time off from his job of dismantling my home to sit and listen while the CD was playing. So, the kids give it a definite 5 out of 5 stars.
This is a wonderful addition the family regardless of your educational choices. Hearing and connecting to fine music really is an often neglected activity in today’s hurried world. The stories are narrated in a very funny and entertaining way, but for me it was the music that made it all worthwhile. I love the way that music can change the mood of the story so quickly and expertly. No need for long explanations because you just feel it inside and it resonates with your soul.
Maestro Classics Stories in Music series can be purchased at their website as well as in retail stores. The best deals seem to be on the home website, so I’d recommend going there first. This is a high quality, high class introduction to classical music for the entire family at a very affordable price of $16.98 for single stories and gift sets cost $24.99. They are also adding Spanish language stories to their catalog for all those budding Spanish students and native speakers.
Music IS the universal language and Maestro Classics makes it one that you’ll like to listen to again and again.