Friday, December 18, 2009

TOS Crew Review -- Maestro Classics

As long as I can remember I have loved classical music. The sound of an orchestra tuning up, the rich french horns, the beat of the timpani, the shrill piccolos, the conductor losing himself in the piece. Between piano lessons and attending concerts, my parents encouraged this interest.

I was quite excited to receive The Tortoise and the Hare from Maestro Classics. This CD, just one of many that they offer, combines music from the London Philharmonic Orchestra and professionally narrated tales in a way that children will enjoy and learn through listening.

Bonnie Ward Simon and Stephen Simon have created these sets to help children learn about instruments, classic tales (including Casey at the Bat, Mike Mulligan and the Steam Shovel, and Swan Lake), and the joy of great orchestral music.

Maestro Classics

Product: The Tortoise and the Hare by Maestro Classics
Details: A CD combining music from the London Philharmonic Orchestra with a re-creation of the classic tale, "The Tortoise and the Hare." The CD repeats the performance twice and includes explanations of the tale and the music, a fun song called "The Pretzel Vendor of Paris," and a music-only version of the Pretzel Vendor song so kids can sing along on their own.
Price: Generally these CDs sell for $16.98 each, but they often have sales, especially when purchasing more than one. At this time they have a deal for 3 CDs for $45.

What we loved . . .

  • Very professional productions. From the music to the narration to the interesting facts shared in the other segments of the CD, this is a high quality production.
  • The CD offers a great introduction to the instruments of the orchestra, awareness of tempo and the feel of various types of music and instruments, and music appreciation.
  • Easy for young ones (preschool) to understand while not sounding too babyish for lower elementary kids to listen along and learn as well.
  • Endearing graphics. The conductor, the animals, and the other images are well done and memorable.
  • Your child will probably get the most out of it by listening through it with you and discussing what is being played and taught throughout the CD, especially the first time.

Things to keep in mind . . .
  • Some kids just don't enjoy classical music, at first, or even for a while. As much as I loved this CD and wanted my kids to feel the same, it didn't keep their attention the way I had hoped. Maybe it was because the story was too familiar, maybe it was the music, I'm not sure, but this unfortunately wasn't something they requested to listen to on their own.
  • The tale itself is 20 minutes which we found a bit long for the preschoolers to sit and really pay attention to. They don't mind having it on in the background while they play.

The Maestro Classic website offers bios on the creators, listening samples, lists of available products, and even a few lesson plan ideas for a couple of their musical stories.

If your child enjoys music and stories, or if you want a simple tool to help introduce them to orchestral music, the Maestro Classics definitely will fill that role.

For more TOS Crew reviews on this product, check out the TOS Crew blog.

Disclaimer: This CD was provided to me free of charge from Maestro Classics as part of my participation in The Old Schoolhouse Homeschool Crew. I received no additional compensation and the opinions expressed here come from my personal experiences and sincere thoughts.

1 comment:

Maestro Classics said...

Hi There!

This is a belated thanks for the wonderful review of our Tortoise and the Hare CD. I just wanted to let you know that since you reviewed our CD we've made a Facebook page so that our fans can participate in monthly giveaways (we have a big one coming up for the full 8 CD set!) and get coupons. We'd love to invite you and your readers to join our page or check out our new free homeschool music curriculum guides and thanks again for the lovely review!

Maestro Classics