Friday, December 18, 2009

Maestro Classics: The Tortoise and the Hare -- A Review

Growing up, I used to get annoyed with my dad who would make us listen to classical music.  I find it ironic that classical music is the norm in my very own household now.  My children have been soothed to sleep with this melodic sound, stayed calm during quiet times under its influence, and now offer insight as to what emotions and feelings the complex composition evokes in them.

Classical music is like a sustaining book.  I imagine that Winnie the Pooh enjoys a good orchestra.

Maestro Classics has managed to equally yoke a sustainable story with sustainable music.  They sent me a Story in Music . . . The Tortoise and The Hare.

Stories in Music™ is "a collection of works for symphony orchestra and narrator designed for children ages 5 and up." Maestro Classics offers 7 classic (or sustainable) stories, one of which is available in Spanish. According to owners Stephen and Bonnie Simon,
Each CD is a combination of music and educational information designed to give the listener ideas on what to listen for and how to listen. It is the "backstage pass" into the minds of the author and composer, the creators of the work.  The included background information helps train the ear to hear the music in a significantly different way when the CD replays the entire story in music for a second time. Following this second performance, the final track is an Accompaniment Only karaoke track, which gives everyone the opportunity to experience the joy of performing - complete with applause.

I'm going to share an example with you that may throw you off guard, but bear with me.  I am not a wine drinker . . . but on a trip to California with my parents when I was still under their tutelage, we toured many wineries.   Though incredibly bored at the time, I now recall the amount of time the winaries spent lecturing their patrons on the fine art of sampling, drinking, and forming an opionion on the quality of wine.

I hope not to offend, but to me, Maestro Classics Stories in Music™ is like non-alcoholic wine to my ears.  The CD provides a rich and poignant classic full-length story, a history of the story that also includes Aesop's version of the The Tortoise and the Hare, a lesson in music, and a chance to sample the full story again but experience it with greater understanding. It is my kind of pairing--quality music with a great story.

Maestro Classics sets out to do three things:
  • expand listening horizons --  by introducing young people to an orchestra's magical sounds and
    awe-inspiring power in order to help them understand that music can be dramatic, can paint pictures, and is often filled with humor.
  • hone listening skills and accumulate musical memories -- The musical discussions will sharpen listening skills of children and adults alike, the discussion of the story will promote conversation about human values, and the musical work will leave each listener whistling a new tune.
  • encourage adults and children to listen to music together -- The very young will listen for the story, the slightly older child will enjoy the music, and the adult will be surprised how much he/she has learned.
I would love to have the complete set of Maestro Classics Stories in Music!  I highly recommend this for your school room, children's quiet times, or car rides.   We did supplement this music lesson with a lapbook from Homeschool Share

You can order one or more of the Maestro Classic titles at their website for $16.98.

To read more reviews regarding Maestro Classic's Stories in Music, 
click on The Old Schoolhouse Homeschool Crew Review badge.

I was delighted to review this product for FREE. I gave you my opinion.  I didn't have to give you a positive review to read, but I did.  So . . . let me know what you think.  I love it when people respond to my reviews.


Michelle said...

I love the lapbook you found for this ~ that was a great idea!!

Maestro Classics said...

Hi Granola Mom!

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