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Friday, May 9, 2014

Maestro Classics Schoolhouse Review Crew Review 2014 #hsreviews #hsmommas #homeschoolmusic

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Maestro Classics Review
       I want my children to have a love and appreciation of all music, not just the music they choose to listen to. I want them to know the history of music and where it comes from and why the composer writes the music. Classical music is not something I know a lot about. I did not grow up playing any type of instrument, well unless you count the recorder in 3rd grade music class. I was not one to learn the history of anything when I was in school, I did enough to get by. I have discovered a love of history of everything as a homeschool Mom, as this is one area my boys love to dive into. So I have been really stretching myself this year to think outside the box when it comes to areas of learning that I am not familiar with or comfortable with. Music History and Appreciation is one of those areas. So imagine my delight when I was chosen to review 2 titles from Maestro Classics,  classical music for children through stories. I was sent the CD of The Sorcerer's Apprentice, and My Name is Handel: The Story of Water Music. The CD's come with a 24 page activity booklet and the CD in a beautifully illustrated case. The physical CD is $16.98 with a low shipping cost of just $4.95 per order. You may also choose the Mp3 download with a PDF printable booklet for $9.98. All of the titles' music is performed by the London Philharmonic Orchestra. 
Maestro Classics Review
We will start with the Sorcerer's Apprentice, music by Paul Dukas. geared for children 6 and up, and families, while my boys loved the actual stories they felt the activities were mostly geared for smaller children. I wish I would have had these when they were little, the Kitchen percussion play along would have been fabulous and more productive and educational than my boys just beating my stuff on the floor. We all have to admit while we were not particularly excited about listening to as my kids put it "old people's music", we really did enjoy the beautiful sounds of the instruments and the story was amazing and rich with feeling because of that music. The boys got excited about learning more about the instruments and the composer and the characters, The Sorcerer and the his lazy apprentice Fritz. He was the boys favorite character, and here I thought it would be the Sorcerer. 
The music would start tranquil and build up with percussion. It was amazing to us how much emotion we got from just closing our eyes and listening to the music and the story. I think my new favorite "me" music is classical. Most pieces are very calming and help to relax you. Boy do I need that. 
While the boys loved the story, we have found ourselves listening to the track that just has the instrumental version. We start our mornings off with a different piece of classical music every school day. It is a great way to get us centered and focused. I am truly amazed at how this has opened my boys minds to new genres of music. They loved listening to the track with the Boston Crusaders Drum and Bugle Corps. My oldest son used to play in the school band and he played the drums, particularly the snare drum so he even at 17 enjoyed listening to this story and music as well. I often wish he had stayed with the band he was so good at it, he truly was blessed with a gift from God when it came to the drums. 
The entire CD from start to finish is just over 40 minutes in length, each of the 7 tracks varying in length from the shortest being just over a minute to the longest lasting almost 12 minutes. We listened to the entire disc the first time through and then spent the rest of the week taking section by section and using the activity book to complete some of the things. Like I said I could not convince my boys to do the Kitchen band, but there were some games and I let it be a segway into a research project on the composer, the story or the London Philharmonic Orchestra, the boys got to choose. We also let it be an opening to further exploring our history of music lessons and to broaden our horizons of classical music and other music genres. Our next section will be Big Band Music and then my favorite Disco. Good thing my boys have an open mind, or they may beg me to go back to public school.
Maestro Classics Review
Our other CD we were sent was My Name is Handel: The Story of Water Music. We enjoyed learning of Handel the brilliant German composer who wanted nothing more than to be in the King's good graces. We learned of his brilliant plan of taking music to the water by boats. This CD has 6 tracks and lasts over 48 minutes and is geared for 5 years and up, and families. The boys enjoyed the majestical music, regally fit for a King. It was joyous and uplifting, and truly helped put us in the mood for royalty. One of the activities was a sing a long and that was not happening with my boys at all. Besides the sing a long the boys enjoyed this as much as the Sorcerer's Apprentice, not in the same way though, this was not nearly as dramatic in musical sounds or story. This was just simply beautiful to listen to. 
While we have listened to this one several times, I will be digging it back out next year when we study world history, when we land in Germany. My boys are anxious to get started studying the Royals of other countries, they were originally excited to study England first but now they cannot wait to get to Germany. 
One of the things we have really tried to do this year is let the kids lead our studies with things they are interested in, but also to get them to move out of their comfort zone and explore things a bit. One of those areas is music and especially classical music. What this has taught not only my boys but myself as well is that we may actually truly enjoy something that we had probably not even given another thought to. It is amazing how much I have learned right along with my boys since we began homeschooling almost 5 years ago. Learning can be fun and inspiring it does not have to be boring and just in books. There is learning everywhere, even in music. We cannot wait to explore other classical music, and we will continue to start our day listening to Orchestras and Philharmonics to get us in our zone for relaxed learning. What a wonderful start along with our Bible. Who would have thought. 
There are many other titles to explore from Maestro Classics, please take a look, and visit the crew for all of the reviews to get your spark for learning about classical composers and music. Discover your love of music. Click on the social media links below to learn more about Maestro Classics and also the crew banner below to read the rest of the reviews. If you are looking for me I will be listening to cellos, and violins and percussions and wind instruments relaxing with a book. 
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