Have you found some excellent resources to teach classical music to your children, or in your homeschool?
Recently, my family and I received Maestro Classics‘ Peter and the Wolf to review for the Schoolhouse Review Crew. This CD created especially for children is a gentle and lovely introduction to the world of classical music…and much more!
What is Maestro Classics?
Maestro Classics is a company which is devoted to exceptional music education for children; especially classical music. Company creators Stephen and Bonnie Simon, a conductor and a music educator, respectively, noticed a number of years ago that there just wasn’t much on the market for children that presented classical music in a kid-friendly way…while still maintaining the excellence of world-class orchestras.
So, they created Maestro Classics, and since the company’s founding, they’ve produced many different symphonies as well as musical accompaniments to classic children’s literature. The CDs include the symphonies themselves, friendly narrations along with the symphonies’ stories, extra musical performances, and biographies of the composers.
I suspect that you’ve heard of Russian composer Sergei Prokofiev and his famous children’s symphony, Peter and the Wolf. Written in 1936, it is the story of a young boy who wanders outside the garden gate, leaving it open. The family’s duck wanders out, and, despite his grandfather’s admonition to stay at home, Peter heads to the woods. There, he meets a wolf. The story also involves a bird, a cat, some hunters, and a zoo. The symphony tells the story of Peter and what happens to him, and all the other characters!
This CD contains a wonderful musical productions, all centered around Peter and the Wolf. But that’s not all! You’ll also find recordings of:
- A Peter and the Wolf production, accompanied by a narrator who tells what’s happening in the story
- A biography of Sergei Prokofiev
- An instrumental-only production of the symphony, performed by the London Philharmonic Orchestra
- Russian compositions, performed by the Russian Trio Voronezh
- and more!
In addition, there is a beautifully-illustrated 24-pgae booklet which has activities for children, more about Prokofiev, descriptions of Russian traditional musical instruments, and other musical information that’s quite interesting. And, it has absolutely charming art scattered throughout, like the photograph of the folk art creations above!
A special curriculum download PDF is also available. It is a well-crafted unit study that contains lessons on history, science, music, art, and language arts. We especially enjoyed working with the Russian alphabet, reading about Prokofiev’s history and the times he lived in, and the art activities. For anyone who’d like a short unit to go along with this music CD, it’s interesting and well-done.
My son and I both enjoy classical music. He is a piano student, and yet somehow we’d never listened to Peter and the Wolf together! We listened to half of the CD one afternoon, then another afternoon we listened to the entire CD again while we worked on some of the activities in the PDF download. We also read a bit about the life of Prokofiev.
What we thought about Maestro Classics’ Peter and the Wolf
All of the productions on the CD (which also is available in an mp3) are both fun and interesting. The London Philharmonic Orchestra does an incredible job with this symphony. I liked the narration that explained the story of Peter (and the wolf). We also really enjoyed the additional performances by Trio Voronezh.
The PDF curriculum is fantastic. Both homeschooling families, as well as those who don’t homeschool, will find it usable. One of our favorite parts was listening to the music while painting a picture in the style of Kandinsky (one of the recommended activities in the PDF).
I think this production will be enjoyed greatly by all children; and parents will love it too!
You may purchase Peter and the Wolf at Maestro Classics, along with many other wonderful symphonies, made just for children. I recommend these highly for any family who’s looking to add music to their home!
Visit Maestro Classics at their social media sites, for more information!