We recently had the privilege of reviewing two Maestro Classics Classical Music CDs for kids.
Maestro Classics have been around for awhile. As crazy as it may seem, I remember listening to Peter and the Wolf as a child and absolutely loving it! The way the authors were able to tell a story through music captivated me and I still remember it after all these years. I was so excited to be able to share my love of these CDs with my own children!
What are Maestro Classics?
Maestro Classics are musical CDs that revolve around a story. Maestro Classics have won over 45 prestigious awards for their Stories in Music CD series. These CDs really are so much fun! Full of beautiful performances, these CDs will transport your family to another place and time and give your family a memorable listening experience.
Maestro Classics has 3 main goals: “to expand musical horizons, develop listening skills, and encourage parents and children to listen to music together.”
Maestro Classics currently has eleven stories and music CDs in their collection. Besides the titles that we received, the other titles in their collection include Peter and the Wolf, The Story of Swan Lake, The Tortoise and the Hare, Mike Mulligan and His Steam Shovel, Juanita the Spanish Lobster, Carnival of the Animals, Juanita la langosta española, The Sorcerer’s Apprentice, and The Soldier’s Tale.
Each CD brings a well known story to life with music by the London Philharmonic Orchestra. Included with each CD is a 24 page full-color booklet filled with activities, facts, puzzles, and interesting tidbits. These CDs are suitable for children ages 5 to 12.
My Name is Handel
Our favorite CD, out of the two we received, was My Name is Handel.
This particular CD, which runs for about 50 minutes, is geared towards children ages 7 and up. However, I feel that it is appropriate for almost any age. My daughter who is 3 enjoyed listening to the music and the story just as much as the rest of us did.
My Name is Handel tells the story of George Frederic Handel, the brilliant young German composer. It begins in 1706 when Handel travels to Italy to meet great musicians and study music. Yadu, the narrator, creates excitement and interest as he tells the story of Handel. The story of Handel’s life is intertwined with popular music selections from Rinaldo, Messiah, and the famous Water Music.
The CD focuses in on the year 1717, when Handel created his beautiful Water Music for King George I. As a very special musical gift, Handel travels alongside the kings royal barge along with 50 other musicians on the River Thames, performing his Water Music as a special surprise for the king.
Casey at the Bat
The second CD we received was Casey at the Bat. This disc is suitable for children ages 5 and up.
Casey at the Bat is a classic old poem by Ernest Lawrence Thayer. It’s about a great baseball player who was a bit too confident. With two outs, two unlikely teammates on base, and two points behind in the bottom of the 9th, Casey calmly watches as the first two pitches fly straight over the plate. On the third pitch, though, he swung a mighty swing and the game was over…Mighty Casey had struck out!
This tale is intertwined with beautiful music composed and/or arranged by Stephen Simon. My kids really enjoyed this interactive CD! They loved marching to “The Casey March” and playing along with “The Casey Tango”.
How We Used Maestro Classics
We used My Name is Handel as well as Casey at Bat to introduce the subject of music into our homeschool!
We really haven’t studied musical arts in any great depth before so this was a great starting point for us.
We listened to this CD together while doing some quiet hands-on activities, like playing with Play-Doh and Wikki Stix. Because the kids had something to do with their hands while they listened, I felt they could listen to the CD much more intently and better retain what they heard.
My daughter began creating musical instruments with her Wikki Stix and pretended to play them along with the music. My son, while listening, mentioned that he loved this kind of music and wished we could listen to more! He was also so inspired by the music that he asked to start taking piano lessons again. I kid you not! I was so happy!
We all truly loved these CDs. My son has asked me to play these CDs several times, so we have listened to them multiple times already.
When I was studying music in high school I listened to a lot of classical music and I have no idea why I ever stopped. Not only does classical music have a calming effect, orchestra music stimulates the brain by enhancing spatial IQ and increasing both short and long term memory. Win! Win! Win!
The Maestro Classics website contains lots of wonderful resources on their website to accompany any CD, including curriculum guides, sheet music, hands-on projects, lapbooks, and more. Maestro Classics makes it easy to introduce classical music to your kids or homeschool. And you don’t have to be a homeschooler to enjoy these CDs. They’re great for anyone.
I think these CDs are a wonderful way to experience classical music in a fun adventurous way! It’s pure enjoyment!