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Saturday, December 19, 2009

Maestro Classics Review

You'd think wandering the vendor halls of one of the country's largest homeschool conferences year after year, you'd have encountered almost every homeschooling product out there, but I don't know how I missed this one!

Maestro Classics offers an award winning children's series called Stories in Music performed by the London Philharmonic Orchestra and developed and produced by it's conductor Stephen Simon and his wife Bonnie Ward Simon . Currently seven stories are available: Casey at the Bat, The Story of Swan Lake, Mike Mulligan and His Steam Shovel, Peter and the Wolf, Juanita the Spanish Lobster, The Sorcerer's Apprentice, and The Tortoise and the Hare. Some, like Peter and the Wolf, obviously already have music written to go with them, but in others, Maestro Simon has written works to go along with the story. This was the case in the story we were sent, The Tortoise and the Hare.

The Tortoise and the Hare is an enchanting story, originally written by Aesop, and adapted for this musical version by Bonnie Ward Simon. The story is retold masterfully by Yadu, the narrator (whose voice reminds me very much of another story teller whose CD's we own), and the modern updates will entertain most children, and more than a few adults. In addition to the story, the CD also contains other original tracks such as a song from the story, "Pretzel Vendor of Paris", information about the story by Mrs. Simon, information about the music by Maestro Simon, fun activities for the kids, and a Pretzel Vendor sing-along.

The pros: This is a GREAT, high quality way to expose your children to music and storytelling, and their synergistic relationship. The notes by Maestro Simon are especially helpful (how often do you get the Maestro explaining WHY things sound like they do, or how different instruments are chosen to be featured), and the whole thing is immensely professional, but definitely child appropriate (the Maestro is the father of 6 boys so he has a bit of experience in this area!). And each CD comes with a small book full of activities and educational information too.

The cons: Although they are DEFINITELY worth it, I wish they were a tad cheaper because I'd love to own ALL of them.

The bottom line: My family is fortunate to live near a large city whose symphony conductor also has a heart for children's music appreciation, and every year we drive an hour to go hear them play a special educational concert. My kids LOVE it. And at $5 a ticket it's very affordable. But even that $5 a ticket makes $25 for my family, and these CD's are only $16.98 (or three for $45) PLUS you own them for life so you can relive the experience over and over. And our family is big on listening to stories in the car, so this is a perfect fit for us. I'd highly recommend you check out these CD's. You won't be disappointed.

To order Maestro Classics or learn more about them, go HERE. To read what other members of the TOS Crew had to say, go HERE.

Legal Disclaimer: As a member of the TOS Crew, I received The Tortoise and the Hare CD for FREE so that my family could review it. This CD was the only compensation I received for my review, and my review expresses my honest opinions.

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Anonymous said...

Your blog keeps getting better and better! Your older articles are not as good as newer ones you have a lot more creativity and originality now keep it up!

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