Friday, December 18, 2009

Review: Maestro Classics

The above company has come up with a grand idea of using classical music in the background whilst telling old classical stories that will truly delight your heart and your children’s soul probably.

I received this CD “The Tortoise and the Hare” for being part of the Old Schoolhouse Crew and since listening to it the very first time I have thoroughly enjoyed hearing it a few more times. My favorite part is the song where the Pretzel Vendor, who is selling pretzels to the Americans, at the beginning of the race sings. “I love selling Pretzels on the Champs Elysees.” This made me laugh and giggle and of course start to sin.

Okay let me get serious here. I love to hear music put behind stories and so of course I loved this review. The CD audio is broken up into 7 sections. The first is a telling of the story of “The Tortoise and the Hare.” Secondly the producer of the CD Bonnie Ward Simon begins to talk about the music and the actions that go with each part of the story. The third part is a repeat of the song “I love selling Pretzels on the Champs Elysees.”(my favorite section of course.) The next part is the Conductor and Composer Stephen Simon talking about all the different instruments that were used during the story. These range from French horns, Piccolo, Violins, bassoons, tuba, cellos, trumpets and Timpani drums to a few more like oboes and clarinets.

My knowledge of instruments increased just a little here! I have listened to classical music since 6 years old and had never heard of a Contrabasssoon or Timpani Drum! The Composer highlights parts of the story where the individual instruments are used and then plays a few bars of music with that instrument. There are pictures of the instruments in the booklet accompanying the CD. There is a replay of the story for the child to hear again so they can listen more carefully to the way the music makes the story more interesting. My son listened to this all the way through on a ride in the van one day and he was most absorbed in all of it. That does not happen often! He has not tried performing the “Pretzel” song yet as we have to master the French words used in it still. He will have fun with that one though.

The other stories available from Maestro Classics are:
Peter and the Wolf
The Story of Swan Lake
Juanita the Spanish Lobster
The Sorcerer’s Apprentice
Mike Mulligan and His Steam Shovel
Casey at the Bat

Each set contains a CD, story and activity book, and extra information tracks on the CD. The booklet links the story to the music so not only does the child hear the music but can see music notes in the book and read the words to some of the songs too. They are priced at $16.98 per CD set, or $45 for 3 sets. I know this is pricey but this work is extremely well put together and for those of us who are not musically inclined, sure could put some enthusiasm into your music lessons.
I did like doing this review a lot and will have to try to budget some money for more of these CDs in the next year. Now I will probably go to bed tonight with the “Pretzel” song buzzing in my head and it will make me hungry all night long! The music is catchy, classical and can get your child ‘hooked on classics.’

The company's website is

The link to the Homeschool Crew site for other Crew members opinions is

The above review has been my opinion of a product that I received directly from Maestro Classics as a member of the Old Schoolhouse Crew tea. I have received no compensation for this review.

1 comment:

Maestro Classics said...

Hi Zimbousa,

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