Friday, 9 May 2014

Maestro Classics {Review}

Over the last few years I have been refining my home education methods.  We are endeavoring to follow a more delight directed approach along a Charlotte Mason philosophy.  Charlotte Mason encouraged classical composer studies and the listening of great compositions. Personally I have a very limited understanding of classical music and would love to introduce more of this genre of music into our home school.  Last month we were given the opportunity by Maestro Classics to review two of their products Mike Mulligan and His Steam Shovel  and My Name is Handel: The Story of Water Music.

I am so pleased to have discovered  Maestro Classics. Their aim is to introduce children to classical music through stories. The music on each CD is played by the London Philharmonic Orchestra.

What we received

How we used it
Mike Mulligan and His Steam Shovel
After downloading the MP3 version in a zipped file I burnt it to CD and printed off the PDF to accompany the story.

We have long been fans of Mike Mulligan and His Steam Shovel Annie. Sir N loves me reading our compendium of books by Virginia Lee Burton.
We grabbed our copy of Mike Mulligan and put the CD on. The CD has seven tracks.
  • The first one was a reading aloud of the book intermingled with beautiful orchestral music.
  • Track two introduced us to the author Virginia Lee Burton. I loved hearing a little more about this interesting lady and how she started writing books for children along with the story behind the story of Mike Mulligan.
  • Track three is the Mike Mulligan Song
  • Track four is about the music the conductor himself (Stephen Simon) explaining why he chose certain instruments and pointing them out in the story
  • Track five some of the music is played again giving us an opportunity to hear the new instruments that we have learned about in the music.
  • Track six and seven is preparation for and a sing along.
I cut and glued the little booklet together. Sir N loved looking through this and trying his hand at the puzzles in them. He is also looking forward to learning to play the short piece of music in the booklet on his recorder.

 My Name is Handel: The Story of Water Music

A few months ago we read about the life of Handle and it was interesting to note when I started the CD that Sir N remembered some of the history of who Handle was. The accent of the story teller made for an interesting CD.

After downloading the MP3 version in a zipped file I burnt it to CD and printed off the PDF to accompany the story. I grabbed the CD and we listened to this one in the car as we had a rather busy day out and about. It was really worth listening to a few times as each time we listened to the CD we learned some thing new or became aware of something in the music we had missed the first few times we listened.

This CD has six tracks.
  • Track one picks up the story of Handles life when he is released by his employer and given a leave of absence for one year to travel to England. It follows his life introducing the children to different aspects of Handle's composing career up until he presents Water Music to the King of England on the river Thames.
  • Track two gives some historical back ground to the music along with some new information.
  • Track three introduces children to a song to help them recognise the music Handle composed.
  • The Maesto gives a lesson about the music in track four explaining concertos, suites, and oratorios.
  • Track five and six is for the children to join in and sing. 
I just discovered that they have an amazing Homeschool Music Curriculum guide covering history, science, geography, language arts, art, music and math available for the following CD's: The Soldier's Take, Casey at the Bat, The Tortoise and the Hare, Mike Mulligan and His Steam Shovel, The Sorcerer's Apprentice,  Peter and the Wolf and My name is Handel.  We will definitely be exploring all the information and links provided here there is a ton of information!

There are also some fun home projects to attempt. I think that Sir N would definitely enjoy trying his hand at a glass Xylophone.

There are also some Montessori inspired music appreciation guides available for four CD's in the Educational Materials area.

Cost of
MP3 Version

CD Version
These are available in iTunes format as well.
Recommended Age Range

  • Mike Mulligan and His Steam Shovel - Ages 4 and older
  • My Name is Handel: The Story of Water Music - Ages 5 and older
Other CD's available 

Connect with Maestro Classics

What we thought
Sir N's thoughts: My favorite part of Handle was when he went up to the king in his boat with his orchestra. The CD was fun to listen to. I enjoyed listening to it very much.
My favourite part on Mike Mulligan is the end when the boy had the idea of turning the steam shovel into a furnace. The music was great and I loved it.

I love the quality of these productions. They are an excellent way to introduce children to classical music. We are looking forward to purchasing more titles from  Maestro Classics and listening to them at home.  A wonderful addition to any classical learning library.


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