Maestro Classics: Classical Music CD's for Children {Review}

By 8:00 PM

Maestro Classics products have been on my ever growing list of companies and curriculum to check out for the past couple of years.  However, they have always managed to get pushed further and further down the list as it was never viewed as a "necessity."  Much of that stems from my lack of studying and appreciating the Fine Arts-- in my own education and sadly, in our homeschool.  

When presented with the opportunity to review two classical music CD's from Maestro Classics I was a bit hesitant, but my son happened to be in the room when I was checking out their website and upon hearing the introduction video he said {quite enthusiastically}, "That is cool!  What is that?!  I want to see!"  His enthusiasm won me over and we have had the opportunity to experience two"Stories in Music" CD's by Maestro ClassicsMike Mulligan and his Steam Shovel, story by Virginia Lee Burton and Casey at the Bat, a poem by Ernest Thayer.

The London Philharmonic Orchestra performs on each Maestro Classics CD.  Mike Mulligan and his Steam Shovel and Casey at the Bat CD's retail for $16.98 each.  The CD's are beautifully packaged with a 24-page activity booklet which contain interesting facts and/or games.   These, along with several other titles are also available in MP3 format.  While Maestro Classics recommends the CD's for ages 4+, they are family friendly and perfect for a vast age range.  My 6, 3, and 1 year old enjoyed the musical experience each in their own way.
Both Maestro Classics CD's run approximately 50 minutes {give or take}.  The CD's begin with a lively narration of the literature with accompanying music from the orchestra.  The following tracks share background information about the music and literature, a second play of the music, and a sing-along/ play-along activity.

Th first couple of times we listened to both CD's, we just let the CD's play while the kids kept busy playing with playdough or some other type of manipulative.  My 6 year old sat diligently and enjoyed listening to all the tracks, however, my 3 and 1 year old moved and wiggled about the room.  They all enjoyed the accompanying orchestra music; the music for Mike Mulligan and his Steam Shovel was accompanied by Irish bagpipes and Casey at the Bat was an upbeat jazzy tune.  We also read a hard-copy of Mike Mulligan and Casey at the Bat, and I must say, after listening to the narration, I did not do the stories justice!  The narration of both stories was amazing and really brought the stories to life by including special effects specific to the story.

My favorite part of our experience with Maestro Classics was using the go-along Curriculum Guides for each CD.   It is so easy for CD's to be listened to once and then put on a shelf to be forgotten.  The curriculum guides allowed us to maximize our enjoyment and learning with each CD.  The guides provided go-along activities for every subject which allows you to turn your classical music experience into a Unit Study.
For Mike Mulligan and his Steam Shovel, we located Ireland and colored an Irish flag for Geography and experimented with sound and vibrations for Science.  
For Casey at the Bat, we explored Geography by mapping all of the baseball teams.

I only wish that the activities included in the 24-page booklet were also available online so that more than one child could do the activities.  While only my  6 year old was able to do the activities this time around, when my 3 and 1 year old are older, they won't have a chance to do the activities.  I would have liked to keep the booklets unmarked-- just a personal preference; they look neater that way.  

Maestro Classics CD's were a great way to incorporate appreciation for music into our homeschool and family!  My son has already asked when we will be getting another CD!  You can be sure that my son enjoyed his classical Stories in Music experience from Maestro Classics.   
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